Significance of precinct announcement
REDFERN: On September 9 the NSW Department of Planning and Environment declared 600-660 Elizabeth Street, Redfern a potential State Significant Precinct (SSP), in order to set new planning controls.
The 1.1-hectare Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) site is bounded by Elizabeth, Phillip, Walker and Kettle streets, opposite Redfern Oval, and includes the Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) building and a large area of open space where public housing once stood. The government proposes the creation of a mixed social and private development on the site under the Communities Plus program, similar to the redevelopment of the Waterloo Estate.
Unlike the original announcement of the Waterloo redevelopment, study requirements have not yet been set for the site. The Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) will engage with state agencies and the City of Sydney to prepare a list of requirements for community, technical, economic and environmental studies of the site.
The site is waterlogged, which led to the removal of the earlier housing and major problems at the PCYC. Hydraulic studies will be important in determining what can happen on this site.
The announcement states that the redevelopment can be staged, so the PCYC can continue its operations on the site in its leased premises. LAHC has been in discussions with PCYC over the last 18 months.
As the bulk of the land is vacant, LAHC hopes it can fast-track the development, and the announcement states that the “redevelopment also has the potential to support the revitalisation of the Waterloo social housing estate”, presumably as an option nearby for relocations of residents.
The team managing the Waterloo redevelopment will also look after this site. LAHC will advise the community of the study requirements and process for community engagement in preparing a proposal, once these have been determined.
This redevelopment not only provides new social housing but also opens up the possibility of a community centre being established on the northern end of the site for the Redfern public housing estate. The lack of a centre was highlighted when the Anglican Church withdrew the use of the “Redfern Centre”, which was a base for local NGOs and a community meeting place.