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Student housing in Abercrombie Street

DARLINGTON: Residents have expressed their opposition to the proposed University of Sydney student accommodation to be built on Abercrombie Street. The accommodation, part of the University’s Abercrombie Precinct Development, will provide studio apartment rooms for 200 students.

Local residents group RAIDD (Residents Acting in Darlington’s Defence) has multiple concerns including the building’s close proximity to the footpath and the side access paths to the site.

Spokesperson for RAIDD, Mary Ellen McCue, said of the building’s position: “It’s only a minute type of thing in the drawings, which is something you could miss really easily, but when it’s built it’s just straight on the footpath.”

The group is also worried about the effects of the building’s proposed side access paths. “If there were to be paths on either side of it then they would have to be very well lit and it’s a place where students or people could congregate, make noise, make trouble,” Ms McCue said. “If there is a congregation of people and movement up and down those paths, the lighting would affect surrounding people. It would also affect the students in the college itself.”

However, some Darlington locals support the increase in student accommodation in the area.

University of Sydney student and Darlington resident David Fitzgerald says it can be tough for students to find accommodation near the University. “I think it’s a good idea to have more student housing close to the University for those who aren’t from Sydney and need to relocate to attend the Uni, such as myself,” he said. “My friend was in a similar situation and wasn’t able to find anywhere so had to commute from Wollongong for the first semester. The trip takes about two hours each way.”

Yet housemate and fellow student Jeremy Marel says there could be risks with the influx of students. “The concern would be there are a lot of bars nearby and you’re going to have an accumulation of young students wanting to drink. That would potentially create noise and other unruly behavior,” he said.

A spokesperson for the University of Sydney has responded to concerns about increased student numbers in the area. “The area is already heavily populated by students, with more than 8,000 living within three kilometres of the University. This facility has been designed to meet the architectural amenity of the street and to acknowledge the rhythm and character of the existing Darlington terrace houses.”

An amended application for the development has been submitted and is currently being assessed by the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure.

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