News

New plans for old Bulli brickyards on exhibition

By MICK ROBERTS

DEVELOPERS of the old Bulli Brickworks site say they have been forced by Wollongong City Council to revise their master plan and relocate a playground into an environmentally sensitive area.

After seven years of battling the Village Building Company (VBC) and the sale of part of historic Slacky Flat Park for a residential estate, Bulli residents have slammed the latest proposal for the escarpment foothills site currently on public exhibition.

Creators of the Edgewood Estate at Woonona have been forced by council to reduce the original plan for 550 homes and seven storey buildings on the former brickyards. The VBC has submitted a fresh development application for major earthworks, and site preparation for the Bulli site, with community submissions closing on Friday June 8.

Resident opposing the latest development proposal, Bulli Village Voice (BVV) says the current application involves removal of vegetation, as well as mature healthy native forest from edges of the environmental zone where perimeter roads are proposed, destruction of escarpment creeks and massive earthworks to shape the escarpment hillside for brick and tile mansions. They say it will be a blight on the escarpment.

BVV spokesperson Richard Robinson said the new plans will relocate a playground within the E3 environmental protection zone, in the creek preservation corridor.

“This developer has demonstrated again that its green approach is more to do with the colour of money than providing grass and a playground in a central location in the development,” Mr Robinson said.

“This area should not be cleared, but should be kept as bushland to help protect and stabilise the creek and gully area. Indeed, the developer’s location of a playground in an isolated gully on the southern side of the site will be a vandalism nightmare for the council after it takes ownership of the land under a voluntary planning agreement with the developer.”

Mr Robinson also claims the forest giants on the western side of the site are under significant threat from perimeter roads, drains and massive earthworks, even if council does impose financial guarantees for their protection.

“These large trees are visible from most parts of Bulli. They are a visually attractive backdrop to the heritage listed Bulli hotel and the village itself. We are still concerned at the large number of trees to be chopped down within the E3 zone.”

Village Building Company general manager of planning Hans Sommer said the original master plan lodged with the rezoning application to council was for 450 dwellings and included a central park and the southern park/creek corridor.

Mr Sommer said the total of 2.3ha of open space/creek corridor included a village green, the central park, surrounded by apartments.

“When the council recommended rezoning of the property to the State Government, they rejected our master plan,” he said.

“They reduced the residential area and increased the total open space to 4.6ha. That is, they doubled the open space area for this project.

“We clearly had to design a new master plan and decided that we could utilise the 4.6ha of open space to create an active park area with play equipment and kick about space, which is at the Organs Road end of the site, and therefore the external residents in this location can utilise this space.”

Mr Sommer said a pedestrian and cycleway linkage through the estate and a possible connection to Grevillea Park in the north has also been included.

“The intention is for the council to take over the total 4.6ha of area and therefore make it all publicly available. With the reduction in the dwelling numbers to 200-250 we do not see the need to maintain a central park.”

Mr Sommer said a development control plan has been approved by the Council.

“This establishes all the standards for the design. These standards are similar to Edgewood, our development in Woonona.”

Mr Sommer said the Organs Road “emergency access” will be blocked from use by vehicles and is only used by pedestrians and cyclists.

“We do have a block of land we own that fronts Organs Road and it would not be unreasonable to consider an individual house or small body corporate on this block. This would only generate a marginal increase in traffic for Organs Road.”

Mr Sommer said significant trees in the E3 zone will be protected.

“We have liaised with Council and environmental experts to make sure our design does this so there will not be any threat from the perimeter road, drains and earthworks to the significant trees.”

Public submissions for the redevelopment of the old Bulli Brickworks site  close on June 8 and can be made in writing post or email quoting reference DA-2012/405.

The plans are available on Wollongong City Council’s website.

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limted), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications.

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