The Association has been contacted by a representative of the Church of Scientology (see below). We plan to arrange a meeting to hear about what is proposed. Watch this space for deatils.
As you may be aware, the former Acoustics Laboratory building at 126 Greville Street, Chatswood West, was previously used as a commercial office premises associated with the National Acoustic Laboratory. It is our understanding that although there have been several proposals put forward to Council regarding the site’s future use, it continues to remain vacant.
The Church of Scientology Australia (CSA) is now proposing to reactive the site and reuse the vacant building for its regional headquarters, which would include administrative, educational, and related Church activities. The CSA has prepared an initial design concept to adaptively reuse the building so as CSA can establish a suitable education and training facility.
CSA states that it is strongly committed to achieving a sustainable development outcome by:
Utilising the existing building structure
- Using materials associated with the existing building
- Maintaining the existing landscape
- Protecting the surrounding environment
- Promoting public transport access to the site
- Continuing local resident access to the site’s grounds and the surrounding Bushland Reserve.
As the planning concept and design evolves in the coming weeks, CSA have asked Urbis to independently invite feedback from the surrounding community and interested stakeholders to inform Development Application (DA) plans.
As part of this consultation process, CSA have asked us to offer your group a briefing on the proposed development concept and consultation process and to receive initial feedback.
Please do not hesitate to contact me on 8233 9968 or via return email to discuss the proposal and to organise a possible briefing time and date.
Michael Grosvenor, Urbis Consultation Team
I would be very interested in attending the briefing if possible. We are at 16 millwood ave Chatswood and look down across millwood onto the site.
I have seen first hand seen the impact the CSA Waterloo church had on that neighborhood and would be concerned regarding the high number of visitors it generates on weekends if they were planing similar activities.
im extremely concerned that an organisation as misguided and damaging as Church of Scientology would want to establish a regional base in such a lovely neighbourhood.
I really fear for my childrens exposure to this clandestine and diacredited group, and hope that the area reverts to natural bushland as it once was.
Will the group target individuals who speak up against the planned development? What safe guards will council put in place to ensure that this does not happen?
I imagine a drop in property values from having such an organisation nearby
Isn’t life interesting!!
Look forward to hearing more.
Thanks for keeping us informed. Do you know if the Church of Scientology has purchased the Acoustics Laboratory or will they be leasing it?
Does that mean the group who we’re going to originally develop it will rent it to CSA? Or are they/have they sold it to them?
a great outcome after lots of hard work by West Ward – a huge effort, people power really does matter.
Initially thoughts are it seems a very reasonable use of the site, understanding more about their projected traffic flow will be worthwhile – I’ll stay tuned
That’s a hell of a site!
As to green:
· Utilising the existing building structure
· Using materials associated with the existing building
· Maintaining the existing landscape
· Protecting the surrounding environment
· Promoting public transport access to the site
All good words, blar, blar, blar
I think being green is all a wash. If you are serious about being green, then any works should be at least carbon neutral. This means you add up the CO2 value of any work, then plant trees to that equivalent or by use of alternative fuels (liquid bio fuel), pay back the CO2 (by not using elec or gas i.e. it’s a virtually zero CO2 fuel).
You should also consider adding a social impact study to any review. This is where you cost in dollar terms the impact of the development cars, noise etc and compare it to the benefit in dollar term to the Willoughby community. As an example if they included a public free gym in the development this would be an instant say $300 scoop per person + calculable health benefits (health prevention).
In summary any commercial development should be carbon neutral (forget the wash about other green initiatives) and say have a minimum $5M (You could water down by saying over 5 years) positive social impact to Willoughby residents.
Apparently, CSA has a deep pocket
even to this day.
From your note, are we to understand that it is now going to be used by the Church of Scientology? What has happened to the enormous development, opposed by the local residents, that was due to be built there and for which a dollar was paid for the land (never understood that!!)?
In the past couple of weeks, surveyors have been in Range Street, sizing up on the Millwood side of our street. When asked what they are doing, they say they are surveying for the owners. I said that the building works has nothing to do with our street, but they just shrug and say they are doing what they have been asked. We were told, when the residents meeting was held, that Range St. was not going to be used as there is no room for any traffic in Range St., so why are they surveying Range St.? The gate to Range St. from the property, which is meant to be locked from 4.30 pm till 9.30 am (approx.), has been open all the time for a number of weeks now.
Who is in charge, who is making the decisions, where is the information from Willoughby Council to the residents??
Who has agreed for the building to be used by a Church group? Is it being used as a Church (traffic?) or only for administrative purposes? Is only the building, which is standing now, the only building that is going to be on the property and are the car park and parkland area remaining the same?
Have we missed hearing about this or have we missed attending a meeting of the local residents about these changes? To whom do these Consultants report (Council, Church of Scientology, ?) and why would they be writing to the residents instead of our hearing from Willoughby Council?
I don’t know if you are able to answer the above. We look forward to hearing from you.
I will try to answer your points where I can:
The BIG development proposed by Toga was refused by Council and the State Government. The land was rezoned to allow for around 60 standard house or for houses and units if the main building was used. This was generally accepted by neighbours as a reasonable outcome.
Regarding Range St, I think that was to be available for emergency pedestrian egress – certainly no traffic.
From what I deduce from the information provided by the consultant, they probably have approached Council who would have told them to consult with neighbours. Do it seems this is the start of that process.
There is no approval for the site to be used other than for residential as outlined above.However, if my memory serves me correct a religious institution is a permissible used in a residential area BUT they still require Council approval.
Hopefully, we will be given more specific details of what is proposed shortly by the consultants/church.
No,you haven’t missed anything. The consultants sent me the information I sent on. I have asked them to clarify many of the issues you have raised. There repsonse was they are still working on the details but will providing more deatil as soon as they can. Apart from consultation, their next step would be to submit an application to Council. When that occurs, Council will informs local residents.
Hope this goes some way in answering your queries.
Thank you for forwarding the information about a new proposal for Greville St. While I am not sure about CSA, the proposal as outlined for adaptive reuse of the site, reuse of materials, access to the site for the public, encouragement of public transport sounds very positive. I also support continuation of a non-residential use of the site so look forward to further details in particular the planned scale of the development and how traffic issues are to be resolved.
I am not currently living in Chatswood, but still own the property and may move back in the future. Please continue to keep me informed and on the email contact list (ps could you please use bcc to keep email addresses more secure – thanks).
Thankyou for your great inspiring work for our Chatswood Community.
Scientology … I’m not really familiar with this religion apart from all the HooHaa that’s coming from Tom Cruize, Nicole Kidman, Katie Holmes, and some Hollywood families in the news.
I’m a little bit unsure the nature … my impression is it’s a cult of something? Like they interfere with all domestic matters + even financial issues in their fan club’s families?
I’ll continue to learn more from your news release so that I’m not getting just one sided news from the Hollywood magazines.
It can be quite difficult to fully understand many forms of belief. If you check the Internet, different countries treat CS in different ways. In Australia they are recognised as a Religion and a Charity.
From a town planning perspective, I would imagine they will be assessed as providing church services, schooling and training.
Yes I am sure over time we will learn and understand a lot more.
We have received the Flyer you mentioned.
If I understand it correctly, the Church of Scientology is moving into the existing building and residents will still be able to use the surrounding area.
What I don’t understand is what happened regarding the development, which you mentioned below, about building 60 standard houses or building houses and units.
Is this going ahead and, if so, how does this fit in with the Church of Scientology? If it is not going ahead, how and through whom did the Church of Scientology manage to obtain use of this building?
Who owns the land?
Just wondering if you know the answers.
I will try and answer your questions as best I can but you should put them to the Church at any meeting.
I have been advised that the Church has purchased the land.
With regards to the approval for low rise residential, that approval is still valid for around 5 years. So the Church could progress that way if they wanted to, but they have not indicated that as an option.
They have advised what they propose to do on the land – Church associated activities including education (school?) and training.
However, one thing that might ring some alarm bells is that propose busing people from some form of residential facility (in Dundas?) to the site. It could be that they might want some residential on the site at some stage.
I live in the Greville St just next door of the 126, my family took the fryer and I was just recently aware this proposal, I am extremely concerned now, the building has up to 400 staffs in the site during weekday till 9pm. Even though has transport provide staff, it will still pack up the street. Why can’t just leave it as the relaxing park area for the communities. Our deck is completely exposure to the 126 pathway, the staffs and parishioners walk pass and will see our deck and our kids play in the deck, I hope that can be resolved.
400 staffs in the site that is way too much for a beautiful street, it will be way too crowed..