Neighbourhood shops?

shoptophousingThe West Ward Councillors recently nominated the Fullers Road/Greville Street area and the Mowbray Road/Hinkler Crescent area for potential shopping centres. However, this might mean surrounding high rise residential development to support the centres.

On the Have Your Say Willoughby site Council invites you to attend the combined West Chatswood possible new centres Design Roundtable. When: Wednesday 10 April 6.30-8.00pm. Where: Willoughby Council Chambers, Level 6, 31 Victor St, Chatswood

Or CALL INTO A DROP-IN SESSION focusing on the Penshurst St/ Willoughby Sth Local Centre. When: Saturday 6 April, 10.00am -12.00noon. Where: West Chatswood Library 565 Mowbray Rd W, Lane Cove North


6 thoughts on “Neighbourhood shops?

  1. Thnx for your letter box drop re the possible Greville St redevelopment. I’m a Davies St resident and I’ve tried to register for the 10/4 round table but it’s full. I’ve registered with the council in case they schedule another. For what it’s worth, I have no probs with redeveloping the current site but the possibility of high-rise development to support the businesses does cause me concerns. But why do it anyway? With the CBD so close, I just don’t see the need to add greatly to our already-abundant shopping options.
    Would appreciate it if you could keep me informed.
    Ian McD

  2. Clr. Campbell pined: I also oppose this (over development Ed.).

    It (the original idea) seems to have morphed from an idea to have a couple of properties repurposed as small retail like a bottle shop or greengrocer to a massive Lane Cove style unit complex. Definitely not what I was expecting or hoping for.

    I appreciate that the officers have put some hard work into developing options for this, but I think it’s far beyond the scale originally envisioned when we asked them to consider options for the 20 year horizon.

    Anyway, the FYI is to let you know that I don’t support something on this scale, and I think the best thing for concerned residents is to register opposition on the Have Your Say website before it closes on the 30th. I’m also happy to present a petition if there is appetite for one amongst the residents.

  3. From another local resident:

    I fully support more shops in the local area. And indeed higher density housing in the area such as semis and town houses.

    I frankly cannot understand why the alternatives seem to be low density such as present or high rise. Why can’t Council look at something in between?

  4. From a resident in the Mowbray area:

    I would like to lodge my objection to the proposed rezoning of the Felton Avenue to Mooney St area of Lane Cove North and to raise concerns around the lack of communication / transparency available to the local community in respect of these plans.

    Work commissioned by Council from SGS Economics highlights certain areas of Willoughby that had potential for the provision of new employment floor space and addition retail offerings. Lane Cove North was not identified as one of these areas – which is not surprising because Council’s own research has concluded that there is insufficient demand in the current area for local shops, and instead the proposal now seems to use a new shopping development as an excuse to introduce new high density living in the Lane Cove North area of Willoughby – an area that is already lacking when it comes to in transport, roads and greenspaces. I do not think that there is further need for retail offerings in this area in the first place, but it should certainly not be used to justify additional development of apartments – it is disappointing to see Willoughby Council follow Lane Cove Council towards badly planned high density living.

    The Lane Cove North Area is already supported by 4 cafes, 2 pizza shops, a general store/butcher, a service station, a bottle shop and a thai takeaway. Developing a new local neighbourhood will just put these shops which have been long time members of the community out of business.

    In Council’s position statement focusing on the future housing needs of Willoughby City residents over the next 20 years, the council outlined a number of principles including that new housing growth should be focused in larger centres and areas of medium and high density with access to public transport to protect lower density neighbourhoods. The position statement concluded that development should result in the majority of new housing being within 400m of a centre that was already zoned for higher density living. It seems entirely inconsistent with this principle that the council is even considering a proposal to introduce high density housing to an area of Willoughby that is currently made up of low density single and double storey homes which is also a significant distance from the current and newly proposed trainlines to the City and which is serviced by bus services that are already stretched to their limits.

    The Lane Cove North area of Willoughby is already significantly lacking in infrastructure:

    Local streets are congested with cars already parked on both sides of Mowbray Road, Farran Street (particularly between Felton Avenue and Mooney Street) and Hart Street and in all available spaces in Felton Avenue. This seems to be the case regardless of the day of the week or the time of day.
    Parked cars on both sides of Coolaroo road have also increased since the traffic calming measures were introduced.
    Mowbray Road West is a constant stream of vehicles at peak time, which is frequently stationary – particularly when a bus is travelling along the road and stopping. The proposed additional central refuges will increase the volume and time that vehicles are stationary in peak times.
    Exiting Felton Avenue into Mowbray Road by car is already difficult and dangerous with very little line of sight to the west due to parked cars on Mowbray Road. Additional pedestrian crossings will only increase the difficulty of this intersection and increase the level of traffic congestion in the area.
    There is very little open space available to residents. This is evidenced by the fact that Council’s own research refers to a small patch of grass outside the West Chatswood Library as open space. This is not a safe place for children to play given it is unfenced and right next to a very busy road. The only other available space within the local area is a small park on Ulm street. The lack of outdoor space is highlighted by extensive use of the sports field at Mowbray Public School as an off lead dog park by local residents. This presents serious safety issues to school children given the quantity of dog faeces left on the oval which is then used by children during recess and lunch times and after school. Further development of apartments in the area will only exacerbate this problem.
    The only high density development within the Lane Cove North area of Willoughby that is the focus of the most recent proposal is aged care and retirement living and one development of medium density townhouses on Mowbray Rd. Increase in density and traffic around these areas will reduce the safety of our elderly residents (we are home to an aged care facility and two seniors living developments). Roads are already difficult to cross given the volume of traffic that uses Farran St / Felton Avenue and Coolaroo Rd as a “rat run” to Chatswood.
    Introduction of traffic restrictions on Felton Avenue will push “rat run” and local traffic onto Hatfield Rd, Mooney St, Hart St and Farran St. These roads are already congested with school traffic and parked cars and lacking in pedestrian infrastructure including footpaths and crossings. An increase in traffic in this area will make it even more unsafe for local children walking to Mowbray Public School – encouraging more parents to drive, putting more traffic on the roads and continuing a worsening cycle.
    Buses in the area are already at capacity. Additional bus routes were recently added, providing a bus to the city every 5 minutes during peak times. These buses are already full by the time they reach the Mowbray Road West / Centennial Avenue intersection. Additional apartments are already being built on the southern side of Mowbray Road and when these apartments are occupied it is difficult to see how the bus services will be able to respond. The density of population attempting to leave the Lane Cove North area between 8 – 8.30am on a weekday already exceeds the maximum capacity of the local road and bus network.
    The State government is currently spending $bns developing a new rail network that will connect Willoughby to the City, putting Willoughby in the unrivalled position of having 2 separate rail services linking it to the City. It seems inconsistent with this development to create a new population centre in the council area that is not able to use new train services. While the theory of Lane Cove North residents travelling to Chatswood by bus to catch a train might look good on paper, it just will not happen in practice and the road network could not support it even if they wanted to. Traffic is already frequently queuing back to Centennial Avenue from the lights at the Mowbray Road / Pacific Highway intersection.
    It is questionable whether any increased population would actually support retail development in the area, particularly as it is already well serviced with 4 cafes within walking distance together with a local bottle shop, 2 pizza shops, a butcher/general store, a Thai takeaway and a service station. Creation of new shops is only likely to detract from the services already available without the need for redevelopment.
    There is no guarantee that local residents will agree to sell their current properties even if they are rezoned which presents that danger that Mowbray Rd gets even more badly planned high density living without even achieving the result of a new local centre. How will council ensure that a new community centre is actually developed and filled before the developers swoop in and build the more profitable surrounding apartments?

    The communication of Council’s plans in this area has been really disappointed. Local residents received a letter proposing the option of developing some local shops in the area which, on its face, sounds inoffensive. I personally am ambivalent to the introduction of local shops in the Felton Avenue area and as a result did not seek further information on Council’s plans, particularly as the 2 planning meetings happened to coincide with an intensively busy period at work. It is only by chance that I became aware that what was described as the introduction of a new “local centre” is actually a back door attempt to rezone a whole block for high density residential living. A proposal that was heavily proposed by the local community when it was last raised less than 2 years ago. I would urge Council to ensure that they consider both Willoughby’s larger master plan for high density centres and the existing lack of appropriate infrastructure in the Lane Cove North area and reject any proposal to allow high density residential development in the Lane Cove North area.

    Kind regards

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