Item 10.1 - Attachment 5

Public Forum Address & Reply 28 July 2008



Attachment 5 - Public forum item from Council meeting on 28 July 2008-11-04


Statement on behalf of the residents of Smythe Street, Merrylands prepared by Mr Frank Skiller:-


This evening I and my fellow petitioners from Smythe Street Merrylands in the Woodville Ward would like to comment on the proposed Local Environment Plan changes to increase the urban density in our street.


Firstly, we would like to thank Councillor Garrard for alerting us to these proposed changes. Without his intervention, we would not have been aware of these matters.

This is in comparison to the Council’s excellent job in communicating the proposed changes in the previous LEP, which we felt had provided for much more community consultation.


Our main concerns in brief are:


1.   Parking congestion already exists in our street as a flow-on effect after changes to the adjoining Railway Terrace.

2.   The narrow width of the street makes if difficult for cars to pass and damage to property and vehicles has already occurred.

3.   Several residents have recently renovated their properties after being advised in the previous LEP that the street would not be zoned for unit developments.



At the last general meeting on the 14th July, the petitioner in Railway Terrace mentioned the difficulties experienced from changes to parking availability and traffic flow due to the RTA redevelopment. This included the removal of parking from the eastern side of the street and no provision for drivers to drop off passengers for the railway station.


These issues have had a flow on effect into Smythe Street resulting in weekday parking congestion where three-quarters of the street is parked out from anywhere between 7:30am and 7:30pm, making entry and exit to one’s property difficult, with cars obscuring vision and sometimes parking over driveways. Recently we had a development of 4 townhouses in the street which has already increased vehicle density, and we are concerned about the multiple impact on street parking, 7 days a week, if the council approves up to 6 storey unit blocks.


Street width

Minutes of a previous Council meeting state the road pavement width of Smythe street to be 9.65 metres, however, this is incorrect and actually 8.73 m and even narrower still at the Loftus Street end. This is below RTA standards. This reduced width already makes passing traffic hazardous; road signs are frequently damaged as motorists try to manoeuvre the parked and passing cars, especially those close to Railway Terrace and also the traffic islands. There have also been reports of damage to parked vehicles, mine being one of them.


We have been told that Council would then consider either making the street open to one-way traffic flow only or making the road wider by removing trees and realigning the kerb and guttering. For the first proposal we would ask, “Where then would the current residents and commuters park?” and also “ What would be the implications for traffic flow and access?” And as for the widening of the road, “How will our streetscape look if the trees are removed?”


The question of access and traffic flow have been on the Council agenda previously where the right turn from Loftus street was terminated due to the hazard of collision and also to reduce the quantity of traffic flowing westerly down Smythe street to the Railway station. A roundabout was placed on Merrylands road to steer the majority of the traffic down Merrylands road, which is a much wider street.


Recent property developments

We acknowledge that there is a percentage of housing stock in Smythe Street well past its prime and needing replacement to better utilise the land. We also note that several residents acted on developing their properties after the last LEP, where the Council regulated to keep neighbours privacy and other qualities of life intact, trusting that the Council would adhere to its decisions. But now, we have the prospect of being adversely affected by changes in the LEP without respectful consultation with the community. If high-density dwellings were constructed even on the southern side only, what would be the impact of shading on the dwellings on the opposite side?


The residents ask, “What percentage of land changed to heavier density in the previous LEP has been utilised in the new zoning for high density dwellings?” We ask you to consider the current impact of density and traffic changes affecting the residents and how this impact would be multiplied if higher density dwellings were constructed in our street. We ask you to consider the impact of offending residents and commuters at the cost of appeasing developers.


We ask you to stop and assess the impact from the grass roots level, before creating multiple dwellings leaving little or no open space for inhabitants, no space for children to play, increasing noise pollution and where quality of life is greatly reduced. What statement are you sending your voters – will Parramatta still be a great place to live?


We, the residents of Smythe Street, support option 2 to have the area remain at its current densities and seek support from all Councillors to adhere to the wishes of the residents as per the petition presented to Council on July 14, 2008. We would also like to thank the Councillors who have supported our position as option 2.


Response by Acting Manager, Land Use & Transport Planning – Sue Stewart:-


Tonight, Council will be considering two options for proposed changes to the planning controls in Smythe Street, Merrylands. Option 1 proposes to allow increased residential density in the form of 3 to 4 storey residential flat buildings. Option 2 proposes to allow lower residential density such as single dwelling houses. Currently the zoning of Smythe Street allows for medium density housing such as town houses.  


1. Option 2 – Draft Planning Controls for Merrylands

It should be noted that under Option 2, land in Smythe Street is proposed to be zoned for a lower density residential (single dwelling houses) than the current zoning. There appears to be a misunderstanding that this option retains the density identified in the current LEP.


2. Public Consultation

Tonight Council is considering which draft zoning option it wishes to be included in the draft Local Environmental Plan when it goes on public exhibition. Residents will have the opportunity to provide comments to Council during the exhibition. This exhibition is likely to be conducted over a 2 month period to enable all stakeholders opportunities for comment.  Council will consider all submissions before any final decision is made.


3. Smythe Street

Properties in Smythe Street are currently zoned to allow medium density residential development such as townhouses. Whilst the width of Smythe Street is not ideal for increased residential traffic, it is a reasonably short local road that does not cater for through traffic. Its width serves to slow traffic speed. There are various options available to improve vehicle circulation should this be necessary. Providing higher density residential development close to public transport provides opportunities for reduced car movements in the longer term. It is not unusual in Sydney to find narrow streets in areas of high residential density.


4. Amenity Impacts of Higher Density Development

Development applications for residential flat buildings are examined by Council’s Design Review Panel to ensure that design quality and residential amenity are satisfied.  This is over and above the normal assessment process.  Neighbouring residents also have the opportunity to comment on such development applications and can raise any concerns about amenity or other impacts before the application is determined by Council.