Item 11.3 - Attachment 1

Detailed Assessment Report


Attachment 1 – Planning Assessment Report for the Planning Proposal on land at 57, 63 & 83 Church Street and 44 Early Street Parramatta


1.         THE SITE


The land the subject of the planning proposal is 57, 63 & 83 Church Street and 44 Early Street Parramatta (referred to as ‘the subject land’) and totals 14,287m2.The sites are identified below.


The subject land is located in the northern portion of the Auto Alley precinct south of the Parramatta City Centre at the junction of Church Street and the Great Western Highway. The subject land currently contains (from north to south) the following;


-     Site 1 - (No 83 Church Street & 44 Early Street)- largely vacant land with some residual shade structures from a previous use as a car yard  – 7592m2

-     Site 2 - (No 63 Church Street)-  car sales yard and servicing facility - 4742m2

-     Site 3 - (57 Church Street)- car sales and display facility – 1953m2


Figure 1 - Location Plan


The subject land has frontage to Church Street and is separated (east-west) by Early and Lansdowne Street.     

The surrounding land to the west of the site generally comprises residential flat buildings and detached dwelling houses further to the south and west.

Areas of the subject land is affected by the 1 in 100 year flood level as well as having   some medium/high hydraulic hazard.


2.1       Land Zoning

The land is currently zoned B5 (Business Development) under the provisions of Parramatta City Centre LEP 2007. This zoning allows for a variety of commercial and retail land uses including bulky goods premises and vehicle showrooms. The current zoning does not permit residential development. The uncoloured land located to the west of the site falls within Parramatta LEP 2011 under which the sites are zoned R4 (High Density) Residential and R3 (Medium Density) Residential. The existing zoning of the site is identified below in Figure 2.


Figure 2 – Extract from City Centre LEP 2007 – Existing zoning

2.2       Height of Buildings

Pursuant to Clause 21 of the City Centre LEP 2007, the site has an identified maximum height limit of 12m. The existing height limits for the site and surrounding area are indicated below in Figure 3. The uncoloured land located to the west of the site falls within Parramatta LEP 2011 under which a maximum height limit of 11m applies.

           Figure 3 – Extract from City Centre LEP 2007 – Maximum building height

2.3       Floor Space Ratio

Pursuant to Clause 22 of the City Centre LEP the site has an identified maximum floor space ratio of 2:1. The existing floor space ratios for the site and surrounding area are identified in Figure 4 below. The uncoloured land located to the west of the site falls within Parramatta LEP 2011 under which a maximum floor space ratio of 0.8:1 applies.


            Figure 4 – Extract from City Centre LEP 2007 – Maximum floor space ratio

2.4       Heritage

Figure 5 below identifies sites containing items of heritage significance. The subject site does not contain an item of heritage significance nor is it within a heritage conservation area. The uncoloured land to the west of the site falls within Parramatta LEP 2011 under which a number of sites within Lansdowne Road are identified as being of local heritage significance. An area further to the west and south of the precinct is identified as the South Parramatta Conservation Area.


Figure 5 – Extract from Parramatta City Centre LEP 2007 – Heritage

2.5     Flooding

Pursuant to Clause 33A of the Parramatta City Centre LEP 2007 areas of the site are identified as being flood prone. Figure 6 below identifies the extent of the 1 in 100 year flood level.

    Figure 6 – Extract from Parramatta City Centre LEP 2007 – Flood Prone Land


The planning proposal seeks to amend the zoning, height and floor space ratio currently applicable to the site as follows;

Site 1 - (83 Church & 44 Early Street) to part B4 (Mixed Use) and part B5 (Business Development) with a maximum FSR of 7.2:1 and maximum building height of 36m (8-9 storeys) for the portion of the site zoned B5 fronting Church Street and 118m (34-36 storeys) for the remainder of the site zoned B4.

Site 2 - (63 Church Street) to part B4 (Mixed Use) and part B5 (Business Development) with a maximum FSR of 6.4:1 and a maximum building height of 36m (8-9 storeys) for the portion of the site zoned B5 fronting Church Street and 90m (26-27 storeys) for the remainder of the site zoned B4.

Site 3 – 57 Church Street to RE1 (Public Recreation) and to be provided as a public park. 


Figure 7 - Proposed zoning, height & FSR.     Fig 8- Indicative building envelopes, heights & setbacks

In response to a number of concerns originally raised by Council officers, the proponent has included an urban design analysis including indicative building footprints, land uses, building heights and setbacks. These are indicated above (right). Note the discrepancy in height between the two diagrams is due to the potential 10% bonus provisions available within the City Centre LEP where design excellence is demonstrated.

Based on the indicative building envelopes diagram (Figure 8) an FSR calculations table was provided to assist in indicating the potential distribution of future floor space over the sites as well as to better inform the potential mix of land uses in floor space terms. Some of the more pertinent figures extracted from these analysis are provided below. NB – The figures below are indicative only and also include a further potential 10% bonus being achieved for design excellence;

Table 1 – Indicative floor space distribution of planning proposal (see fig 7 & 8)

Site & Area


GFA (incl 10% bonus)



Dedication Total

1 – 7592 m2


59,976 m2

23,116m2 or 38%

36,860m2 or 62%


2 – 4752 m2


33,194 m2

11,648m2 or 35%

21,546m2 or 65%


3  - 1953 m2








93,364 m2

34,764m2 or 37%

58,406 or 63%


Table 2 – Comparison of the planning proposal against indicative development possible under Auto Alley - Option 2B


Planning Proposal (PP)

Option 2B – Auto Alley 4:1 all sites (indicative)


PP / 2B

Site 1


-  Church St

- Rear portion

Floor space

- Commercial

- Residential


B5  - 36m (8st)

B4 – 118m (35st)


23,116m2 or 38%

36,860m2 or 62%


‘commercial’ – 34m (8st)

‘mixed use’ – 100m (30st)


34% over all sites

66% over all sites







Site 2


- Church St

- Rear portion

Floor space

- Commercial

-     -  Residential


 B5 – 36m (8st)

 B4 – 90m (27st)


11,648m2 or 35%

21,546m2 or 65%


N/A – park

‘mixed use’ – 100m (30 st)


10% - within this site

90% - within this site







Site 3

-  Church Street

N/A - New park 0:1

Commercial – 34m (8st) – 4:1

-34m & -4:1

Total   - commercial

           - residential

34,764m2* or 37%

58,406m2* or 63%



+ 15,552m2*

+ 20,486m2*

* Floor space figures above include a 10% bonus being achieved through design excellence provisions.

The above tables are indicative only as more detailed planning controls have not yet been prepared for the Auto Alley precinct. These tables however allow a reasonable comparison between the land the subject of the planning proposal and these sites within the option (2B) recently endorsed by Council.

From the above, it can be observed that the split between commercial/retail uses and residential is almost identical (in percentage terms). The height, which is discussed in more detail in this report, is also comparable. The primary difference is observed is that of the total quantum of floor space. Of particular note is that approximately 15,500m2 more commercial floor space would result under this planning proposal than Auto Alley option 2B. Accompanying this however comes an additional 20,500m2 of residential floor space.

Also of importance is that the planning proposal may also result in the provision of approximately 5800m2 of land being made available for the purposes of public open space, through site links/plazas and road widening. A diagram indicating the potential location of these spaces is included in this report in Section 4 under heading Voluntary Planning Agreements.

In accordance with Section 55 of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 and the guidelines published by the Department of Planning & Infrastructure the proponent has provided written justification and issue specific studies and analysis in support of the proposal.


Land Use Planning & Urban Design

One of the key issues identified in consideration of this planning proposal is the future land use and character of the site and any impact on the role of Parramatta as a jobs centre. The revised planning proposal, as outlined above provides for a mix of land uses including portions of the site which would be zoned exclusively for non-residential purposes. The site involves a significant increase in density (in floor space terms) that available currently and that envisaged under the recently endorsed option 2B for the broader Auto Alley precinct.

Council’s Urban Design Unit has completed a detailed Auto Alley Urban Design precinct study. This was reported for Council’s consideration on 27 February. This report presented a number of ‘options’ for consideration as well as an overall vision for the precinct.

The recommended Vision resulting from this study is;

The vision for Auto Alley is to be a distinctive southern gateway for the Parramatta CBD. It will become a major employment area with improved transport connections and a high quality public domain including a linked network of new public spaces that will mitigate potential flooding and revitalise the area.

Following public exhibition, the Council endorsed option (2B) on 23 July 2012 which  involves a change in zoning for the precinct to primarily B5 (Business Development) and the creation of a revised street layout running parallel to Church Street whereby commercial buildings were concentrated along the Church Street corridor and a Mixed Use zoning to the west of the new street parallel to Church Street. The endorsed option is contained overleaf.

Within this precinct study the proposal is to increase the FSR from 2:1 to 4:1 with height limits varying from 34 to 40m (8-10 storeys) with a 100m (30 storey) maximum tower height being identified in some areas of the precinct. The planning proposal seeks a similar distribution of height to that identified within the precinct study as well as an increased level of employment generating floor space to that identified for the subject land.

The proponent has responded to the Council’s preferred urban design structure plan by the provision of pedestrian through site links and plazas as well as the provision of the new park further to the south in order to respond to identified flooding constraints. Council’s Urban Design team have expressed some concern over the proposed intensity of development, particularly in floor space terms and the potential bulk and scale that may result.

A shadow analysis has also been undertaken as well as setbacks identified to better understand the potential impact of the extent of development that the planning proposal is seeking to facilitate. A copy of the anticipated shadow extent is included at Attachment 3 mid winter and during the spring autumn solstice. It is observed that the extent (length) of shadow is elongated to some degree due to the higher tower elements proposed however the narrow and more slender form of this component means that surrounding properties are not likely to remain in shade for significant periods of time. The podium elements, whilst higher than that identified in option 2B, result in a comparable level of overshadowing to that anticipated with the level of redevelopment identified within the Auto Alley precinct.

In order to best address these planning and urban design issues a number of clauses have been put forward. These draft clauses would;

-        mandate a minimum percentage of 40% non-residential floor space within the the subject land to better align with the desired employment outcomes for the precinct,

-    limit the floor plate size on the taller building elements to reduce bulk and resultant overshadowing and

   -   require approximately 6000sqm of the overall commercial floor area to be provided at basement level (proposed supermarket). This would further reduce the resultant bulk of buildings and prevent this floor space being relocated to the tower (residential) elements of the proposal. If the supermarket were not to proceed the 40% non-residential clause component would still apply to the remainder of the floor space of the site.

Subject to these provisions, as well as the preparation of a detailed site specific Development Control Plan to guide future development, the planning proposal is acceptable in regard to planning and urban design considerations.


Figure 9 – Council’s preferred Auto Alley precinct option 2B

The precinct study has also taken into account the flooding and hydraulic hazard constraints in formulating the recommended option. Since that time, further detailed analysis and critique of the flooding patterns and risk levels in the area has revealed that the new park is better located (from a flood mitigation point of view) on site 3 of the subject land (as opposed to the location (site 2) identified above).

The identified key benefits of both the planning proposal and option 2B (above) are; jobs targets achieved, some high density residential development to leverage commercial development, new public domain to improve connectivity and mitigate flooding, Parramatta’s southern gateway enhanced and defined, continued permissibility of automotive sales and provision for a variety of office and industry buildings.



Under the Sydney Metropolitan Plan 2036 a target of 27,000 jobs has been identified for Parramatta City Centre as well as 21,000 dwellings across the LGA. Parramatta has demonstrated capacity to meet the residential target in existing residential areas outside the City Centre through Parramatta LEP 2011.


Development of lands for employment uses has not been occurring at the desired rate partly given the significant amount of the Parramatta City Centre zoned B4 (Mixed Use) which is heavily weighted to residential development in the current market. The B4 (Mixed Use) zone represents approximately 73% of the land area of the Parramatta City Centre.

Council’s Economic Development Team, whilst supportive of renewal, have raised concerns that the planning proposal has not adequately demonstrated that the site and precinct can not deliver the higher levels of employment floor space that are needed to service Parramatta and Western Sydney. The close proximity to the Parramatta station and transport interchange, large lot areas and relatively low numbers of owners, make the precinct well suited to help deliver these uses for the City.

It is contended that the large lot sizes (and resultant floor plates achievable) of the Auto Alley precinct, the proximity to CBD and train station, and the demonstrated demand from the corporate sector for suburban commercial space in middle distance suburbs like Rhodes, Ryde, Homebush supports the notion that commercial development is viable in the precinct despite the high returns on offer and the current strong demand for residential development.  

Traffic and Transport


Based on the information in the proponent’s traffic study, the proposal would generate 607 vehicle trips in the morning peak hour and 917 trips in the afternoon peak hour.


The 95th percentile queue in the AM peak at the intersection of Marsden Street and Great Western Highway would increase from 209m to 302m.  In the afternoon peak the average delay at this intersection would increase from 36.8 seconds to 54.1 seconds.


The 95th percentile queue in the AM peak at the intersection of Church Street/Great Western Highway/Parkes Street would increase from 237m to 280m.  In the afternoon peak the average delay would increase from 52.9 seconds to 60.5 seconds.


There is further development potential in this area that would increase traffic delays further at these intersections.  However, there are projects for both these intersections to increase traffic capacity.  These projects are required to accommodate development (including the Heartland site) and the related increase in parking in the CBD.


The project for the intersection of Great Western Highway and Marsden Street is for a left turn lane in the westbound direction.  Reallocating existing road space and a small widening on the north side of Great Western Highway immediately west of Marsden Street is required to achieve this.  A detailed cost estimate has not yet been conducted for this project.


The project for upgrading the intersection of Great Western Highway and Church Street involves a second right turn lane from Church Street into Parkes Street.  Roads and Maritime Services has prepared a concept plan that shows the road widening reservation required to achieve this project. This has not yet been further progressed and is yet to be formally identified for acquisition.


Council’s Traffic Services Team is of the opinion that the proposed increase in development potential (land use mix as proposed) and resultant traffic generation can be accommodated within the road network subject to the traffic works identified being carried out and resolution of the abovementioned widening project.

Council's Transport Planning Team has raised concerns that the development of the site in the subject land in the manner proposed may compromise the potential location of a future high speed rail station, a study and feasibility of which is currently being undertaken by Transport for NSW. Phase 2 of this study is expected to be completed in late 2012.



The site does not contain an item of heritage significance nor is it located within a heritage conservation area. The site is however located within close proximity to several heritage items of local significance in Lansdowne Street as well as the South Parramatta Conservation Area. Council’s Heritage Architect has raised no objection, in principle to the proposed re-zoning. It has been indicated that the site has potential to contain archaeological heritage of, as yet undetermined, value. Any future significant redevelopment of the site would require consultation with and concurrence of the Heritage Council of NSW.


Areas of the site are affected by the 1 in 100 year flood level as well as having some medium/high hydraulic hazard. The applicant’s submitted planning proposal is accompanied by a flood study which has been reviewed by Council's Catchment Management Unit as well as peer-reviewed by an external consultant.

Following consideration  and discussion of the flooding affectations of the site and locality, the applicant seeks to relocate the ‘New Park’ identified in Option 2B to the southern most site (No 57 Church Street) as this represents a better likely outcome from a flooding perspective, than the originally identified site.

The detailed review has reached the position that the assessment of potential development flood-related risks has been adequate, at this juncture, to support the progression of a planning proposal for the proposed extent of overall development. Further modeling and analysis work has been identified as being necessary at a later stage.



The report accompanying the original planning proposal has identified a number of areas of environmental concern and assessed their risk against recognised qualitative assessment methodology.   The potential contaminants of concern on the subject land present a low to moderate risk to human health and the environment, though the extent of the contamination has not been characterised as the preliminary site investigation did not involve sampling of soil and water on site.

Council would require the submission of a detailed site investigation and remedial action plan and a hazardous materials survey with any future development application for the site.



Council’s Social Outcomes Team has reviewed the original planning proposal. In considering the identified and projected demographic profile of the City, have recommended that Council work with the proponent to improve the public domain, provide for affordable rental housing and ensure a suitable residential mix is provided in any future redevelopment. 


Voluntary Planning Agreement


A planning agreement can be made under section 93F of the EP&A Act and is a voluntary agreement between Council and the developer, under which the developer is required to dedicate land free of cost, pay a monetary contribution or provide other material public benefit, or any combination of these, to be used towards a public purpose. This may be in lieu of a s94A development contribution, as a part substitution or an additional benefit.


The Act specifies that a public purpose includes the provision of public amenities or public services, the provision of affordable housing, the provision of transport or other infrastructure relating to the land, the funding of recurrent expenditure relating to any of these, the monitoring of the planning impacts of a development and the conservation or enhancement of the natural environment.


Council has an adopted VPA policy which sets out the principles governing such agreements, matters that Council will consider in negotiating agreements, steps in the negotiating process, public probity, notification requirements and implementation. The EP&A Act and Regulation sets out the legal and procedural framework for planning agreements.


The negotiation of a planning agreement is at Council’s discretion. Key principles of Council’s policy are that:

-     planning decisions will not be bought or sold through planning agreements,

-     development that is unacceptable on planning grounds will not be permitted because of the benefits of a planning agreement,

-     the benefits of the planning agreement will bear a relationship to the application,

-     Council will not give undue weight to a planning agreement when making a decision on a development application, and

-     Council will not improperly rely on its position in order to extract unreasonable public benefits under planning agreements.


Procedurally, Council’s policy requires:

-     a Council resolution to undertake negotiations on a planning agreement,

-     appointment of a Council officer with delegated authority to negotiate a planning agreement on behalf of Council (this is not to be an officer with a key responsibility for the development application),

-     consideration of whether an independent person is required to facilitate the negotiations,

-     public exhibition of the draft agreement, once prepared, and

-     the elected Council will ultimately make the decision as to whether to approve the planning agreement.


An indicative offer has been put forward by the proponent that includes the dedication and embellishment of the areas identified below.


The above has not been detailed or analysed any further in respect to matters such as valuation, delivery timing, extent of embellishment or the like. Council’s endorsement is sought to proceed with formal negotiations of the initial offer, as presented, as well as explore other forms of public benefit such as dedication of units for affordable housing, flood risk mitigation and provision of a multi-purpose community space.

There are potential planning and public benefits in the indicative offer that should be further explored. Accordingly, this report recommends that, as required by Council’s VPA policy, a formal resolution be made to proceed with negotiations and an appropriate officer be given delegated authority to negotiate the VPA on Council’s behalf. Any draft VPA would also need to be reviewed by Council’s legal representative. It is recommended that delegation be given to the CEO of Council to negotiate the VPA. The outcome of the negotiations will be reported back to Council for a decision about whether or not to execute the agreement together with the planning proposal.


The site the subject of the planning proposal is considered pivotal to the long term successful renewal and redevelopment of the Auto Alley precinct given its large size, single ownership and prominent location.

As detailed in this report a comparison of the planning proposal against the recently endorsed option 2B for the precinct reveals that the subject land would result in comparable proportions of employment and residential floor space being provided as well as significantly more floor space (approximately 15,000m2) of employment generating floor space than that envisaged under option 2B for the subject land.

The planning proposal also makes provision for approximately 6000m2 of land to be made available for public open space, through site pedestrian links/plaza and road widening.

The planning proposal is considered to adequately meet the broader longer term strategic employment and growth objectives required to progress and strengthen Parramatta's role as a Regional City. The proposal does include a significant amount of residential development however includes provisions to ensure a significant quantum of non-residential land uses are also provided. The proposal is therefore recommended to be supported by Council and forwarded to the DP&I for Gateway determination.