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Save Arcadia Park

A nine-storey (172 dwelling) development on the old NBN television studios at 11-17 Mosbri Crescent, the Hill threatens our beautiful Arcadia Park, the adjacent heritage conservation zone, and our neighbourhood. On Saturday 13 April 2019, residents of The Hill and concerned friends will meet to discuss the Crescent Newcastle proposal for the site, and the risks the development presents.

Arcadia Park is 1.5ha wooded park in inner-city Newcastle. It is remnant littoral rainforest and home to a variety of animals and birds including swift parrots, tawny frogmouths, microbats, and a Powerful Owl.

Residents want to see the site developed in the best way possible. And in a way that achieves the vision of the Local Planning Strategy:

The amenity and heritage character of The Hill will be conserved while supporting new opportunities for expanding the population in select areas.

The proposed development exceeds the capacity of the site and because of this, it makes unacceptable claims on public land. Arcadia Park is zoned RE1 Public Recreation under Newcastle Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2012 (LPI, 2011). Objectives of this zone are:

1. To enable land to be used for public open space or recreational purposes.

2. To provide a range of recreational settings and activities and compatible land uses.

3. To protect and enhance the natural environment for recreational purposes.

Crown Land Reserves do not exist to enhance the yield for property developers.

In addition to the noise and light from this development, which will have a major impact on Arcadia Park and the animals that live there, there are four main issues:

Asset Protection Zones – Section 4.1 of the Bushfire Assessment Report (original and updated) deals with Asset Protection Zones (APZs). An APZ consists of Inner Protection Area (IPA) and an Outer Protection Area (OPA). The DA Bushfire Assessment Report suggests that the development site will accommodate the IPA only. It notes that “in determining the appropriate setbacks, the bushfire mitigation measures to be implemented by NCC within Arcadia Park have been considered. In addition to the 9m setback from the eastern site boundary and the residential buildings, a minimum 10m APZ (up to 18m) is to be established within Arcadia Park; equalling a combined minimum 18m setback between the nearest unmanaged bushfire hazard and the residential building” (p. 26)

  • In February 2018, CN adopted a Vegetation Management Plan for Arcadia Park which recommends in section 4.4 “establishing an APZ around the boundary of Arcadia Park and the exclusion of planting canopy trees within the APZ. This also involves maintaining a sparse shrub layer (i.e. covering no more than 20% of the APZ) and annual maintenance of the APZ”. The VMP was attached to the original Bushfire Report submitted as part of the DA.
  • It’s also important to note that the Bushfire Threat Assessment (BTA) prepared as part of the rezoning process, and the Bushfire Assessment Report (BAR) that was submitted as part of the Development Application, were both prepared by the same consultant. The two documents appear to provide inconsistent advice about the required controls for the site. And both reports provide advice that seems to be inconsistent with the requirements of the PBP 2006.
  • Advice regarding Bushfire that was provided to Council on 22 February 2019 incorrectly advises that the appropriate guide to managing bushfire risk on this site is the Bush Fire Protection for Existing Development.

Grouting: – The development site is located over abandoned workings of a local Yard Seam and Borehole seam. The Mines Subsidence Assessment Report notes that there will 40 boreholes required to grout the borehole seam. The boundary locations will be “outside the site to push the collapse front away from the site and in turn reduce subsidence parameters for the site.” Only four of the forty boreholes are located on the development site. The remaining 36 are located in Arcadia Park (around 10), on public roadways, on Newcastle East Public School property, and on a large number of privately owned residential blocks. It’s estimated that each borehole will require an average of 400 cubic meters of cement.

Stormwater: – The DA proposes significant and unacceptable excavations to Arcadia Park to manage stormwater. The developer proposes reducing the depth of the water easement across Arcadia Park. To do this the DA Stormwater Management Plan suggests that 2 meters of localised filling could bring the starting level up and “flattening out” the park and making it “more usable by the public”. Even with 2 meters of fill, the pipe network along the Arcadia Boundary would be 3-4 meters deep. The aim of this loading fill into a gully in Arcadia appears to be to reduce the excavations required on the site.

Heritage: – Arcadia Park, like the headland reserve King Edward Park and Fletcher Park is part of the original grant in 1863 to the people of Newcastle. It was not given to one or two people – it was given to all of us.

In line with the Local Planning Strategy and the need to protect amenity and heritage views, Council’s Urban Design Consultative Group stated that the development should not be at all visible from the Obelisk and Wolfe Street. Indeed, for many months Council records indicate that the buildings should be no more than six storeys high.

The character of Arcadia Park, Newcastle East Public School, and the Obelisk are threatened by this very large development. All buildings on this site should sit well below the ridgeline. With this DA, the nine storey block is more than four meters higher than Wolfe Street, the highest street in the precinct, and it towers more than two storeys over Newcastle East Public School.

Traffic and Access: – The DA presents a safety hazard for future residents with the only access for vehicles to the proposed development via a ramp from Mosbri crescent connecting with proposed basement driveways on the north western side of the site. It is difficult to see how this complies with the PBP 2006.

The traffic report that accompanied the rezoning noted that the “intersection of Darby Street / King Street performs at a Level of Service capacity D (operating near capacity) with a degree of saturation greater than 1.0 during both the AM and PM peak hour. This is due to high volume of traffic turning right from western approach and insufficient green time for right turn movement. The intersection also experiences queue of approximately 265m from the western approach during both the AM and PM peak)” (p. 11).

The decision on the DA will be made by the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) on a date to be determined. Now is the time to ensure that City of Newcastle’s report to the JRPP reflects the views of residents, which are that this is over-development that exceeds the capacity of the site and makes unacceptable demands of public land in order to maximise developer profit.

Proposed Resolution: We object to the Crescent Newcastle proposal for 11-17 Mosbri Crescent and demand that Newcastle Councillors protect Arcadia Park and support residents and friends in their opposition to the scale and intensity of this development, and the greedy attempt to destroy habitat use public land for private profit.

Save Arcadia Park

Please join Open Newcastle in this campaign to Preserve Newcastle’s Heritage and put Community before Developer Greed.

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