The freehold and leasehold for the Property that is critical for the expansion of Chatswood’s Bus Interchange

The interchange is already inadequate for current needs of our community, let alone to meet future needs, with significant population growth planned as well as the transport needs for Northern Beaches Hospital. Transport NSW is selling off the site as ‘surplus to needs!’?????!!!!!! The 1-5 Railway St site has also been identified in Willoughby Council’s Draft CBD Strategy as necessary for the expansion of the Interchange. We have written to our local State and Federal Members of Parliament and Council to ask them to ensure that this valuable opportunity is not lost. The Chatswood Chamber of Commerce has also strongly supports FWPA’s stance.

Here is what we wrote:

Re: Important Opportunity to Expand the Capacity of Chatswood Bus Interchange: Chatswood Central for sale: 1-5 Railway Street, Chatswood

The Federation of Willoughby Progress Associations would like to bring to your attention that the property at 1-5 Railway Street building has been put up for both lease and sale. This property adjoins the current Chatswood Bus Transport Interchange located on the eastern side of the railway line, which is already running at capacity.

We note there is a high likelihood of redevelopment of the site once this property is leased/sold. This opportunity would afford an important strategic opportunity to  ensure that development of a transport interchange on the western side of Chatswood station is a foundational part of any redevelopment of the site.

Could you please make representations on behalf of our community to ensure that Willoughby City gets this much needed additional urban transport infrastructure? This property lies literally on the border of both your electorates, and partially in both, with the majority of the property in Bradfield.

Background:

The site for sale

  • Chatswood Central is located at 1-5 Railway Street, Chatswood and is bounded by Help Street to the north, Railway street to the west and the T1 North Shore Train Line to the east.
  • Hume Property Pty Ltd (Hume) is the current owner.
  • The site has been identified by Willoughby Council on page 86 in their recently released draft Chatswood CBD Draft Planning and Urban Design Strategy as being important for the expansion of the existing bus interchange.
  • Articles on websites promoting the property sale have stated: “The site is currently leasehold from the Rail Corp however Hume has been in dialogue with RailCorp and there is a known pathway to either extend the ground lease term or freehold the property.” The property owner acknowledges “The recent announcement of the new draft masterplan encouraging greater development in Chatswood, Hume recognises that the next wave of growth for Chatswood Central will be through development, however as it is primarily an investment group and not a developer it has decided to market the property.”

 

Buses and capacity issues at Chatswood Station

  • The current Transport interchange on the eastern side of the station is inadequate for current needs, and we are anticipating that increased capacity will be needed in the near term because Chatswood is likely to be one of the major transport links to the new Northern Beaches hospital. We note the Northern Beaches is growing and developing fast.  We see the opening and future growth of the Northern Beaches Hospital in Frenches Forrest as a driver of significant demand for bus services and the Chatswood Train and Bus Interchange.
  • To date there has been no information on how bus services from the North Shore (most direct access point will be Chatswood) to the new Northern Beaches Hospital Prescient will be expanded to cater for the increasing demand and what new bus routes are proposed.
  • There will also be additional transport needs in the medium to longer term resulting from the significant population increase due to the Sydney Metropolitan Strategy and the Greater Sydney Commission’s Sydney North Plan.
  • Significant bus movements on both sides of the railway line are causing congestion in the area, and delayed buses along with reduced pedestrian safety. Many bus services are arriving and departing in Railway Street on the Western side of the railway line due to the capacity constraints of the bus interchange on the eastern side of the railway line. (i.e. Sydney Buses 143/144, 200, 256, 533, 534, 536, 545/550 to name a few along with Shorelink and Hills Bus services).
  • Buses are having trouble finding a place to park on the Western side of the railway line between the end of bus route runs and the beginning of the next run. This is causing congestion in Railway Street between Pacific Highway and Help Street, especially in morning and afternoon peak hours.
  • We believe a coordinated solution to upgrade the bus interchange on the eastern side and development of a bus interchange on the western side of the railway line can meet Chatswood’s growing transport infrastructure needs as well as reduce congestion, reduce bus delays and improve pedestrian safety.

Requests

  • Could you both please advocate to ensure that the site is redeveloped to provide an expanded bus interchange with capacity for current and future demand, including relocation of the Victoria Ave and Railway St bus stops to the interchange.
  • Any building that results from the redevelopment of this site is ONLY commercial office space with appropriately sized floor plates to allow Chatswood CBD to cater to the demands and requirements of the current and future commercial office tenants.
  • Consideration to be given to the provision of recreational/open space facilities within the site for the many users of the CBD
  • We would also like to know why, when this site is needed for critical transport interchange infrastructure in the centre of Chatswood now and going forward, the freehold of this State owned asset has been determined as ‘surplus to requirements’ and is  being sold off?  It is also noted that the lease extends to 2072.
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Willoughby Council Decision not to webcast very disappointing

Council’s decision against webcasting, and not to even just defer a decision on webcasting until amalgamation situation is resolved, accompanied by a decision not to making Council meeting audio recordings is very disappointing. Why should our residents have to pay money and go through a bureaucratic GIPA (FOI) application proces just to try to get access to recordings of public Council meetings to find out the discussions that went on and what informed decisions made? Audio recordings are already made. Other Councils provide free and ready access of their full meetings. Shame Willoughby Council!

https://www.pressreader.com/australia/north-shore-times8715/20170309/282248075357021

 

 

Concerns over Willoughby Council Transparency

The North Shore Times published an article about concerns Northbridge Baths and the purchase of a particular item not being put to tender. Concerns were also raised about matters being considered by Council in confidential sessions. FWPA has received concerns in relation to a number of different transparency issues involving Council, including the decision by Council to refuse webcasting or ready and free access to recordings of Council meeting and the number and nature of matters being treated as ‘confidential’ by Council. Willoughby Council has now fallen behind our neighbouring councils in terms of transparency as Mosman, Lane Cove, and North Sydney Councils all webcast their meetings.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/north-shore/soaring-northbridge-baths-bill-discussed-by-willoughby-council-in-confidential/news-story/5ace52