Approval pending for precinct plan

The proposal will seek approval to create large masterplan lots, deliver extensive open space and landscaping works and on-site infrastructure such as new roads. No buildings have been proposed in the first development application (DA).

“Once a formal DA is lodged, the documents will be exhibited and the community will have an opportunity to comment on the proposal,” an UrbanGrowth NSW spokesman said.

“All highly significant and exceptional heritage buildings will be retained.”

North Parramatta Residents Action Group demanded that no land be sold or sod turned until next year’s council elections.

“How can the future of this most precious site be under the autonomous control of a state government appointed administrator who is absurdly making decisions on a development application that is being fast tracked by a state government department whose only mandate is to reach maximum residential density on public land,” president Suzette Meade said.

Read Full Story Here





MEDIA RELEASE – Urban Growth NSW lodge DA to Subdivide Australia’s History

NPRAG have been alerted to the fact that the State Government’s Development Arm UGNSW last week lodged the first Development Application with City of Parramatta council for the Fleet Street Heritage Precinct:   an ill-conceived proposal that will turn public land containing Australia’s oldest and most intact heritage buildings into a high density residential suburb of 3000+ units.

This precinct was placed under a total Greenban by the CFMEU and Jack Mundey in August 2015 after the community concerns went ignored by the State Member for Parramatta Dr Geoff Lee.

“Dr Lee is ignoring constituents who have been working tirelessly to save our indigenous and colonial heritage from being desecrated, while he is gleefully handing it over to Mr Baird to sell for private residential development. Said Ms Meade President of NPRAG

State Member for Parramatta Dr Geoff Lee continues to ignore the community who have been fighting against this inappropriate development for almost 2 years.   All we hear is Mr Lee promoting Mike Baird’s mandate to sell every remaining piece of public land in Parramatta for residential or commercial development.

Before our local government was unceremoniously sacked and replaced by a State Government-appointed representative Ms Chadwick, the former Lord Mayor Paul Garrard of Parramatta City Council wrote to Planning Minister Rob Stokes demanding this totally inappropriate development be at least paused until the National Heritage Listing was finalised.  Requesting further transparent consultation with the wider community and other interested stakeholders was carried out.  This fell on deaf ears.

How can the future of this most precious site be under the autonomous control of a State Government appointed administrator who is absurdly making decisions on a development application that is being fast tracked by a State Government department who’s only mandate is to reach maximum residential density on public land.

This sort of undemocratic decision making process is something we would expect in North Korea but not here in Australia. It is a disgrace – a slap in the face to the Darug custodians of the land, the tens of thousands of women and girls from 1818 to 1974 whose lives were changed forever after being incarcerated within this precinct.

If the Greater Sydney Commission’s Lucy Turnbull is fair dinkum about making Parramatta Australia’s next great city then she will step in and stop this State Government proposal to vandalise Australia’s most significant precinct by dumping a new high density suburb here.  Residents of Parramatta are calling on Lucy Turnbull to champion the peoples’ plan for the best and biggest arts and cultural precinct for NSW to be created in this world heritage worthy oasis on Parramatta River.

The residents of Parramatta demand that NO development application pertaining to the Cumberland Hospital site be accepted by City of Parramatta council.  No land sold and not a sod turned until we have democratically-elected representatives returned to represent the community in the Local Government Elections in September 2017 – demanded Ms Meade.

Contact – Suzette Meade (0412 990 880)



Repair & Restoration Works to start on Heritage Buildings in North Parramatta

“So many stories, so many layers of Australian history have their origins in North Parramatta. As Sydney gets bigger it is incumbent on the government (that) it gets better as well and part of that is respecting our heritage,” he said.

Mr Stokes said it was important restoration works started as soon as possible.

“There is an incredible depth of heritage here, including some world-heritage listed structures across the vicinity.”

Heritage advocates have fought passionately against the redevelopment, saying it will destroy the historic site.

North Parramatta Resident Action Group president Suzette Meade said Mr Stokes had ignored requests from the group and Parramatta Chamber of Commerce to meet to discuss alternative visions for the precinct.

“We firmly believe our business model for a cultural and arts precinct in the Fleet St heritage precinct will bring more social and economic long term benefit to a growing western Sydney. The proposed high density unit development to what is one of the most significant indigeonous and colanial precincts in Australia is a travesty,” Ms Meade said.

But Mr Stokes said the something needed to be done now.

“The point is, no change was never an option. If we didn’t intervene these buildings

Read Full Article Here

Have a Say on Stadium Proposal

13724896_1372638489420075_4891769299604242734_oPlans for the 30,000 seat redevelopment of Parramatta Stadium have been revealed.

The Department of Planning and Environment seeks views on the proposal, which includes five levels of box and terrace seating with facilities, 500 parking spots and 20,000 square metres set aside for future entertainment and community use.

Venues NSW seeks approval to start the first stage of redevelopment, including demolition of the existing stadium and nearby Parramatta Swimming Centre. It sparked new calls for genuine community consultation on the future use of Crown Land and public facilities.

“We were utterly astounded to read the consultation report for the proposed stadium,” North Parramatta Residents Action Group president Suzette Meade said.

“This project must be paused and the plans put on the table so an independent planner can demonstrate how the existing war memorial pool and a new stadium can co-exist. The government owes our community that basic respect.”

Views the plans at City of Parramatta Council or Parramatta Heritage and Visitor Information Centre by August 19. Details:

Article can be read here

Female Factory Heritage Push

CROWDA national heritage listing for Parramatta Female Factory is closer to reality with support from both sides of federal parliament.

At a community rally on Sunday, federal Parramatta MP Julie Owens announced a prioritised commitment to getting the building and surrounding heritage buildings on the 32 hectare site onto the National Heritage Register if Labor wins the election on July 2.

Read Full Article Here

labor press release

NB – North Parramatta Residents Action Group (NPRAG) do not support ANY residential development currently being proposed by UGNSW in the entire 32ha Cumberland Hospital Precinct (Fleet Street Heritage Precinct)

Rain doesn’t dampen community rally

IMG_7316Wet weather couldn’t dampen public passion for Parramatta Pool and the nearby heritage precinct at a community rally on Sunday.

While the soaking forced the cancellation of a march, more than 100 people kept dry at Parramatta War Memorial Pool to voice their opposition to the state government’s plans to relocate the pool for the stadium redevelopment and build units close to the historic Fleet Street heritage precinct

Read More Here

Historic Board game – Parramatta Your Town

NPRAG believe property developers are fast monopolising the city by building sky-high apartment blocks, instead of preserving Parramatta’s trademark sites.

“We don’t want to see our town overcome with skyscrapers, which is what is happening,” Mr Hillman said.jon monopoly

“By developing this new board game, we hope to centre on Parramatta’s rich heritage and give current merchants the chance to immortalise their business in a unique and historic way,” Mr Hillman said.

 “It’s our chance to showcase Parramatta’s iconic early architecture, and the significant changes and transformations within our city over the past thirty years.

“The game will be entertaining and educational for residents and visitors and is a great marketing tool for tourism and small businesses in our area.”




Game up for grabs

When: Sunday at the Lennox Theatre, Riverside Theatres, after the screening of To New Shores — A Tale of Convict, at 2pm. Buy Tickets to Movie Here

Cost: Raffle tickets are $5; all money raised will go towards funding the development of the Fleet Street Heritage Precinct . To purchase tickets please contact us infonprag@gmailcom


Read Full Article Here










Geoff Lee welcomes state government’s decision to keep Parramatta Jail closed


Plans to reopen Parramatta Jail have been scrapped.

Corrective services minister David Elliott considered reopening the jail to address record numbers of inmates and prison overcrowding but announced last week that it will remain closed.

He told Parramatta MP Geoff Lee that reopening the jail would “not value of money for taxpayers.”

“It’s an excellent decision for the community,” an “elated” Dr Lee told the Sun.

“The development and refurbishment of the heritage precinct would have been slowed down otherwise. The new community that will living near there don’t want to be living next to a jail.”

Dr Lee campaigned for the jail to stay closed.  “We’re growing the city into a cosmopolitan and world class city,” he said.  “We can’t have a jail in the middle of a transforming city.”

Deerubbin Aboriginal Land Council has claimed ownership of the site.

“It was be fantastic if it could be transformed into an arts and cultural precinct,” Dr Lee said.  “But it’s up to Deerubbin Aboriginal Land Council as to what they want to do with the site. As a government, we can’t tell them what to do.”

North Parramatta Residents Action Group described the decision as economic vandalism. “The government’s surrender to developer lobby groups by deciding not to reopen Parramatta Jail for low security inmates is disappointing proof of who is really running the government,” president Suzette Meade said.

“It also would have used an asset that will now remain unused for a long time.”


Minister backtracks on reopening Parramatta Gaol

PARRAMATTA jail will not reopen after Corrections Minister David Elliott withdrew his proposal. Picture: Bob Barker Parramatta jail is to remain closed.

The State Government was considering reopening the colonial site to lift pressure from the state’s overcrowded prisons.

Mr Elliott told The Parramatta Advertiser he decided against reopening the jail, which closed in 2011.

“I can’t reconcile myself spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars reopening the jail, with all the development happening in the area such as the Powerhouse, the light rail, Westmead and … in the CBD,” he said.

It is estimated a refurbishment of the colonial site would cost more than $10 million.

Parramatta state Liberal MP Geoff Lee called it a “big win” for the community.

“Despite the prison overcrowding concerns, it would place a serious impediment on the North Parramatta heritage precinct,” Mr Lee said.

To deal with prisoner numbers, the government has announced it will close Long Bay jail and build a mega jail in Wollondilly in southwest Sydney, to hold up to 5000 prisoners.

North Parramatta Residents Action Group president Suzette Meade said instead of alleviating dangerous overcrowding in prisons, the government was putting prison officers lives at risk by packing prisoners into cells for another three-plus years until the proposed new mega jail was constructed.

“The Fleet St heritage precinct was in no danger from the short-term reopening of the historic Parramatta jail,” Ms Meade said.

“What was under threat was this government’s grubby money grabbing real estate deal to flog off public land,” she said


Legislative Council 9 September 2015 – CITY PLANNING


The Hon. DANIEL MOOKHEY [6.50 p.m.]: Tonight I inform the House about the changes being proposed for the city of Parramatta. Parramatta was the second Australian city built by Arthur Phillip following the arrival of the British to this continent in 1788. Ten months younger than Sydney, Parramatta became the colony’s hub when it became apparent that the lack of arable land near Sydney Cove meant certain starvation for the colony’s 1,000 soldiers, administrators and convicts if they remained rooted to the harbour. Governor Phillip’s choice to relocate the colony’s heart in the west meant that Parramatta was the stage upon which so many of Australia’s most historic episodes were played, including the beginning of agriculture by James Ruse at Experiment Farm; the emergence of Australia’s first export industry, the wool industry, at Elizabeth Farm; the Castle Hill convict rebellion, that is, the march on Parramatta by convicts determined to return to Ireland; the Cataract Gorge massacre ordered by Governor Macquarie from his chambers in George Street, Parramatta; and the Parramatta Female Factory uprising, the site of Australia’s first industrial action when female convicts rioted in response to a cut in rations and poor conditions.

Each of these episodes from Australia’s social history lives on in Parramatta’s streets, parks and buildings. Each side of politics has recognised this. So much of Australia’s social history is entwined in these streets, parks and buildings. These streets, parks and buildings need to be preserved and protected for every Australian. Parramatta has always had to contend with the dreams and occasional flights of fancy of planners, developers, mayors, real estate moguls and bureaucrats. Pleasingly, nary a year goes by without some glossy plan for Parramatta appearing on the front pages of the Sydney Morning Herald. The people of Parramatta are ambitious and it is right that they are. The question is not whether Parramatta’s ambitions should be subordinate to Parramatta’s heritage but how to leverage Parramatta’s heritage in service of its ambitions. We need to decide how to redesign it so that the city’s core is not just the precinct surrounding Parramatta station but also the heritage precincts on the city fringe. We need to decide how to pedestrianise the heritage parks, how to re-purpose the heritage buildings, and how to couple these changes with a plan for expanded urban density so that more people can live close to Parramatta’s core. These are challenges that historic cities like Parramatta have to address.

Cities like Boston City, which answer questions like these correctly, create natural spurs for their growth. Cities like Philadelphia, which answer these questions incorrectly, surrender their comparative advantage in an age where cities are nearly as paramount as nations. This is an age in which cities compete with each other. Parramatta’s answer is imminent. The answer will arrive with the Planning Minister’s decisions about the future of the Cumberland heritage precinct. The Minister will have to decide if Urban Growth’s proposed 30-storey towers will be built in the vicinity of Old Government House and next to the Female Factory. These are sites currently being assessed for World Heritage status—a fitting tribute to buildings so important. It is troubling that the implications of this nominee status have not yet dawned on the Minister for Planning.

Last week in budget estimates, my colleague the Hon. Penny Sharpe asked the Minister if the Cumberland precinct’s potential World Heritage status is being factored into the planning processes that the Minister is responsible for. The Minister could not answer. It is concerning for the people of Parramatta that the Minister responsible for determining the future of one of Australia’s most historic districts is ignorant of how its future is being assessed. It follows many other acts of ignorance and callousness for which this Minister and UrbanGrowth are responsible. Indeed, the mistrust between UrbanGrowth and the people of Parramatta is the reason the people of Parramatta are organising themselves.

The people of Parramatta are forming fine, cross-partisan organisations like the North Parramatta Residents Action Group, led by the redoubtable Suzette Meade. They have been organising petitions, like the 12,000-person petition that will soon be introduced into this place. The people of Parramatta have been partnering with icons like Jack Mundey and unions like the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union [CFMEU] to impose green bans to preserve Parramatta’s heritage, as was announced last week. People like Suzette Meade and unions like the CFMEU should not have to resort to citizen activism in order to have the Minister discharge his duties diligently and they should at least receive a hearing from the member for Parramatta. It is no credit to the Minister, the member for Parramatta or the Government that they have not.