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Planning Commentary

Dealing with Marrickville Council’s new DCP – What a nightmare – 1045 independent clauses for a residential renovation- ridiculous.  When will this mania of local council planning end and a single rational nationwide system be introduced. 

There is an increasing tension escalating in the Inner West of Sydney, as in a number of other desirable urban locations in Australia, between the need/desire in the general population for increasing densification around desirable high amenityu urban cores and the preservationist sentiments of the more suburban areas.  The current character of an idealised streetscape is formed from the preservation of the early 20th century tenant workers terraces constructed to maximize landlord returns from the limited rental base at the least intial capital outlay. 

While the planning lobby’s insistence on preservation of these anachronistic European terrace forms is appreciated for it’s longing for a previous romanticised era, it’s relevance to contemporary understandings of built form and environemtnal necessity is extremely limited. 

These are badly built, environmentally inadequate buildings.  Their amenity is very low, well below current expectations.  If they cannot be brought to a higher level of amenity, to retain their relevance, their relative value will decline and larger scale development will overcome them as has happened throughout Chippendale and lower Redfern, where protectionist strategies resulted in ghettoing and the increased demand for apartments living created unstoppable economic development pressures.  Multistoried apartment blocks with 10 x value per site area are the end result and these period buildings are lost.

‘Adaptat and survive’ is the great rule of evolution.

 Flexibility produces robustness.

 Reduce, Reuse and Recycled is the basic motto of environmentally and socially concerned enterprises, but not of the heritage mafiosa where it is simply a blind conservative preservation of a romantacised simplistic notion of 19th century living, all misty eyed notions of manners ballgowns and Downton Abbey, not Dickens, dust, dirt and darkness.  The reality of the inappropriateness of these buildings is totally lost.

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