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NoM - McGill Street Precinct Master Plan

November 25, 2009


Councillors Caroline Stott, Patrick Kelso, Lyall Kennedy, Marc Rerceretnam, and Monica Wangmann.

McGill Street Precinct Master Plan

On Wednesday, 18 November, a community forum was held at the Summer Hill Community Centre where several Marrickville councillors and community representatives briefed local residents on a Master Plan for the McGill Street precinct commissioned by Marrickville Council.

Previously, a submission was lodged by a developer with the Department of Planning as a 3(a) Application;  it covered only part of the precinct and proposed residential towers up to 14 storeys containing more than 500 residential units and a large retail complex.

Marrickville’s Master Plan covers the entire McGill Street precinct and has a maximum building height of 9 storeys, but it is still an unacceptable overdevelopment of the site.  More than 500 new dwellings are proposed with some commercial/retail use.

McGill Street is some distance from open parkland and the open space proposed in the Master Plan is simply not enough to support more than 500 families with their varied needs.

To the east the precinct adjoins mostly single storey and two-storey homes.  High-rise buildings do not fit.  The proposal is reminiscent of the development at the old Children’s Hospital in Camperdown.  To the west it adjoins the Mungo Scott flour mills, a site of similar area, which is likely to have the same number of dwellings.  In combination, these two developments would add more than 1000 dwellings (with hundreds of cars) to the Summer Hill area, a population increase of at least 30%!

At the forum, there was a call, which received strong support, for a height limit of 3 storeys for the precinct.  

The key issue however is traffic and transport. The McGill Street precinct alone will have a dramatic local traffic and parking impact on the village of Summer Hill and its surrounds. In combination with the Mills site the impact would be catastrophic!

Worse still, this locality already has major traffic problems on Old Canterbury Road and Carlton Crescent/Longport St and there is no real way to provide additional capacity;  this intersection is one of the major choke points of the inner west.

Marrickville Council retained the Hassell group to draft its Master Plan;  this company has previously advised the owners of the Mills site so it is surprising that the traffic issue is given so little attention in the Master Plan.  I note that a traffic analysis has been prepared by Arup but the community forum was not briefed on this document which should be a key consideration for all interested parties.

The Master Plan places much importance on extending the light rail line as a way of alleviating traffic but this alone is not a solution and, in any case, the light rail extension is by no means guaranteed. Similarly, it can not be assumed that the bulk of new residents will choose to use the existing heavy rail line in preference to their cars.  Regrettably, for the foreseeable future, the only way to accommodate a population increase of the magnitude likely to result from the twin developments of McGill St and the Mungo Scott Mills is a major expansion of road capacity and this is just not possible.


1.  That Ashfield Council immediately notify all residents of the suburb of Summer Hill with details of the Master Plan together with information of where to make submissions.

2.  That, as soon as possible, Ashfield Council makes submissions to the Department of Planning and Marrickville Council, commenting as follows:

    (a) That the number of apartments in the McGill St precinct be limited to 200 as the proposed 500 apartments will increase densities significantly and further add to the road congestion.
    (b)  That the surrounding road system is already a major choke point in the inner west, and so constrained that it is unlikely that the road capacity can be increased to meet the extra demand.
    (c)  That an independent analysis of the combined traffic impacts for this site and the Mills site, must be prepared and taken into account before any rezoning of either site is approved.

3.  That copies of Ashfield Council’s submission be sent to the Hon Linda Burney MP and the Hon Anthony Albanese MP.

4.  That the draft submission be circulated to all Councillors before transmission.

Caroline Stott

Patrick Kelso

Lyall Kennedy

Marc Rerceratnam

Monica Wangmann

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