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Our thoughts of the development of a Child Care Centre in Quarry Street - Loss of vital recreation space - June 2013
Our reasos for objeting to a Development Application for 94/2013 2-4 Quarry Street, Paddington -June 2013
Development Aplication no. 94/2013 is for a proposed childcare centre in replacement of an existing and functioning pair of tennis courts currently leased by ‘The Palms Tennis Centre’. The current land is open recreational space and the site is within the Paddington Heritage Conservation Area and any proposed development is subject to the Paddington Heritage Conservation Area DCP 2008.
The Paddington Society objects to the above DA for
“Site remediation and construction of new childcare centre to provide 120 long day care places for ages 0 to 6 years, with operating hours between 6-30am to 7-30pm Monday to Friday,”as follows:
1. Removal of an existing Public Open Recreational Space.
The suburb of Paddington is amongst the most dense suburbs in Australia. The residential building stock consists largely of single attached dwellings with small private open space. As a result outdoor recreational space is a premium and is much sought after. The proposal removes valuable public open space and replaces it with a private institution. Whilst we recognize the need for additional childcare spaces it should not be at the expense of public open space.
2. Intensification of Land Use
The current site has 2 tennis courts, and is used by as much as 8 – 12 people at any given time. There is parking available for those who need to drive to the facility. There are substantial residential dwellings (predominantly apartments) above the site.
The proposed childcare centre will increase the usage of the site from approx. 12 people at any given time to as much as 150 people between the hours of 6.30am – 7.30pm, Monday to Friday. This is a 1200% increase in site use.
The traffic report prepared by Varga Traffic Planning Pty Ltd, claims that the proposed usage will not cause parking or traffic issues.Whilst many parents will walk to the centre to drop their children off and pick them up, based on other day care centres in the Paddington area eg. SDN on Heeley Street, it would be safe to assume that at least half the children will be dropped off by car. This will result in a conservative estimate of 100 additional cars using Quarry Street and the laneway to the Centre each weekday.
Based on the above we disagree with the traffic assessment.
The Acoustic Report prepared by SLR Global Environmental Solutions claims that the additional noise generated by 120 children is acceptable. Whilst the applicant has proposed noise attenuation barriers within the playground area, it should be noted that the existing rear wall of the site (former sandstone cutting) will provide a natural amphitheatre to reflect noise upwards to the residential dwellings behind. The existing aged care facility is occupied throughout the day, and thus they will be affected by the additional noise. Based on the above we disagree with the Acoustic Assessment.
3. Site Contamination
Both the applicant and council have recognized that the site is contaminated. It is a former quarry and rubbish dump and the current level of the ground is the result of land fill from the site’s previous use as a rubbish dump. The Applicant has prepared a ‘Preliminary Environmental Site Assessment’ by Argus Pty Ltd. This report states that no samples of the underground conditions (core drilling samples) have been prepared to ascertain the extent of the contamination.
The applicant has stated that the lightweight construction of the building will result in shallow footings and therefore minimal site disturbance and thus no real disturbance to the contaminated site. This is misleading. The site is land fill and the ground floor slab will need substantial pored piers to reach an adequate level of support for the building. This will require deep and substantial excavations. The proposal includes a large onsite detention tank. This will require substantial footings to support the weight of the water. It is our opinion that testing be done at the expense of the applicant to ascertain the contamination of the site to see if the site is in fact a suitable health risk for a child care centre before the Assessment of the application can continue.
4. Design of Contemporary Infill Development
The proposed child care centre is a new building and therefore is subject to the Contemporary Infill Development requirements of the Paddington Heritage Conservation Area DCP 2008:
4.4. Infill Development Controls General C4 Infill development must be consistent with the predominant built form (volume and configuration) of significant development adjoining the site and in its immediate area in terms of aspects including, but not limited to:
- roof forms - fenestration patterns
The proposed roof forms (long and wide hip roofs) are rarely found in Paddington and are not found within the immediate area, and therefore is not consistent with the predominate built form.
The proposed fenestrations include windows with both vertical and horizontal mullions in a pattern that is not found in Paddington and therefore is not consistent with the predominant built form.
C14 Infill development must: - use render, masonry and or timber
The proposed lightweight construction, ie fibre cement cladding is not an acceptable material. The applicant has given the reason that they have diverged from traditional materials to avoid disturbance of a contaminated site. It is our opinion that the proposal should both remove the contamination and propose traditional materials.
In conclusion, whilst it is considered important to increase the number of available child care places in Paddington, the proposed site is not suitable for such use despite its zoning due to the following
- increase in traffic
- increase in noise
- the site’s contamination
- the form and materials of the proposed design
- non compliance with the Paddington Heritage Conservation Area DCP.
The Paddington Society - DA Review Committee