Proposed development of 1 King Street Concord West

By Councillor Charles Jago

4th December, 2023

The future of one of the last significant blocks of industrial land in Concord West is about to be determined, with a focus that ignores the future community needs of the area.

In tomorrow’s (Tuesday 5th December) council meeting, councillors will consider a planning proposal for the development of 1 King Street Concord West next to Concord West station (the previous Westpac call centre site). The proposal comes from Billbergia, the largest developer in the area. They are proposing to build 10 buildings, ranging from 4 to 12 storeys with over 700 dwellings in a range of 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom apartments and townhouses.

Council staff have substantially reviewed the proposal and are supporting it subject to some significant changes to scale and environmental controls, which would reduce the development to about 600 dwellings.

Summary response from the Canada Bay Greens

  1. The Canada Bay Greens would like to see this site used for a local public high school. Canada Bay has just one public high school, which is already at full capacity, with some people forced to send their teenagers to private schools. There is no government plan for another new public high school in the area, yet population statistics show the Canada Bay LGA population expected to grow by 22,000 (including 10,000 of these in Rhodes) over the next ten years. The former Westpac site is probably the last available site for a new high school. Given that a new high school could take ten years to complete (land purchase, zoning, design and construction), the NSW government should take action on this now.
  2. Many local residents (and the Canada Bay Greens) are concerned that George Street – the only vehicle access in and out of this area – is already overloaded at peak periods. While Billbergia and Council may believe that this can be fixed with an upgrade to the intersection of Pomeroy and George Streets, they (and we) are not yet convinced.
  3. The developer justifies the project scale because of the nearby train station. Yet pre-COVID, the Concord West station was already beyond capacity in peak periods, with travellers often forced to wait for subsequent trains. Given that an upgrade would require additional train tracks which would take maybe a decade to complete, that should commence ASAP. (No word from the NSW government on that yet.)
  4. In principle, up to 12 storeys (ie medium density) right next to a railway station is not itself a problem. The issue is that this site is the last significant opportunity for locating a high school which is already needed but ignored by past and present state government, and also has constrained access by road and rail.

The details are given in a council staff report to councillors which is item 9.3 on tomorrow’s council meeting agenda (35 pages). In addition, Council has provided a large number of other attachments on their website. Also see Billbergia’s planning proposal (85 pages).

It would be helpful if people who are concerned about this came to the council meeting to speak on this matter. Please note that to speak you will need to fill out Council’s online form by 3pm tomorrow.

[This page will be updated with more information and commentary going forward.]