[Special Report] In the second part of Coast Community News’ series on the NSW Government’s Urban Design Implementation Framework (UDIF) for Gosford, we have taken a look at the waterfront and city park areas.
The two areas are focal points for revitalisation in the NSW Government Architect’s UDIF for the regional capital. This report looks at the strengths and weaknesses, and profile developments, that are proposed, underway, or stuck, in the waterfront precinct. At a community consultation in February, Deputy Government Architect, Mr Ben Hewitt, said the City Park and surrounds area was the “doorway” to Gosford from the waterfront. Mr Hewitt said the waterfront was the city’s “unique and amazing asset” and that the extension of Baker St would be the key, “the only way” to link the city to the waterfront. Central Coast Mayor, Jane Smith, said Councillors had recently had a briefing from the Government Architect and Central Coast Coordinator General, Mr Lee Shearer, regarding the Urban Design Implementation Framework.
“We are organising a workshop with the consultants, Crophy, who are working with the government architect,’ Mayor Smith said. “I think that some of the work that the Government Architect is doing is very promising in terms of the focus areas,” she said. “In terms of the waterfront, it is just one of the focus areas, and it will be interesting to see if it will be one of the first to activate. “It will be the harder area to activate because of the need to solve problems like Dane Dve. “Traffic is one of those core issues that really need to be part of that long-term plan, and Dane Dve is definitely a part of that discussion. “There are also different views about what there needs to be in terms of open space on the waterfront.”
The waterfront, including the former Gosford Public School site, has had a colourful and controversial recent history, since the failure to implement the Our City Our Destiny masterplan, 2010. The Central Coast Regional Development Corporation attempted to make the waterfront a State Significant Site in around 2011-12, although it is difficult to pin down an accurate record of what exactly occurred at local and state planning level during this period.
The community resoundingly rejected The Landing proposal, put forward by Lend Lease, which included finger wharves that would be sold as private residential properties. The Gosford Council’s 2014 Development Control Plan saw the precinct rezoned to mixed use and it was this move that paved, perhaps concreted, the way for the ATO and NSW Finance building. Gosford Council’s last “vision” for the waterfront was that it was to be a “vibrant and active mixed-use precinct that will connect the Gosford city centre to the Brisbane Water foreshore.
“New residential development will contribute to the State Government’s regional housing targets for the Central Coast and will take advantage of Gosford’s unique water-based setting. “The Gosford Waterfront will also be a vibrant centre for jobs, and offer regional office opportunities for large business and corporations near a locally based skilled workforce.” Ms Shearer has promised that the Urban Design Implementation Framework (UDIF) will advance on the planning is already done for the waterfront, including the Our City Our Destiny community consultations. It is understood that the UDIF will also consider the need for a rejuvenated Gosford Olympic swimming pool, and an expanded public jetty off Dane Dve. Stay tuned to find out what the blank canvas, that is the iconic Gosford waterfront, becomes.
Below are some of the significant developments with details.
NSW Finance Building
32 Mann Street – Map link
Owned by: Government Property NSW with a settlement for sale to St Hilliers due towards the end of 2018
The construction of the six-storey, A-grade, Finance NSW building is transforming the Gosford city skyline. It is a mixed-use commercial building that will accommodate 300-plus jobs from the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation.
The proposal includes parking for 104 vehicles.
The maximum building height is 36 metres. The building is due for completion towards the end of 2018.
32 Mann Street – Map link
Owned by: Government Property NSW, with settlement for sale to St Hilliers due towards the end of 2018
Value: unspecified The site is located at the southern extent of the Gosford City Centre, 600m south of Gosford Railway Station and 180m east of the Central Coast Stadium. The former school site is bound by Mann St to the east, Vaughan Ave to the south, and Gosford City Park to the west, and forms part of the Gosford Waterfront Precinct. The remainder of the site encompasses an area subject to a site concept study for future development. According to Government Property NSW’s application to the JRPP to develop the site, it is “central to connecting the CBD and Waterfront, delivery of the Gosford Waterfront vision and will combine residential, commercial and retail uses”.
27A to 37 Mann Street and 125 Georgiana Terrace – Map Link
Owned by: Rola Property Group
Value: $53.7m The JRPP approved this mixed-use retail, commercial, restaurant, residential development in 2016, and its consent will lapse on December 15, 2018. The original proposal was to demolish the heritage item, Creighton’s Funeral Parlour, but following matters raised by Gosford Council in 2014, the development was amended to retain and integrate the “primary” building of Creighton’s into the proposed development. The amended proposal that was approved by the JRPP was for 67 basement car spaces, ground floor retail, and another 45 car spaces, level one commercial and 28 car spaces, level two would include commercial space and residential apartments, with more residential apartments on levels two to 17. The latest section 96 amendment for the project, lodged in November 2017, was withdrawn by the applicant in January. It would have seen an additional level of basement car parking and two additional residential levels which would increase the height by two storeys from 19 to 21 storeys.
Option 1: Regional Performing Arts Centre – Map link
Cnr Vaughan Avenue and Dane Drive
Owned by: Central Coast Council “Council is investigating six options and I am not able to outline what those six options are,” said Mayor Jane Smith. Coast Community News has obtained a copy of an of a request for a quotation for a traffic modelling and feasibility report for the Regional Performing Arts Centre, which clearly shows Option One for the RPAC as the “circus” site on Leagues Club Field, on the corner of Dane Dve and Vaughan Ave. “That investigation is still happening and there will be an outline report back to Council in April,” Mayor Smith responded when shown a copy of the document. Other waterfront precinct sites that have been considered for the RPAC have been the Gosford Public School site and Poppy Park on the other side of Vaughan Ave. The sale of the school site and St Hilliers unwillingness to negotiate with Council meant that it was ruled out as an option for the RPAC.
21-25 Mann Street – Map link
21-25 Mann Street 140-unit residential flat building and demolition of existing structures.
Owned by: Telstra and Transfield Services, Australia. Approved by the JRPP in September 2015, work on this project has commenced in recent weeks with a construction certificate lodged on March 9. The building will consist of three basement levels and 15 storeys, with a podium terrace on level seven. It will significantly exceed maximum height limits under GLEP 2014, but complies with maximum floor space ratio. The building is located behind the old Gosford South Post Office, which is a local heritage item. In its determination, the JRPP said the size and scale of the site would strengthen Gosford as the regional capital of the Central Coast.
BonythonWaters – Map link
63 Masons Parade, Point Frederick
Owned by: Bonython Property and Investments This mixed-use development, comprising of a ground floor
restaurant and 28 residential units, was approved by Gosford Council in 2015. An application was lodged with Council to extend the development consent in February 2017.
Source: Meeting notes, Feb 27 Ben Hewitt, NSW Government Architect.
DA Tracker, Mar 28. Various DA applications. Interview, Mar 27 Mayor Jane Smith, Central Coast Council
Jackie Pearson, journalist.