ACF calls for increased levels of solar access and view sharing

The sky of Gosford City Centre dotted with cranes Photo: Justin Stanley

President of the Central Coast Branch of the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), Mr Mark Ellis, has called for increased levels of solar access and view sharing than is currently proposed as part of the NSW Department of Planning’s revitalisation of the Gosford CBD.

In responding to the call for public submissions on the Department’s draft planning controls and draft State Environmental Planning Policy, Mr Ellis said: “It is great to see movement within the Gosford CBD, with the Government Architect’s Urban Design Framework. “With all the positives in this framework, many are asking is this just going to be another glossy plan with lots of aspirations leading to a city of shadows?” Mr Ellis said. “Or is this a plan for a sustainable, human-scale, smart, connected, low-carbon city for the 21st Century?” he asked. “We have seen the McInerney plan of the highest buildings placed around the train station, decreasing in height to the waterfront (which forms the basis of the current Gosford Local Environment Plan). “Then we had the Johnson plan of the two goal posts and heights going backwards from the waterfront to the station. “Now it seems we have the Government Architect plan of open slather on building heights across the CBD, as there is no mention of heights in any of the publicly released reports or documents.

“Yet they attest to creating a place-based, human-scale city, with solar access, view corridors and connection to the green infrastructure. “The problem is that the current planning states zero shadowing around Kibble Park, and has prescribed height limits, yet there is no real stipulation in the current documents provided for public consultation that state what the new height limits will be in city north, centre and south.” According to Mr Ellis, the current Gosford Local Environment Plan (LEP), Clause 4.3 Height of buildings, aims to establish maximum height limits for buildings, permit building heights that encourage high quality urban form, ensure that buildings and public areas continue to receive satisfactory exposure to sky and sunlight, nominate heights that will provide an appropriate transition in built form and land use intensity, ensure that taller buildings are located appropriately in relation to view corridors and view impacts and in a manner that is complementary to the natural topography of the area, protect public open space from excessive overshadowing and to allow views to identify natural topographical features.

“The design of our urban environments represents our collective identity – who we are and what we value. “Time and time again, the people have said that they like to maintain the view to the hills and ridgelines from within and around the CBD. “We acknowledge the sustainable concepts of density and activating the city, yet the current state of this plan seems destined to create a concrete valley with limited view corridors and a minimum of just four hours sunlight at the height of winter along Mann St and shadowing impacts on Kibble Park and Leagues Club Oval,” Mr Ellis said.

Source: Media release, Jun 20 Mark Ellis, Australian Conservation Foundation, Central Coast