A leafy plaza with a cafe for outdoor events and two levels of underground parking in the middle of east Lindfield may seem like a lovely idea – but to the businesses surrounding the proposed plaza, it’s a badly conceived idea which could spell financial disaster.
Central to the concerns of businesses bordering the proposed $19.7m Lindfield Green project is a lack of adequate parking both during the year-long construction and afterwards, as well as detrimental affects on traffic in the area once completed.
At a consultation meeting with Ku ring gai planners last week, worried business owners asked Council planners to conduct a parking survey of all commercial enterprises affected by the development to ascertain how many car spaces each needs every day, prior to work commencing.
They also called on council to postpone building work for 12 months while traffic engineers surveyed the effects on traffic and parking of the adjacent nine storey Aqualand development and shopping precinct underneath, due for completion in early 2018.
But Ku ring gai Council has refused to halt work for the traffic study, preferring to rely on “the advice given by the professionals that are currently involved in the design,” it told the Monthly Chronicle.
A spokesperson said that “as part of the transport assessment accompanying the future Development Application, an assessment of the parking requirements for all the retail/business/medical and community land uses on the eastern side of Lindfield will be undertaken to determine the level of short stay/customer parking needed.”
One of the two levels of the underground car park, yet to receive funding from the Baird Government, should deliver 180 car spaces – 83 public spaces with a two hour limit policed by Ku ring gai rangers – and 116 commuter spaces below that.
Those 83 spaces aren’t nearly enough, say businesses, and is 55 less spaces than what’s provided by the existing car park which is continually full.
“The 138 spaces there at the moment barely copes with the number of people wanting to use the car park,” said Scott Blamey who owns the Runaway Spoon restaurant. “I stand to lose 80 per cent of my business as there seems to be no parking provisions during construction.
“This is a building full of doctors and other health services used by lots of seniors who can’t walk far, and without parking or even a disabled space near the building, people won’t be able to get to the building, so all members of the business community will be impacted in a negative way.”
Other concerns include residents from the new 141 apartment nine storey Aqualand development next door using the car park as overspill. Aqualand developer Peter Li said the “just under 200” spaces will be more than adequate for the 141 flats in the development, with the other 50-odd timed spaces allocated to shoppers using the ground level shopping centre.
“We’ve allocated one car space for each two bedroom flat and two spaces for three bedroom flats accessing the allocated spaces with a security swipe system,” said Peter Li, “but we think some owners won’t have a car and this should balance things out.”
Gary Stein owns four of the titles in the building bordering the car park. “Under the current plans parking will be inadequate and current users of the building won’t be able to use it and will cease coming,” he said.
On the other side of the proposed development, identified in the NSW Government’s merger proposal as a key project which should make it amalgamation-proof, optometrist Bryan Rowe said: “The Aqualand development has already depressed businesses here in the street – now they could be hurt further by Lindfield Green if they don’t sort the parking.”
He suggested that parking radiating for one kilometre out from the site be re-zoned to lift the one hour restrictions for the duration of the building works.
Council said temporary parking plans will be part of the development application and that it “will work closely with local businesses to lessen the impact of construction.”