Given the complexity of the work being undertaken by Urban Growth NSW to develop a Framework Masterplan for the North Parramatta Heritage Precinct, it is hardly surprising that the original goal of March 2014 for a first presentation has now been postponed. Community consultations only began last November about the future of 146 hectares of NSW Government owned land, which include the colonial Parramatta Female Factory Precinct (incorporating the former Parramatta Girls’ Home), the Old King’s School, Parramatta Park, and Cumberland Hospital.
It is difficult to reconcile the pressures of a three year electoral cycle with a planning process that requires consultation and negotiation across 12 different government agencies in addition to community, stakeholders and industry. Parramatta state member Dr Geoff Lee MP is leading the push for the preservation of significant heritage buildings and landscapes, and to provide long needed arts and recreation facilities. He is strongly supported by state member for Toongabbie and shadow minister for the arts, Nathan Rees MP. Both acknowledge that finance for these activities may need to be raised through opportunities for sympathetic private development on the North Parramatta sites and urge all stakeholders to recognise the need for patience and compromise. There is extraordinary potential to be unleashed, but the need of at least a decade to bring it to fruition.
Each stage of the Framework Masterplan needs to be considered and endorsed by government before proceeding to the next. The current stage of the project is before the Infrastructure Committee of Cabinet and Urban Growth will report back soon. In the meantime, you can check progress on Urban Growth NSW website at any time.