Western star: Sydney’s centre of gravity continues Parramatta advance

A mock-up of a future Parramatta CBD. Image: City of Parramatta Council.

The face of Parramatta – the geographical centre of the Sydney Metropolitan Area –  is set to change dramatically under the Parramatta CBD Planning Proposal, which went on public exhibition this week. 

The City of Parramatta Council blueprint, which is open for public submissions until Monday, 2 November, allows for buildings up to 243 metres tall, providing increased commercial floorspace and residential capacity in Sydney’s second CBD.

A 243-metre building is equivalent to approximately 62 storeys in a commercial office tower or 75 storeys in a residential tower.

It is eight metres above the official height limit of 235 metres in the Sydney CBD – although the soon to open Crown Sydney tower is exempt from City of Sydney Council planning laws, and will stand at 271 metres.

In a media statement, Parramatta Lord Mayor Bob Dwyer said the blueprint would see Parramatta boom.

“The sky’s the limit as City of Parramatta Council delivers a world-class CBD,” he said.

“Changes to planning controls will allow buildings in parts of the city to rise up to 243 metres under our Parramatta CBD Planning Proposal, transforming the skyline in the heart of the Central River City.”

A video outlining the Parramatta CBD proposal. Video: City of Parramatta/YouTube.

The Central River City concept is part of the Greater Sydney Commission’s plan for ‘a metropolis of three cities‘ in the Sydney Basin, incorporating the Central City District (AKA Central River City) based on Parramatta; the Eastern Sydney District, with the Sydney CBD at its heart; and a Western City District encompassing locations such as Penrith, Liverpool and Campbelltown. 

“Our comprehensive plan includes controls that facilitate growth while also preserving the elements that make the city liveable – its natural light, heritage areas, views of the river foreshore, and functional and attractive public domains,” said Dwyer. 

Under the proposal, Parramatta Road’s notoriously ugly ‘Auto Alley’ section would also be transformed into a new commercial precinct, with towers of up to 115 metres, Dwyer said. 

“Auto Alley is a prominent gateway to our city and this makeover will give the Western Sydney economy a massive boost.”

However, not all residents were enthused by the plans.

In a post on the North Parramatta Residents Action Group (NPRAG) Facebook page, Mike Stanley wrote: “The monsters of Parramatta are almost upon us, built with lightning speed. Those man-made monsters of moneyed men, of lies and barefaced greed.

“Towers of steel reach to the sky, as old Parramatta waves us goodbye. I want to scream, and loudly shout, ‘It’s like her heart has been torn out.’”

The Parramatta CBD Planning Proposal can be viewed on Council’s community engagement website, in person at City of Parramatta library branches and at the City of Parramatta Customer Contact Centre, 126 Church Street, Parramatta.

Council will also be hosting an online Community Q&A Session on Tuesday, 13 October from 6pm to 7:30pm, and said it would be offering out-of-hours phone sessions to answer community questions.

For more information and to provide feedback, visit the Participate Parramatta website.

Mock-up of a future Parramatta CBD. Image: City of Parramatta Council.

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