Camden residents concerned 'over-development' will ruin heritage precinct

The small cottage at 20 Elizabeth Street will be demolished and replaced with the proposed building in this artistic impression. Picture: BKA Architecture via Camden Council
The small cottage at 20 Elizabeth Street will be demolished and replaced with the proposed building in this artistic impression. Picture: BKA Architecture via Camden Council

Camden residents are concerned a proposed development on Elizabeth Street would 'ruin the fabric of the town'.

A development application (DA) for a two-storey retail, commercial and professional building with ground floor parking and an attic space in the town's heritage precinct was lodged with Camden Council in 2018.

The height limit in the Camden town centre is seven metres and the 2018 proposal came in at a height of 10.1 metres.

The council refused the original DA as it contravened the town's height limits and it was 'not consistent with the existing character of the heritage conservation area'.

"The proposal is an over-development of the site because of its excessive height, bulk, scale and roof form which incorporates a whole level of floor space," the council's refusal notice states.

"The height and minimal side and rear setbacks result in a building that adversely dominates the streetscape and adjoining properties to the detriment of those properties including heritage items."

However the decision was later appealed by the applicant Graham and Sanders Pty Ltd and is now expected to be heard in the Land and Environment Court in June, 2021.

Change ahead: This old, rundown home on Elizabeth Street is set to be knocked down to make way for an office building. Picture: Chris Lane.

Change ahead: This old, rundown home on Elizabeth Street is set to be knocked down to make way for an office building. Picture: Chris Lane.

Camden resident and Camden Resident Action Group (CRAG) member Glenda Davis said she hoped the court would also refuse this proposed development.

"We hope the court refuses it outright," she said.

"We hope the developers decide to withdraw their plans or that they find some way to comply with the rules around building in a heritage conservation area and the council's development control plan."

The developers have also submitted a new proposal for the site which is larger than their initial plan with a height limit of 11.2metres - 60 per cent over the current height restriction.

Ms Davis said the new height limit had left residents 'bemused'.

"We don't understand why they have decided to try for an even larger proposal," she said.

"If this plan is approved it would set a very dangerous precedent in the heritage conservation area of the Camden town centre."

The proposed development at 20 Elizabeth Street adjoins several significant heritage properties including Nepean House on Mitchell Street.

"This development would be roughly twice the size of all of them," Ms Davis said.

"It would affect a lot of people who live and work in the heritage cottages directly adjoining the site.

Ms Davis said the building, if approved, would pave the way for other developers to build similar buildings in the town's heritage area.

"I think it's an insult to the heritage conservation area," she said.

"It's a cottage-heavy area so it will stand out like a sore thumb.

"I think if they get away with building this one, other developers will come in and try to get away with developments like this too."

This story Camden residents concerned 'over-development' will ruin heritage precinct first appeared on Camden-Narellan Advertiser.