Fears gaol reopening could hurt area

Proposals by the NSW Government to reopen Parramatta Gaol will “stop the exciting urban renewal proposals for North Parramatta”, according to the Urban Taskforce.

“The NSW Government seems to now have two contradictory approaches for the renewal of North Parramatta,” CEO Chris Johnson says.

“On one hand UrbanGrowth NSW proposes new residential towers around the old gaol and the proposed light rail will connect the precinct ,while on the other hand the government proposes to reopen the gaol, which doesn’t send a welcoming signal to incoming residents.”

Johnson says the state government has given a positive focus to Parramatta as the second CBD for Sydney, reflected in some strategic planning and the announcement of the proposed light rail.

“This has led to strong market interest in developing residential and commercial buildings in the city centre and in the North Parramatta campus. Their proposal to relocate the Power House museum to Parramatta adds to the build-up in confidence that the city is becoming a very desirable place to live and work in.

“The confidence that is growing about Parramatta’s maturity as a cosmopolitan centre could be set back by the reopening of a gaol on the city’s doorstep,” he adds.

“The reopening would certainly be a setback for the government’s recently announced plans to provide much-needed housing on the land adjacent to the old gaol.

“The proposed urban renewal will reinforce the connection to jobs in the Westmead Medical Precinct and have all of this connected by light rail.

“There must be other options for a new gaol that doesn’t disrupt the exciting urban renewal of Parramatta and its surroundings.”

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