UPDATE ON STAGE ONE COMMUNITY FEEDBACK AND PROGRESSION OF PLANNING AND CONCEPT DESIGNS
This update follows the community consultation on the first stage of planning for the Leura Cascades Precinct and Solitary Restaurant Locality (incorporating Carrington Park) which closed in late January.
The Project Team has carefully considered the feedback and submissions from community and stakeholders on the issues and opportunities relating to these areas. Community feedback and our own ongoing investigations have informed how we go about the next step in the planning process, which is to develop the Draft Concept Designs. These will broadly outline our proposal for the area, that is, how it would function and how it will look.
What did the community say?
A summary of community and stakeholder submissions is available to view in the Document Library to the right of this page or CLICK HERE . This is the feedback on the pre-design phase of the planning, that is, the site analysis (issues, constraints, opportunities) and scoping ideas that may address these issues and / or realise the opportunities.
What happens next?
We are going to progress the planning for Leura Cascades Precinct separately from the Solitary Restaurant Locality (incorporating Carrington Park) in the following way:
Leura Cascades Precinct Plan – develop draft Concept Design for further community consultation and progress to Council for adoption of the Precinct Plan before progressive implementation of works.
1. Develop the draft Concept Design incorporating consideration of community feedback provided at the pre-design stage – April/May 2023
2. Engage with community on the draft Concept Design – June 2023
3. Consider community feedback and progress a final Concept Design for adoption by the Council as the Leura Cascades Precinct Plan – July/August 2023
4. Progress detail design and construction documentation of funded elements for delivery in the 2023/24 financial year.
Solitary Restaurant Locality Plan (incorporating Carrington Park) – pause progression of the draft Concept Design to allow for detailed site investigations to take place to further understand the feasibility of possible options. These investigations include but are not limited to traffic, ecological and heritage studies. –The outcome of these investigations will determine what options we pursue further - or not – and the development of a draft Concept Design for further community consultation.
Why is Council taking this approach?
We are taking this approach for these reasons:
• There is strong support for most of the opportunities identified in the Leura Cascades Precinct Plan including:
- Closure of Chelmsford Bridge and partial closure of Chelmsford Drive to Vehicular traffic and creation of a vehicle-free zone in the lower cascades.
- Walking track upgrades.
- Provision of new accessible toilet facilities and accessible connections
- Concerns relating to the proposed night-lit walk and parking upgrades will be addressed in the draft Concept Design which will subject to further community consultation
• The need to meet commitments and timeframes of grant funding for the Leura Cascades Precinct.
• The need to address community concern relating to key aspects of the Solitary Restaurant Locality Plan (incorporating Carrington Park) while addressing issues of access, circulation, and safety, and to cater for a predicted increase in visitor numbers following completion of the Grand Cliff Top Walk and re-opening of Cliff Drive to vehicle traffic.
• The need to consider the inter-relationship of the entire Locality (Solitary Restaurant & surrounds, Carrington Park, Kiah Lookout and Prince Henry Cliff Walk track heads, and Merriwa Street) and site connectivity with adjacent townships.
• We can take advantage of the grant-funded site investigations that are already scheduled to occur for the Great Blue Mountains Trail (GBMT) between Kiah Lookout and Echo Point.
It is important to note that by undertaking detailed site investigations - traffic, ecological, heritage – it does not mean that Council has decided to pursue a particular course of action. We need to explore all possible options more fully, so we know whether to rule any option in or out, and the reasons why.
Over the next few months, you may see people on site in the vicinity of Carrington Park and Solitary Restaurant undertaking these investigation and assessments on behalf of Council. This is necessary work to give us the information we need to consider the options available.
Community opinion matters and has been heard. However, the issues of road & pedestrian safety; access & circulation; and traffic / pedestrian / cyclist conflict need to be addressed. The outcome of these investigations will determine what options we pursue further - or not – and the development of Draft Concept Designs which will be subject to further community consultation.
The Project Team will inform everyone that has contributed to the planning so far, of Council’s approach. We’ll also keep the community informed of our progress and further community consultation activities. You are encouraged to check this webpage regularly for updates and opportunities to have your say on the draft Concept Design.
Thank you for your ongoing interest in the future of this precinct.