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SSC Newspaper : March 2012
20 Strathfield Scene N estled among the disused warehouses, peeling paint and “For Lease” signs lining Parramatta Road in Homebush, you’ll find a hive of activity in the form of a sleek cafe. The Coffee Warehouse Cafe and Deli is crammed on a Sunday morning. There is a mixture of young families and old friends talking, laughing and eating pancakes and scrambled eggs. The Warehouse is an incongruous addition to the most hated piece of bitumen in Australia, synonymous with gridlock, petrol fumes and road rage. Yet it represents a beacon of hope. Head barista Salvatore Magro said: “It’s an up-and-coming area. It’s just outside the inner west and central to all of Syd- ney. That’s why we put our business here.” If all goes according to Strathfield Council’s plan, there will be more trendy hangouts for the latte set along this strip in the next 10 years. High-rise apartments will house young couples and pro- fessionals. Shops and restaurants will develop as neighbourhoods take off. The Strathfield Local Environmental Plan, known as the LEP, pro- poses developing Parram- atta Road in Homebush as “a place where people can live, work and shop.” With the State Govern- ment expecting Strathfield Council to have 8,300 ad- ditional homes by 2030, the council has chosen Homebush along Parramatta Road between Potts Street and Station Street as the place to put them. Magro is positive about the plans to give the area a radical makeover. “Hopefully it will create more buzz around the café. It would be great for this area to become a destination.” David Hazeldine, Strathfield Council stra- tegic planning manager, said the plan would also promote more facilities for workers. “There could be anything from an additional 1,500 to 3,000 jobs and visitors,” he told the Scene. “Strathfield Council, through the draft LEP, wants to create a series of focuses along Parramatta Road as ‘nodes’ that are central to a small area around them, and serve as a central place to a local community, with services, shops and employment,” he said. Scott Wilson, licensee of the Horse and Jockey Hotel, described the community as diverse and friendly. With this foundation for a new so- cial hub, he is looking forward to more housing and the potential cus- tomers it will bring. But turning the area into a community is not as simple as building apartments. “It’s got to bring out a lot of restaurants and shops rather than have disused warehouses,” Wilson explained. The LEP plans to do exactly that. According to an LEP fact sheet, the council is promoting “developments with a better mix of land uses, a ‘food hub’ centred around Sydney Markets (and) a mixed business and residential area with higher densities around Homebush ... with office, retail and commercial premises and residential units.” Hazeldine already sees younger people making the corridor their home. “There’s a strong represen- tation in the unit area of younger people aged 20-39, which would represent both renters and first apart- ment owners.” He sees Flemington’s Sydney Markets as “an ex- ceptional opportunity” and hopes to see it develop like other markets have. “All around the world, we are seeing new life breathed into markets, with them becoming focuses for business and the surrounding community.” Tarsha Finney, senior lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney, architect and urbanist, said: “In principle, it’s an excellent idea to create a mixed-use space.” But there will be challenges. The problem with a lot of urban development now is that we’re not demanding space for community amenities such as childcare centres, schools, parks and places of worship, she argued. “It’s not enough to just put in housing. “ We need multi-use places like scout halls, where communities can meet for yoga classes, parties or mother groups,” said Finney. “ We need march 2012 life Putting homes back into Homebush Can planners regenerate Homebush’s Parramatta Road as a trendy suburb crammed with new homes, cafes, shops and jobs? The transformation has already started, reports Joanne Tran Barista Salvatore Magro hopes for a buzzy mix of shops and homes. Top, The Coffee Warehouse. “ We need multi- use places so communities can meet for yoga classes or parties"