The City of Parramatta has announced that work is underway on two major projects, aiming to revitalise the Parramatta River foreshore and improve the way residents move around the city’s CBD.

The new Alfred Street Bridge is 4.5m wide and 200m long, and will be the first true diagonal arch bridge in Australia.

Council has started construction on the link, an impressive new pedestrian and cyclist connection over the Parramatta River; between James Ruse Drive and Gasworks Bridge. 

The $19 million project, co-funded by the City of Parramatta and the New South Wales Government, will provide the City’s growing number of residents, workers, students and visitors with a safe, convenient and scenic walking and cycling link over the River and directly to the Parramatta Light Rail.

City of Parramatta Lord Mayor, Cr Donna Davis, said, “Not only is this bridge going to be a landmark and look incredible over our beautiful Parramatta River, it’s also going to make moving in and out of our Parramatta CBD much easier for a growing number of pedestrians and cyclists.

“We’ve seen the number of people using our riverside paths and cycleways in this area double over the last five years, with usage spiking during the pandemic. There has been a clear need for a bridge at the eastern end of our CBD and the new Alfred Street Bridge will make these trips around our City safer and faster.”

The bridge is being manufactured in Western Sydney using 280t of Australian steel.

The project is a key part of Council’s plans to revitalise the Parramatta River foreshore, including the redevelopment of Charles Street Square. 

Work has begun on the upgrade of this precinct, which sits adjacent the Ferry Wharf at Parramatta Quay, following the completion of the new Escarpment Boardwalk on the opposite side of the river.

The upgraded square will feature new ramps and stairs, a wide riverfront walk, paved terraces, an amphitheatre and new public shelter, set amongst extensive trees and gardens. 

“Charles Street Square has been a gathering place for locals and visitors for thousands of years and is the gateway to the Parramatta CBD for people who come by ferry. It needs to be a place that befits a global City like ours,” Mayor Davis said.

“This area has been ripe for a refresh for many years so it’s incredibly exciting for work to begin on such an important project. The design combines the foreshore parkland setting with a contemporary urban space, to create a feel I know everyone will love and a welcoming first step into our great City.”

The Charles Street Square project is also being co-funded by Council and the New South Wales Government, which is contributing $4.65 million to the $12.1 million upgrade.

Alfred Street Bridge is due for completion late 2022 with work on the Charles Street Square upgrade scheduled to finish in early 2023.

Parramatta City Council Rejects Proposed ‘New Generation’ Boarding House 

As Council attempts to transform the Parramatta River foreshore, it has unanimously refused property developer Conquest’s plans to build “new generation” boarding houses in western Sydney. 

The proposal comprised twin, seven-storey buildings with 237 boarding rooms, over two levels of basement; covering a 5052m site at 85-91 Thomas Street, Parramatta. The site also boasts more than 3800m of developable land.

Rejecting the application, the Parramatta Local Planning Panel said the proposal was, “Out of place and character”.

The plans also received backlash from local community groups.

The project, slated to operate as student accommodation and boarding rooms, was designed by PTI Architecture.

The application said, “The development proposes a new generation boarding house designed to provide good amenities to residents more aligned with a studio apartment, as opposed to a traditional boarding house.

“And has been designed to appear as a contemporary apartment building, in-order to be compatible and consistent with the existing character along the southern side of Thomas Street.

“The development will play a positive role in increasing affordable short-term accommodation within the Parramatta housing market.

“The occupants of the boarding house will comprise persons of a lower income, but greater than welfare payment income, such as students, nurses, ambulance drivers and school teachers who will be given the discretion to furnish their boarding suite.”

Dundas Ward councillor, Pierre Esber, said the development would result in an incongruous and undesirable future for the street.

“It’s just out of character for the area, traffic is [also] an issue, but what I have major concern with lord mayor is the precedent it would set,” Cr Esber said. 

Cr Esber also said that increasing the height limit from 11-22m for the site would also have a negative impact on privacy and visual amenity for the busy thoroughfare.

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