To reinforce Greater Parramatta as one of Greater Sydney’s metropolitan city centres, planning must deliver land use and infrastructure that:
- provides capacity for jobs growth
- creates opportunities for investment and business
- enhances accessibility to a larger and more diverse labour pool
- improves business-to-business interactions and access to other job agglomerations.
Covering an area of more than 1,400 hectares, Greater Parramatta encompasses Parramatta CBD, Parramatta North and the Westmead health and education precinct, connected via Parramatta Park (refer to Figure 16). It is the core of the Central River City.
Greater Parramatta has a target of 55,000 new jobs by 2036. This requires new opportunities for medical and education services and associated commercial activities in Westmead, and greater commercial capacity in Parramatta CBD. The strong pressure for residential development in Parramatta CBD will need to be addressed to retain commercial capacity (refer to Planning Priority C10 for details on job targets).
Parramatta CBD is already the fifth largest office market in Greater Sydney after Sydney CBD, Macquarie Park, Sydney CBD fringe and North Sydney. It provides more than 700,000 square metres of office floor space and has the potential to be transformed into one of Australia’s most important business hubs (refer to Table 3).
City of Parramatta Council forecasts a near doubling of economic growth in Parramatta CBD by 202110.
To strengthen Parramatta’s position as the metropolitan centre of the Central River City, planning needs to increase capacity for new knowledge-intensive jobs, including A-grade office floor space, which is currently at capacity.
City of Parramatta Council’s Parramatta CBD Planning Proposal seeks to expand the CBD boundaries and amend land use controls to create long-term employment opportunities supported by high density residential. The proposed amendments will provide capacity for more than 27,000 new jobs and 7,500 new dwellings by 2036 to create a dynamic and diverse city11.
Table 3: Greater Sydney 2017 office precincts
|Precinct||Office floor space (sqm)|
|Sydney CBD fringe*||864,640|
|Sydney Olympic Park||158,907|
*component of Harbour CBD
Source: Colliers International 2017, NSW Office Market Research Report 2017 (unpublished)
Parramatta Square is a three-hectare mixed-use redevelopment precinct that will include the new Western Sydney University Parramatta Campus; approximately 250,000 square metres of A-grade commercial office and retail space across four buildings; a civic building with associated community facilities; and 20,000 square metres of public space.
The new Western Sydney Stadium, to be located on the Pirtek Stadium site, will provide seating for 30,000 people.
A new museum on the banks of Parramatta River will be the anchor for arts and culture for the District. It has potential to deliver world-class opportunities for education and research, alongside exhibition space, and space for social and digital interaction and exchange. Other investments include an upgrade to the Riverside Theatre and $40 million to growing arts and culture in the community over the next 20 years.
The Parramatta City River Strategy seeks to reclaim the Parramatta River as a place for walking, swimming, picnics and events. The strategy positions Parramatta River at the heart of the CBD’s redevelopment.
Parramatta CBD will also benefit from two new multistorey schools: a new multi-storey Parramatta Public School and a new high-rise Arthur Phillip High School.
These developments will transform Parramatta and significantly increase its attractiveness to workers, students and residents.
This growth will be supported by major transport infrastructure projects such as Parramatta Light Rail and Sydney Metro West (subject to final business cases). Planning for these transport connections will seek to expand the commercial floor space footprint of Parramatta and unlock capacity within a 10-minute walking distance of transit and light rail stops.
Sydney Metro West has the potential to significantly enhance Greater Parramatta’s inter-city linkage with the Harbour CBD through improved journey times and frequency of service.
Major developments delivered, planned or underway in Parramatta CBD are outlined in Figure 16.
|2036 baseline target||137,000|
|2036 higher target||151,500|
Figure 16: Greater Parramatta
Westmead health and education precinct
As outlined in A Metropolis of Three Cities, the evolution of health and education precincts follow a Maturity Pathway. As precincts evolve, the economic productivity of the precinct increases substantially. This corresponds to three general models, which become progressively more complex: Clusters, Precincts and Innovation Districts (refer to Figure 17).
The Blacktown health and education precinct is at the Cluster stage, while the Westmead health and education precinct has the potential to become an Innovation District. Each tailored response to progress along the Maturity Pathway based on what is already in place and what is required in the short, medium and long term. While these precincts have attributes that could be developed to become internationally competitive and achieve sufficient critical mass, it is not expected that all precincts should, or will, develop into an Innovation District.
Westmead is one of the largest integrated health, research, education and training precincts in Australia and provides health services to almost 10 per cent of Australia’s population. By 2026, it will have over 2.8 million outpatient visits and over 160,000 emergency department presentations every year12.
Westmead is already a major contributor to the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda through its training of world-leading scientists, analysis and successful collaborations.
The Westmead Redevelopment Project is a major initiative of the NSW Government, led by NSW Health, the Western Sydney Local Health District and the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. The redevelopment aims to transform Westmead into a world-class health city.
The $900 million project and expansion of the University of Sydney and Western Sydney University Westmead campuses will increase Westmead’s workforce from 18,000 to 32,000 by 2036. With additional investment, Westmead has the potential to provide 50,000 jobs. The number of students is expected to grow from 2,000 to 9,000 by 203613.
Key stakeholders in the development of the precinct include government, academia and industry.
Through the GPOP growth infrastructure compact pilot (refer to Planning Priority C8), the Commission will work closely with stakeholders and will have an active role in coordinating the planning and delivery of infrastructure to improve public transport connections and the road network; attract jobs; plan for new or improved schools and community facilities; and improve open spaces, public areas, walking and cycling links.
Figure 17: Maturity pathway for health and education precincts.
Many activities in Westmead operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Parramatta CBD and Westmead both need reliable public and transport connections to accommodate this operating environment.
Helicopter access is critical for the operations of Westmead Hospital, with its statewide trauma role and its emergency and specialist healthcare services. Surrounding development must avoid current and planned flight paths for the future operations of the hospital.
Committed major projects, like Sydney Metro West and the Parramatta Light Rail (subject to final business cases) will deliver faster businessto- business links and provide easier and quicker connections for a skilled workforce as well as students and visitors.
Strategic planning must leverage these projects to attract new investment and economic development to realise the vision for Greater Parramatta and the GPOP Economic Corridor.
A number of major road corridors converge on Greater Parramatta. These corridors entangle local, cross-regional and freight flows and cause congestion. Roads and Maritime Services will investigate the viability of an outer and inner road network around Parramatta CBD and Westmead to reduce unnecessary vehicle movements through the centres. This investigation will consider the needs of retail deliveries, emergency services, construction, maintenance and waste handling.
Car parking constrains the efficiency of the transport network including light rail, cycling and walking. The amount of car parking must balance business needs with the need to reduce traffic and the reliance on private vehicles. The Commission supports the City of Parramatta Council’s strategies for shorter term parking within the CBD and longer term public parking outside the central core. Where possible, the provision of car parking will be reduced where access to public transport is high.
Public domain and walking and cycling links
Great places are attractive, accessible, safe, walkable and cycle friendly. They improve productivity by attracting businesses, investment and skilled workers.
More walking and cycling links within and to Greater Parramatta, including enhanced walking and cycling connections between Parramatta CBD and Westmead via Parramatta Park along a 24-hour safe and well-lit path, will improve access, liveability and prospects for the Central River City.
Hawkesbury Road will be revitalised with retail and dining options, and Church Street and Parramatta Square will offer new activities and opportunities for social connections.
City of Parramatta Council has strategies to improve the public domain, and walking and cycling links, such as the Parramatta City River Strategy, Parramatta Ways Walking Strategy and draft Civic Link Framework Plan. The strategies also guide the development of new arts and cultural precincts with fine grain spaces for local businesses, small bars, collaborative work spaces and creative industries.
The Commission supports investigations into policy changes and reforms that provide flexibility and incentives for businesses to grow a diverse nighttime economy.
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s Greater Parramatta Interim Land use and Infrastructure Implementation Plan also aims to enhance Greater Parramatta’s open spaces, walkways and cycleways by providing funding through the Special Infrastructure Contribution and Precinct Support Scheme.
Heritage and cultural, entertainment, arts and leisure opportunities
Parramatta has many significant heritage buildings and places from the early colonial settlement of Sydney. They include Old Government House in Parramatta Park, Elizabeth Farm, the Parramatta Female Factory, Parramatta Gaol and Cumberland Hospital.
High density development and other encroachments must be planned to respect and celebrate the heritage and cultural significance and the natural beauty of these sites to protect them for future generations.
Parramatta is already an important cultural hub. In addition to the Riverside Theatres, Greater Parramatta hosts major cultural events and signature festivals such as Parramasala, Sydney Festival, Sydney Writers' Festival and TropFest.
Critical to planning for a world-class Central River City is celebrating its rich cultural history, showcasing its diverse cultural and entertainment assets, and encouraging and incubating creativity, innovation and inspiration.
Continued investment in the arts and cultural sector will boost economic opportunities by attracting a skilled workforce and encouraging innovation in other sectors such as commercial creative firms.