The transformation of Sydney’s historic Campbell’s Cove into a “world class” waterfront promenade is closer to fruition, with revised designs on public exhibition following a protracted development application process.
Johnson Pilton Walker (JPW)’s original designs for the area – located opposite the Sydney Opera House, on the western side of Circular Quay – saught to provide a “refreshed and more accessible visitor experience,” while protecting and celebrating heritage.
The intervention would be part of a comprehensive $73 million upgrade to West Circular Quay, which constitutes the most significant investment in the precinct since the bicentennial celebrations of 1988.
The design proposed four distinct areas, each with their own identity and function.
A 10-metre wide promenade would link Circular Quay and the Rocks to the South, and Dawes Point and Walsh Bay to the North. The promenade, to be characterized by a simple palette of materials and paving, would offer level access to the heritage-listed mid-19th-century warehouses, the Campbell’s Stores, which now house prestigious restaurants.
The proposed upgrades to the waterfront would aim to “enhance and protect” the heritage seawall while providing an amphitheatre for public events and day to day use.
A shared plaza would offer improved visual and pedestrian connectivity to Hickson Road and The Rocks.
JPW also designed a proposal for the redevelopment of the Campbell’s Stores, adjacent to the Campbell’s Cove public domain, which was first submitted for planning approval in late 2015. That proposal, which included a stand alone contemporary structure, proved highly contentious, attracting around 120 submissions when put on public exhibition. A revised design without the contemporary structure was submitted in October 2016.
Property NSW lodged a separate development application for the Campbell Cove’s in January 2017.
Following a public exhibition held in February, the designs have been revised by Context Landscape Design in response to submissions from government agencies.
The Department of Planning and Environment’s executive director of key sites and industry assessments, Anthea Sargeant, said while the original design principles have been kept, the revised proposal simplifies the paving to visually de-clutter the space.
“To protect the existing fig trees, paving would be designed to avoid disturbing the roots. And eight existing Livistona Palm trees would be transplanted, with an arborist’s advice, to the northern side of the entry road to Campbell’s Cove plaza,” Sargeant said.
“The previously proposed boardwalk extension adjacent to the Park Hyatt has been removed from the application, and the heritage listed wharf railings and gate would be preserved.”
A number of public submissions lodged by local residents following February’s exhibition raised concerns about noise associated with the proposal’s construction, as well as with the public events the new precinct would accommodate.
In Property NSW’s response to submissions, prepared by Urbis, it is noted that a noise management plan – including construction curfews – would be in place. The report also notes that any future events would require separate approvals through relevant authorities.