Plans for a much-needed new childcare facility in Darlinghurst have been given the go-ahead after improvements to the original design received broad support from the local community and Council.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the revised design for the Bourke Street site showed council and the community working together constructively on a significant local project.
“By working together we’ve been able to refine the design for the childcare facility to meet everyone’s needs,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Parents, particularly with children under two, are waiting years to find childcare near their home or work – this centre will provide 62 much-needed childcare spaces.”
The new design provides childcare on the top three floors of 277 Bourke Street, with community space on the lower ground floor.
A ramp will gently sweep from the first floor to a raised ‘tree-house style’ playground area, which has another ramp that links to ground level, making it accessible for everyone.
Berwick Lane will remain open to pedestrians, and the community will have a new pocket park or community garden at 222 Palmer Street, the site of the KU Frances Newton Preschool.
About 70 residents attended a community meeting hosted by the City to review design changes made in response to their feedback on earlier plans.
The City has fast-tracked $55 million in funding for six new childcare centres over the next 10 years to meet demand, but regulations mean all centres must provide a percentage of outdoor space – a challenging requirement in the inner-city’s high density areas.
“We’re also upgrading Heffron Hall and Albert Sloss Reserve, creating the new Eternity Playhouse on Burton Street; purchasing land at the corner of Bourke and Stanley streets to protect a pocket park; and making Foley Street a shopping and dining destination,” the Lord Mayor said.
The City expects to lodge a development application this year and another community meeting will be held to discuss the refined designs. The City will also consult with the community on planning for the new pocket park and the possibility of a community garden.
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