As part of its Manly2015 Plan, Manly Council's notification to businesses in Whistler Street, Sydney Road and Central Avenue last week of its proposed staged closure of Sydney Road from Belgrave Street to The Corso, and the creation of a cul-de-sac at Central Avenue, was met with concern by affected retailers and apartment owners.
In the meantime, businesses and property owners in Raglan Street, including St Mary's Church and school, are challenging the Council over its current changes to Raglan Street, which include the removal of parking and the lack of a pedestrian crossing in this section of the street. (From Belgrave Street to the Steyne).
The Chamber of Commerce has written to Council requesting the delay of the proposed closure of Sydney Road from Belgrave to Whistler Street (which will become Gateway Plaza), because it would effectively cut off easy access to the existing Whistler Street car park. The Chamber stated that whilst in the past its members have supported the Gateway Plaza the current concept plans do not include the additional parking beneath Manly Oval. The concept concept therefore merely removes parking options and will ultimately increase congestion within the Manly CBD. The Chamber continues, however, to support the overall Manly2015 Plan and the building of a 760 space car park under Manly Oval.
According to Good for Manly Councillor, Candy Bingham, many of the proposed closures are premature.
"The final decisions to build a car park under the oval or to redevelop the Whistler Street car park site have not been made. Closing Sydney Road from Belgrave to Whistler street will simply add to traffic congestion and cause confusion to motorists visiting Manly and looking for parking. It's a crazy idea" , she said.
"With the spectre of an amalgamation hanging over their heads and the current Council term running out supposedly in September 2016, it would seem that those ruling the Council are determined to push through their controversial Manly2015 Plan, despite ongoing criticism of lack of consultation and transparency of the process", Clr Bingham added.
In summary the current Sydney Road project includes:
At present the council is proposing to commence work on closures of Sydney Road in October 2015 - right in the peak tourist time. Again, shop-keepers are not happy!
You can view the Council's plans for Sydney Road below:
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.