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April 17 – Strathfield Council demands access to ACU records

17 April 2012

Strathfield Council, which received a silent reply from the Australian Catholic University, is now demanding access to the university’s records.

The Australian Catholic University was given until last Tuesday, 10 April, to respond to Council’s request to cease and desist any use of the site that is in breach of the consent provided, in regards to student numbers.

Facing an uncooperative university, Strathfield Mayor, Councillor Paul Barron said Council has no choice but to push the matter forward.

“We are very disappointed with the non-response from the university. We demand transparency and access to the university’s records, which will once and for all lay the facts out in the open,” he said.

“This issue affects the wellbeing of our residents, so it is a serious matter. If the university doesn’t cooperate we’ll take legal action as that would be in the best interest of residents,” he added.

Current consent necessitates that ACU enrolments, for the main campus, shall not exceed 1,100 by day or 700 by night, at any one time. It also states that at no one time shall the university permit more than 510 students to be present on the site during the day or more than 247 at night. The Edward Clancy campus’ student numbers are not to exceed a maximum of 240 at any given time.

Adding to the existing tension between the university and the local community, on Friday, 6 April, the ACU lodged a DA under crown lands for the development of an underground carpark. This submission comes just as the university’s contested $55 million redevelopment plan, opposed by Council and local residents, awaits a decision from the Planning Assessment Commission.

“The university’s development application is very provocative in the current climate,” Councillor Barron said.

“The requested increase in car spaces would be vastly insufficient in resolving the issue of our already dangerously over-parked streets,” he added.

Strathfield Council has made a submission requesting that the university’s concept plan be rejected on the principles that it would create an unsustainable increase in student numbers and intolerable impact on traffic, parking, the heritage landscape and character of the area.

The Planning Assessment Commission has also received 627 submissions and this indicates the level of public concern generated by the university’s concept plan.