Following months of discussion between the NSW Government and Wingecarribee Shire Council about setting up a formal process for the sale of Berrima Gaol, Council wrote to the NSW Government on 15 October 2021.
Council has made this letter available to the Association and is reproduced here for your information.
Council was concerned that the community be fully consulted about its views about the future use of the site and that Council should develop its strategic planing principles for the site before the the property was listed for sale.
As detailed in the letter below, Wingecarribee Shire Council proposed a 3 step process whereby this information would be available to the marketplace before any sale was announced so that all potential developers were fully aware of Council’s heritage and planning controls that would affect any future development of the site and that that all potential purchasers were fully aware of the community’s expectation for the future of the site.
15 October 2021
Ms Wendy Tuckerman, MP
Member for Goulburn
15 October 2021
Ms Wendy Tuckerman, MP
Member for Goulburn
Dear Mrs Tuckerman,
Sale of Berrima Gaol – Expression of Interest Process
I am writing to seek your assistance in relation to the proposed sale of the Berrima Gaol and in particular, would appreciate if you were able to facilitate a meeting with the Hon. Melinda Pavey, Minister for Water, Property and Housing.
As outlined at the meeting held on 7 October 2021, with the Interim Administrator, Mr Viv May and myself, the local Berrima community have raised significant concerns with the Interim Administrator.
Council is keen to see a collaborative approach to the sale of the Berrima Gaol, in particular the active involvement of Council and the community in the creation of a community led vision for the site that can be used in the EOI process that Property and Development will be undertaking. This approach has a number of benefits for the State Government, the community of Wingecarribee and prospective proponents.
Property and Development NSW are preparing to sell the Berrima Gaol for adaptive reuse, through an open-ended expression of interest (EOI) process. As you would be aware, the gaol is recognised as one of the oldest gaols on mainland Australia outside of Sydney, is both a State and local significant heritage item, contributes strongly to the character of the Berrima village, and is highly valued by the Wingecarribee community.
Council shares the community’s concerns about an open-ended EOI process and am seeking your support to prepare a community led strategic vision for the precinct to better inform and frame the EOI process.
I am confident that this process would provide significant benefits to both the NSW Government and the local community by:
- Providing greater certainty to Council and the community about the future use of the site
- Providing greater certainty to proponents involved in the EOI process without limiting themarkets ability to identify future opportunities for the site, and
- Significantly increasing the value of the site by reducing the risk for proponents
I am also confident that this process could be completed within three (3) months and would not result in unnecessary delays in the sale of the land. Council is willing commit to funding 50% of the work to develop the community-led strategic vision for the precinct, as it will result in improved outcomes for the Wingecarribee community.
Existing Planning Framework
The subject land is currently zoned SP1 Correction Centre under the Wingecarribee Local Environmental Plan 2010, meaning the only permissible uses on the are site are Correctional Centre and Aquaculture.
The current zoning presents a significant risk to potential purchases of the site, who will be reliant on a Planning Proposal to enable any adaptive re-use of the Gaol. The risk associated with the Planning Proposal process is likely to significantly reduce the value of the site, without a clearer framework of what Council and the community would envision for the site.
Proposed Way Forward
Council is seeking to work with Property and Development NSW and the Berrima community to develop a community-led strategic vision for the site / precinct, to help frame the expression of interest process.
It is anticipated that this process would involve three key steps which are outlined below:
1. Strategic and Contextual Analysis
A strategic and contextual analysis would provide a sound understanding of the strategic context for the site, including established priorities outlined in the Community Strategic Plan, Local Strategic Planning Statement and the Southern Highlands Destination Strategy. It would also provide a better understanding of the heritage significance of the site and surrounding precinct.
This analysis would also consider local character, land use, movement networks, vegetation and landscaping, infrastructure and built form characteristics (i.e. scale and materiality) to help inform potential development outcomes on the site.
2. Developing a Community Led Strategic Vision (consultation)
Consultation with the local community and stakeholders would be used to develop a strategic vision for the precinct, including identifying key principles, opportunities and threats for the site.
3. Documenting the Strategic Vision
The strategic and contextual analysis, as well as the strategic vision for the precinct would be documented to form part of the EOI process.
I anticipate that this collaborative approach will identify key planning priorities that will help shape the future use of the heritage significant gaol, provide certainty to proponents, build confidence in the community, and deliver a better outcome for the NSW Government and Wingecarribee community.
As outlined above, it is expected that this process could be completed within three (3) months and could occur while the EOI documentation is being prepared, so would not result in unnecessary delays.
I appreciate you taking the time to consider Council’s request and would welcome the opportunity to meet with yourself and Minister Pavey, to discuss the matter further.
We look forward to working with you to deliver a positive outcome for all involved. If you require any additional information I can be contacted on (02) 4868 0714 or via email email@example.com