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    Approval delays threaten arts hub project

    Delays in the approval process may derail the proposed Marrickville arts hub in Sydney’s inner west with the developer threatening to pull out from the project.

    Danias Holdings, which owns the Marrickville site (formerly a timber storage yard), sought to build a 500-artist hub that would turn Sydney’s inner west into the creative arts capital of Australia. Five years after the initial proposal, with the Inner West Council yet to approve the project, the developer will soon decide whether to abandon the art hub plans, put the site back to industrial use or sell off the land to the highest bidder.

    Danias’ $50 million proposal for the arts precinct included constructing three new buildings to offer 13,000sqm of working space for artists and creatives from the digital, TV and video industries.

    The council has now decided to put the plan back on formal public exhibition. Danias’ development application has received 23 letters of support and two objections.

    Inner West mayor councillor Darcy Byrne blamed the rezoning of the larger Victoria Road Precinct containing the proposed hub as well as the confusion created by the amalgamation of councils for the delay in processing the development application. He also hoped that the developer wouldn’t withdraw from the project, as the council worked to expedite the process.

    However, this process could further delay the project. Sean Macken, a planning consultant for Danias says they have already given the council legal advice, which would allow the hub to be approved without the Development Control Plan or the Voluntary Planning Agreement. However, the council insisted on taking the long and slow process. Consequently, the council hasn’t been able to give the developer a timeframe or even an assurance that the project will be approved, leading to uncertainty.

    Councillor Victor Macri, who is keen to see the project get off the ground, believes that the creative hub will be great for Marrickville. Observing that the proposal has faced continuous resistance from council staff, he adds that it is now back on track.

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