Lindfield Village Hub FAQs - June 2018

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 Ku-ring-gai Council has put together this summary of the issues raised in the community about the Lindfield Village Hub project.

Basic information about the project

Where is the Village Hub site?

The Lindfield Village Hub site is a large site located on the Woodford Lane Car Park on the west side central Lindfield.

What is proposed for the site?

When completed, the Village Hub will transform the area into an attractive and dynamic urban village and be an important factor in stimulating the local economy.  The project will deliver a carefully planned mix of community buildings, public spaces, housing, retail and parking facilities and will include

  • A new Lindfield branch library
  • A new community centre
  • An underground supermarket with high quality retail shops
  • Residential apartment buildings
  • A large public park
  • A town square with restaurants and cafes
  • Basement car parking for commuters, visitors, residents and shoppers.

When can we expect the development to be completed?

The development is expected to be completed between 2023 and 2024.

Is the Lindfield Village Green different to the Lindfield Village Hub?

Yes. The Lindfield Village Green and the Lindfield Village Hub are separate parts of the redevelopment project called Activate Lindfield.

The Lindfield Village Green on the eastern side of Lindfield Centre will transform the existing Council-owned car park at Tryon Road into a new open space public space with parking underneath in a three level basement car park.

Lindfield Village Green, the smaller of the two projects, is further advanced than the Village Hub. The Council is awaiting development approval for the Village Green Project and expect to have this granted by August 2018, with construction starting next year. The Village Green will be complete by 2021.

For more information visit Lindfield Village Green webpage

The project process and terminology

What is an EOI?

An Expression of Interest (EOI) is a formal public process to identify and engage with interested suppliers for a particular category of works.  The intention of an EOI is to determine if the market is capable and interested in delivering the works. 

What does it mean when you say the project should be ‘self-funding’?

The Lindfield Village Hub will require that both capital costs (construction and fit out) and operating costs – including their service delivery, maintenance, depreciation and renewal costs – do not place a future financial burden on ratepayers or the Council itself. This requirement is referred to as ‘self-funding’.

What does mixed use development mean?

Mixed use land or development enables a range of uses including residential, commercial, and industrial. This is achieved by co-locating uses in an integrated way that supports sustainable forms of transport such as public transport, walking and cycling. It aims to be a development where people can live, shop, eat and relax.

What is a USP?

A USP or an Unsolicited Proposal is an approach to government from a proponent to deal directly over a commercial proposition, where the government has not requested the proposal. This may include proposals to build and/or finance infrastructure, provide goods or services or undertake a major commercial transaction.

More information on USP is available here

What is the difference between an EOI and USP?

An EOI is part of a competitive tender process prescribed by the Section 55 of the Local Government Act 1993. A USP is a form of direct assessment of a single proponent submission.

What is a Masterplan?

A master plan is document that outlines a vision to guide the development of a centre. It isn’t a detailed design. It sets out how a site can be developed and is a high level plan intended to set out objectives and strategies to manage development on the site.

Questions relating to the Woolworths unsolicited proposal

Doesn’t the Woolworths proposal have no cost to ratepayers?

The Council has not yet released detailed financial requirements and development objectives for bidders to consider and therefore any pre-emptive proposal cannot address these requirements

Doesn’t the Woolworths proposal deliver everything the community wants?

Woolworths is primarily concerned with the retail aspect of the project. The project comprises a mix of residential living opportunities, community spaces and buildings, including a new library, community centre and open space.  It will also include new retail outlets and other businesses, as well as a range of eateries.

We need to be satisfied that the winning bid delivers every aspect of the project – not just retail in the form of a supermarket. Accepting an unsolicited bid from one party without testing the market first is unlikely to deliver the best outcomes for the Ku-ring-gai community.

Woolworths will have the same opportunity as other potential bidders to compete for the project when the Council calls for expressions of interest.

Won’t accepting the Woolworths proposal now fast track the project?

An open market tender process will take around the same amount of time as it will to enter into exclusive negotiations with Woolworths and is a much more certain path for Council to take.

If Council enters into exclusive negotiations with Woolworths it carries a risk of delaying the project by a year or more for two reasons:

  1. If Woolworths are unable or unwilling to meet Councils financial requirements after a period of exclusive negotiation we will be forced to start again and go to an open tender process inviting other developers to bid on the project, effectively starting again.  This could add another 12 months to when a contract is awarded.
  2. The Office of Local Government may not approve exclusive negotiations with Woolworths which could force Council to take the project to open tender, at a later time.  Legal advice has suggested it is unlikely NSW Government approval would be granted to enter into an unsolicited proposal process with Woolworths as there are insufficient grounds for such a proposal to be considered unique and not able to be delivered by other developers. 

An open market tender process (that includes Woolworths) is a more certain path to secure a developer, as a competitive process conducted now will deliver the best offers from the market for Council to choose from.  It also removes the risk of a false start by negotiating directly with Woolworths, and having to start again if negotiations fail or the NSW Government does not grant approval to negotiate directly with Woolworths. 

Will Woolworths be able to submit an EOI?

Yes. It will be an open EOI to the development market.

Why didn’t Council consider the USP from Woolworths?

Council is preparing to undertake a competitive tender process for Lindfield Village Hub project. It has therefore been advised that it should not consider any USP at the same time as it is likely to jeopardise the process, particularly where a USP approach is made in connection with an existing project such as this, and submitted by a proponent who may participate in the forthcoming competitive tender process. 

Project progress and issues arising

Most recent Council decision

Council considered the report Lindfield Village Hub Update on 26 June 2018.

The purpose of the report was to update Council on the status of procurement planning for the Lindfield Village Hub (Project) and provide recommendations on the method and timing of procurement activities to deliver the Project.

Council Resolved (Moved: Councillors Ngai/Szatow):

  1. That Council acknowledges that it is not feasible to proceed with the adopted masterplan which has a FSR of 1.3:1.
  2. That Council has yet to agree on or endorse any updated FSR or height requirements for the project, and acknowledges that there is a delicate balance between a self-funding project with greater FSR versus a more financially onerous project with lower FSR that may require other sources of funds to cover lifecycle costs. The discussion on FSR's will take place in a subsequent council meeting.
  3. That Council pursue an Expression of Interest (EOI) from the market in or around October 2018, for the development of the Lindfield Village Hub.
  4. That the requirements of the development of the Lindfield Village Hub, including council’s preferred financial and above ground density requirements, will be confirmed in a meeting of Council prior to the release of the EOI.
  5. That it is the hope of Council that during a competitive EOI and Request for Detailed Proposals (RDFP) process where each developer or consortium of developers is seeking to come out on top, each group will come up with creative, innovative and tasteful solutions to deliver maximum benefit to the community. During this competitive process, Council will request developers to provide potential solutions to delivering a pedestrian bridge as well as their feedback on how to potentially achieve Council’s preferred financial and above ground density requirements.
  6. That during the EOI process, Councillors will be provided with the full submissions of all parties who have expressed interest in participating in the Lindfield Village Hub project. With this full set of information, it is the Councillors who will then decide which of the submissions should be shortlisted, and the shortlisting should take place before the end of this year.
  7. That Council does not consider any Unsolicited Proposal during the competitive tender process being undertaken for the Lindfield Village Hub.

For more information about Council's decision access the Minutes.

Why is it taking so long to achieve the Hub?

Council acknowledges that it seems this project is taking a long time to deliver. However, according to industry standards for a development of this size, the Council is on track. Some comparable examples; Green Square – constructed after 30 years; Crows Nest – constructed after 10 years; Parramatta Civic Centre – in construction after 20 years, fully complete in 30 years; Double Bay Kiaora Lane redevelopment– constructed after 20 years.
Construction on the Lindfield Village Green on the eastern side of Lindfield centre will begin next year which will deliver further positive benefits to the local community.

What are Council’s financial requirements for the project and when can the public see them?

The financial requirements are commercially sensitive information.  Early release of these may jeopardise the project and give an unfair advantage to one party over another. Council’s financial requirements will be made available to the elected Council following completion of EOI and before releasing detailed bid documents to the market. Due to the commercially sensitive nature of this information it is possible that public will not see these documents, at least not until after the completion of the project.

Why does Council use terms like commercially and legally sensitive, probity, commercial in confidence etc as reasons not to be fully transparent about the project?

A project of this size and value needs to have controls in place to ensure ratepayer's money is managed carefully and that risk is mitigated. Council works very closely with its legal and probity advisors to ensure a fair process is in place for the best project outcomes. Council’s aim is to be as transparent about the project and its decisions and releases as much information as it is able.

Do we need more retail in Lindfield?

Market testing undertaken by Council indicates that there is demand for increased retail in Lindfield. As the project progresses, Council will consult with the community about retailing on the site. It will also capture ideas for alternative and innovative uses. These could be an extended education facility, a healthcare precinct, a co-working business centre - to name a few.  Retailing can bring activation and amenity to any area but also traffic congestion.  These environmental impacts need to be considered in context with the surrounding local centre.

How will traffic be managed if both Coles, the Lindfield Village Hub and the Lindfield Village Green are being constructed at the same time?

Each appointed contractor will have to submit a transport and traffic plan to the Council for review and approval. These are not reviewed in isolation, but take into account all the disruption and changes in the area, current and proposed. No construction can begin until each plan is approved and a certificate is issued.

How does the tender process deliver a pedestrian bridge for the Village Hub?

As part of the process, proponents will be requested to provide an approach to delivering or funding a pedestrian bridge. These approaches will be evaluated by Council as part of the selection criteria for the project.

How can we be sure Council will have the right resources to manage this development and keep it on track?

A new unit in the Council was established earlier this year, called the Major Projects Group.  Experienced and qualified staff and other resources are being recruited and utilised as projects reach milestones that require them.  This ensures Council costs are managed to match project requirements.  
Recruitment of independent members of the community to form a Major Projects Advisory Committee is underway.  This Committee will consist of 3 to 5 experts in large scale development and construction.

Why isn’t the Council listening to the community?

The Council has consulted the community at important stages of the project and will continue to do so. Starting in August this year, residents will be asked their views on what they would like the public spaces and buildings to be used for and the types of businesses they would like to see in the Hub.

As part of the formal planning process led by Council for the Hub, public feedback will be sought on housing densities, parking and traffic management.

Why is the Council is excluding the community from important decisions on the project?

The Lindfield Community Reference Committee has been established and the first meeting is scheduled within the next 3 weeks.  The committee comprises Councillors and the Mayor, senior Council staff, community members, and State agencies such as RMS and Transport for NSW. The committee will meet regularly and provide an important link for information about the project to the public.

How can I have my say?

Council will be talking to community about this project from August. There will be many opportunities for the community to have a say about what you want to see in the open space, library, community space and overall look and feel of the Lindfield Village Hub.
Information will be in your letterbox, on social media and on Council’s website. There will also be  opportunities to talk to Council face to face.

Contact us

For more information about the project please contact activatelindfield@kmc.nsw.gov.au or 9424 0000.