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Waverley Council Plans to Give Historic Charing Cross Village a Much Needed Makeover

By Nicola Smith on May 27, 2021 in News

A butcher’s shop in Charing Cross at 18 Leichhardt Street, Waverley back in 1885. This same address later became known as 256 Bronte Road and is currently the Waverley Post Office (feel free to fact check). Photo: Bill Simpson

The historic Charing Cross precinct will receive a facelift under a new plan from Waverley Council. A concept design of the plans was released on April 23 and Council is now seeking community feedback.
The project will include upgrades to the road and footpaths, transferring electrical cables underground, and introducing trees and on-street seating to the Waverley village centre.
It is expected that the works will begin in spring 2021 and take between 9-12 months to complete.
Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos told The Beast that consultation with businesses located in Charing Cross was a high priority for the council.
“Council officers have met with local businesses and will continue to work with them through consultation and into construction, which will be completed in stages to minimise the impact on business operations,” Mayor Masselos said.
Local businesses are welcoming the proposed upgrade, with many feeling it will particularly support restaurants and cafes along the strip. However, traffic and parking are key concerns for business owners, who hope these will be addressed under the proposed traffic study.
Ian Anderson, owner of Charing Cross Photo, said he feels that any upgrades to the shopping area will only be as good as the traffic management plan that comes with them.
“If I had one complaint it would be that there’s nowhere for people to park,” Mr Anderson told The Beast.
“Beautifying an area is one thing, but if they don’t manage the traffic and parking then it won’t help businesses.”
One popular idea is to transform the village centre into a pedestrian-friendly area similar to the recent temporary transformation of Coogee Bay Road or George Street in the city.
Waverley Council’s proposed changes will widen footpaths, introduce a second pedestrian crossing and turn the street into a 40 kilometre per hour zone.
Charing Cross has long been a focal point for the Waverley community, with the intersection of Bronte and Carrington Roads being given the name by Waverley Council back in 1859.
Residents may not realise that local fixtures such as the Charing Cross Hotel, Waverley Public School and Waverley Police Station have been in their current locations since the 1870s.
The area lost some vitality as a result of the Bondi Junction shopping precinct’s expansion but subsequently regained importance, particularly during the lockdowns of last year when many residents were seeking to avoid large shopping centres.
Mayor Masselos said that the continued invigoration of the centre, as well as heritage preservation, are also key aims of the project.
“Council’s consultant team includes a heritage expert who will work closely with the architect and Council officers to ensure the heritage nature of Charing Cross is preserved and that the design and materials used align with the heritage qualities of Charing Cross,” she explained.
While Charing Cross business owners and residents within close proximity were consulted by the council in 2020, another round of community consultation has opened for the wider public to participate in. To share your thoughts on the proposed upgrade, visit haveyoursay.waverley.nsw.gov.au.

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