WESTMEAD PLACE STRATEGY SETS COURSE FOR PREMIER HEALTH AND INNOVATION DISTRICT

Late last year the NSW Government released its vision for Westmead with its Draft Westmead Place Strategy which sets out a plan for the precinct to become the nation’s premier health and innovation district with leading researchers, entrepreneurs, health workers and students.

By, rwimmer 17/03/21

Tags: Business

Artist illustration of Westmead Health Precinct

Draft Westmead Place Strategy

Under the ambitious plans, the Westmead Precinct and the Parramatta CBD will play a strategic role at the core of the Central City District, connecting with the Harbour CBD to the east and the Western Sydney Aerotropolis to the west.

More than $8 billion will be invested in Parramatta’s next-door neighbour, including the government’s outlay in a Metro West station, light rail, University of Sydney campus, and Australia’s largest health precinct, supporting the influx of residents and 50,000 workers by 2036.

The NSW Government has identified Westmead as a precinct that can deliver sustainable economic growth and job creation with a strong focus on health care, medical research, education and training. It is already a hub for health services including Westmead Hospital, which is currently undergoing a $1 billion redevelopment.

As well as a place to work it will be a place to live and enjoy leisure activities with enhanced heritage and environmental assets, activated places, connected communities and housing choices.

THE CENTRAL RIVER CITY'S ROLE

As well as the specific focus on Westmead, the NSW Government sees greater Parramatta having a significant role in shaping the NSW economy centred on not only health, education, and research but also finance, business services and administration.

FUTURE VISION

The Draft Westmead Place Strategy identifies five big ideas that will enable the transformation from what is in place now, to the vision of what it will become by 2036.

  1. Drive change in the innovation eco-system to accelerate delivery of Australia’s premier health and innovation district. 
  2. Cherish and protect places of significance, conserve and revitalise heritage and cultural assets to create exceptional places. 
  3. Activate and connect our community with vibrant, diverse and well-connected public spaces and places. 
  4. Deliver high-quality and diverse housing for students, workers and professionals with optimal liveability outcomes.
  5. Capitalise on transport connectivity and reduce car dependency.

HEALTH

Under the Government’s Place Strategy, by 2036 the existing research and health facilities will attract even more researchers, clinicians and academics to the Westmead health precinct, which encompasses Westmead Hospital, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Cumberland Hospital, Westmead Private Hospital, the Westmead Institute for Medical Research, Children’s Medical Research Institute, Kids Research Institute, Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research, the University of Sydney and Western Sydney University.

Much of this work is already underway. In mid-2020, the construction of Westmead Hospital’s central acute service building was completed, housing 300 rooms and two emergency departments. The 14-storey building is the centrepiece of the $1 billion redevelopment and, once fully operational, will also house digital operating theatres, education, research and training facilities.

There has also been $619 million earmarked for stage two of The Children’s Hospital.

EDUCATION AND RESEARCH

The University of Sydney and the State Government have revealed plans to open a campus in the Westmead Health and Innovative District, on the grounds of the historic Cumberland Hospital site. The university expects to attract more than 25,000 students and 2,500 staff by 2055 and provide affordable student and staff accommodation.

Western Sydney University is developing a $350 million Innovative Quarter research and development centre, known as iQ. This new health research and commercial precinct in the heart of Westmead brings g the University’s total investment in Westmead to $700 million. It will become the home for Western Sydney University’s world-leading research institutes – the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development, the Translational Health Research Institute, and the NICM Health Research Institute.

The CSIRO will also be a tenant of iQ bringing world-leading research staff from its e-Health and Nutrition & Health programs. The new precinct will also accommodate the commercial sector with new A-Grade office space in the same complex, and is expected to generate 1,000 jobs.

Startup businesses in Parramatta will also benefit from the Westmead Innovation Hub. The NSW Government has recently announced it will establish a startup hub in the Parramatta North Heritage Core.

RETAIL, HOTEL AND RESIDENTIAL

Within iQ there will be an area dedicated to retail and dining with a curated selection of proposed cafés, restaurants, bars, and take-away food stores.

To work alongside the new health and education facilities, developers plan to build a 14-storey retail and residential complex at West Grove. It will include a 100-room Travelodge hotel.

In addition to the 100-room Travelodge Hotel, West Grove incorporates commercial space for healthcare businesses, specialists, and co-working providers; and a Woolworths metro-style fresh food supermarket, a hawker style food court, a tavern, courtyard cafes, and specialist retail.

It will also include more than 100 car spaces, along with end-of-trip facilities and electric vehicle charging stations.

The opening of West Grove is scheduled for late 2022, with the Travelodge Hotel opening early 2023.

The Government’s Draft Westmead Place Strategy also proposes to encourage an array of housing choices that include affordable options to meet the housing needs of the future community.

TRANSPORT

Westmead will be well serviced by an enhanced transport network system both existing and planned. It is already a major transport hub but the $2.4 billion Parramatta Light Rail and the Sydney West Metro will advance its connections to the region and wider Sydney.

The new 12 km light rail which is currently under construction begins at Westmead, where there are three stops — Westmead Light Rail, Westmead Hospital and Gurung (outside the Children’s Hospital). There will also be a stop in Parramatta North providing easy access to the expanded health and innovation precinct where the University of Sydney and the new Startup Hub will be located.

The new Metro West station where Westmead will be the first stop on the 25 km line that runs from Westmead to the Sydney CBD via Parramatta, Sydney Olympic Park, North Strathfield, Burwood North, Five Dock and The Bays.

As well as connecting customers to the Westmead health, education and employment hub, the new metro station would service residential areas experiencing growth and renewal in north and south Westmead.

The Draft Westmead Place Strategy is on exhibition till 31 March 2021, with the Government seeking feedback to help shape the future of Westmead. 

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