Rezoning to make way for 700 homes at Corrimal Cokeworks

Corrimal Cokeworks before it closed in 2013
Corrimal Cokeworks before it closed in 2013

A rezoning proposal to make way for around 700 homes on the old Corrimal cokeworks site has been lodged with Wollongong City Council.

The Illawarra Coke Company (ICC) on Wednesday lodged a planning proposal  for the 18 hectare site next to Corrimal railway station, which has been vacant since the cokeworks ceased production in 2014.

According to developers, their concept plan would “provide a range of low-rise housing types to deliver affordable and sustainable housing” which will include apartment buildings up to six storeys high, as well as townhouses and detached homes.

Illawarra Coke Company director Kate Strahorn said her company had worked closely with community groups over the past two years, to come up with a plan that would “transform Corrimal”.

Picture: Illawarra Coke Company.

Picture: Illawarra Coke Company.

Under the rezoning, 11 hectares of the old cokeworks site would become medium density residential land, while about 39 per cent of the site would be dedicated to green space.

This would include public parks and conservation land, as well as new pedestrian and cycle paths.

Redevelopment of the property would also include shops, childcare and cafés, which the developers say would “deliver more than twice the 25 full time jobs that the cokeworks property previously supported”.

“The development will offer neighbourhood and commuter services, but at a scale that does not detract from the Corrimal Town Centre,” they said.

The coking coal heritage of the site – which was the oldest continuous coke-making operation in the world when it closed – will be recognised by retaining heritage elements in a public plaza. 

ICC will also attempt to retain the historic brick chimney adjacent to the railway line

Before this proposal can go ahead, the rezoning plan will need to be considered by Wollongong council and the NSW Government.

If all goes well, developers hope to open it for public comment by mid-next year and finalise the rezoning by the end of 2018.

Cokeworks development ‘fantastic for the future of Corrimal’

The rezoning proposal has received the early tick of approval from some of the suburb’s community leaders.

Corrimal Revitalisation Action Group leader Valerie Hussain said the plan had included many of the items on residents’ “wishlist”, and had been designed to align with the council’s town centre plan.

“The concept design is sensitive and well thought out. [For example] I think the parking is quite unique, because it’s kind of underground but they’ve got recreation areas on top of the car park so it’s not actually seen,” Ms Hussain said.

“They’re also looking at alleviating flooding issues that existing residents have had, and putting in a walkway that would give access to the beach.”

“I don’t believe they will develop it to its absolute full potential – I think they held back a little bit because they wanted it to be a better design, and I think that’s great.”

Corrimal Chamber of Commerce president Paul Boultwood said the rezoning proposal would be “fantastic for the future of Corrimal”.

“We’re very happy that they have proposed to secure a couple of the coke ovens,” he said.

“It could look a bit like Sydney Park.”

Ms Strahorn said the overhaul of the site included a lot of “what’s important to the community”. 

“To be honest, this is a credit to them,” she said.

Ms Strahorn said measures like east-west connectivity, cycleways and paths and opening up the railway station with commuter shops like cafes, childcare and dry cleaners had been community suggested.

“Importantly, these things are low scale, because we’re certainly not advocating there being two town centres,” she said.

“We are also trying to address affordability and sustainability, so there’s a few apartments, townhouses, semi-detached housing and stand-alone houses.”