A master plan to capitalise on a potential $1 billion locked in Parramatta’s heritage sites was announced by Premier Barry O’Farrell on the weekend.
The plan to refurbish and adapt historical sites including the Female Factory, Old King’s School, Roman Catholic Orphan School and Parramatta jail, would see them used for commercial, cultural and residential purposes.
Mr O’Farrell said he had backed the plan after it was brought to his attention by Parramatta state MP Geoff Lee.
‘‘Parramatta is the centre of much of Australia’s European and commercial history,’’ he said.
‘‘Dr Geoff Lee has consistently advocated for a co-ordinated approach to guide the development of the Parramatta Heritage Precinct.
‘‘So I am delighted to tell you that we have given the green light to developing a master plan for public-owned sites within Parramatta, a move which will maximise the area’s heritage, social and cultural spaces and inject over $1 billion into the precinct. ''
Dr Lee said the Premier had not yet pledged a specific dollar figure for the master plan but he hoped it would be finished in the next 12 to 20 months.
He expected it would be funded using some of the $4.9 million from the sale of 12 per cent of the Old King’s School to the Catholic Church.
Dr Lee said the plan would set out a strategy for the ‘‘adaptive reuse’’ of the heritage sites for commercial and residential purposes.
‘‘I think that provides a very unique difference for tourism in Parramatta,’’ he said.
‘‘So all of a sudden (Parramatta) can be known as the Cradle City or something.
‘‘(Tourists) can go to the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and Rocks then out to Parramatta and the Blue Mountains.’’
The plan received bipartisan support from Parramatta’s federal Labor MP Julie Owens.
‘‘This is fantastic news,’’ she said.
‘‘I have been bringing together stakeholders who have a vested interest in the precinct for many years, highlighting the need for a master plan.
‘‘It’s fantastic that the state government has taken up the task.’’
Sites covered by the master plan include:
- The Old Kings School Site
- Parramatta Jail
- Parramatta Stadium
- Parramatta Park
- The Female Factory (Norma Park Centre)
- The Old Catholic Orphanage
- Other buildings on the Cumberland Hospital site