Throughout 2020, City of Parramatta Council sought your feedback twice in relation to Charles Street Square, the first time being on our designs for the proposed upgrades, and then secondly on our assessment of the environmental impacts of these upgrades (the Review of Environmental Factors or REF). Responding to feedback from the community and stakeholders, the design has been further refined and a Revised REF is being prepared.


The design for Charles Street Square was placed on public exhibition in March 2020. Following refinement of the design in response to community input, the proposal was endorsed by Council in May 2020. Project information including community feedback can be found on the Charles Street Square Draft Concept Design page.

Review of Environmental Factors (REF)

A REF is part of the planning process known as Part 5 under the EP&A Act. As part of the REF, the City of Parramatta was required to fully assess the potential environmental impacts of Charles Street Square both during construction and after completion.

The REF was placed on public exhibition in October 2020; it identified a range of environmental safeguards and mitigations to protect archaeology, preserve water quality, ensure flood resilience, maintain local habitat and respond to other potential environmental risks. Project information including the full REF and the community summary of the REF can be found in the resources section on this page.

The City of Parramatta reviewed feedback on the REF provided by the community and stakeholders including NSW Government agencies and utilities, and has made further refinements to the REF producing a Revised REF. The project is also directly liaising with relevant utilities to ensure all approvals are secured and that their requirements are incorporated into the site design and construction.

Revised REF

Responding to submissions, the City of Parramatta has made further refinements to the design for Charles Street Square and is updating the REF. The Revised REF notes that the recommendations of the Biodiversity Impact Statement will be implemented to protect existing site trees and manage sediment impacts on the adjacent Parramatta River to protect fish habitats.

What we heard and our response?

Based on responses to the REF, City of Parramatta has:

  • amended the design to include more cycle parking hoops. The design now allows for parking for 24 bikes with three parking hoops installed at the upper square and nine in the Garden Terrance
  • confirmed where access is permitted via a right of easement on an adjacent property; removable bollards will be installed as part of the design to protect the square from general vehicle traffic while facilitating permissible access for property owners.

The City of Parramatta is committed to creating a safe construction site and will install clearly signposted safe detour routes for pedestrians and cyclists when required.

A construction traffic management plan will be implemented to mitigate the impacts of construction traffic movements to and from the site.

The Revised REF will soon be uploaded to the resources section on this page (available mid-January 2021).

Questions or concerns?

For further information, please contact the Charles Street Square project team on 1300 617 058 or via email at


Click and slide the arrows to reveal how Charles Street Square is changing!

Before: After:

Frequently Asked Questions

Charles Street Square, at Parramatta Quay, is where people who travel to our city along the Parramatta River first arrive. Situated at a unique place where the fresh water of the Parramatta River meets the salt water of Sydney Harbour, it is a place of great cultural significance and an important public place that connects the river and our city.

Upgrading Charles Street Square is an important step in the development of Parramatta Quay, which is part of the long term planned transformation of the Parramatta City River foreshore. Located at the head of the harbour, Parramatta Quay will be the river gateway to Parramatta’s CBD, complementing Circular Quay.

A review of environmental factors (REF) is a document that is prepared to demonstrate due diligence and comply with the requirements of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act (1979). Typically, it applies to construction activities which do not require consent under the act. Instead, the proponent (in this case, the City of Parramatta) must clearly demonstrate it has identified all environmental impacts of the proposal, along with mitigation measures to minimise those impacts. The REF needs to be appropriate to the nature and scale of the proposal, and often draws on specialist studies to reach a conclusion on the nature and extent of impacts and mitigations.

An independent planner was commissioned to prepare this REF. The planner integrated the advice and findings of all specialist designers and engineers who prepared the design for the upgrade and associated works. This was supplemented by reports commissioned for the project from heritage specialists, archaeologists and ecologists.

The City of Parramatta is committed to implementing the mitigations and safeguards identified in the REF.

It is anticipated work on Charles Street Square will begin mid-2021 and be completed in around 12 months.

Access to local businesses will be retained throughout the construction of Charles Street Square. Pedestrian access to the riverfront will be maintained where possible.

Further consultation with Transdev, operator of the ferries for Transport NSW, will be undertaken as part of detailed construction planning. At this stage, it is anticipated the majority of this work can be completed whilst keeping ferry operations functioning. Closures or impacts will be minimised and if there is a period of impact to ferry operations, a replacement bus service will be provided.

Accessibility and Translations

Council is committed to making sure everyone can access the information they need in a format that is right for them. If you would you like information supplied in another language or format, contact Council's Community Engagement Team on 1300 617 058 or at

If you have accessibility concerns, please contact the National Relay Service at and provide them with the City of Parramatta contact number, 1300 617 058.