194-214 Oxford Street & 2 Nelson Street, Bondi Junction

In 2019, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, upon the recommendation from the Independent Planning Commission (IPC), approved a Planning Proposal to upzone 194–214 Oxford Street and 2 Nelson Street, Bondi Junction.

As strong opponents to this proposal, Council sought legal advice to appeal this approval, which found there is no avenue available to review the merits of this decision and that a challenge would have to be based on a legal or process error which would not be easy to demonstrate especially considering the wide discretion conferred on the Minister. As such, Council determined not to proceed with legal action.

The Planning Proposal

The Planning Proposal was to increase the maximum height of buildings on the sites from 15 to 36 metres, increase the floor space ratio from 1.5:1 to 3.5:1 and to remove the heritage listing from four terrace houses. Council twice refused the proposal on the basis that the development is excessively large, will result in overdevelopment of the side, may set a precedent for adjoining sites seeking additional height and floor space, and that it is not in the public interest.

Despite Council’s continued requests to DPIE and the NSW Minister of Planning for refusal, the proposal was approved and gazetted on 20 September 2019.

Community Consultation 2020

Council exhibited the Site Specific Development Control Plan (DCP) for the sites between 5 February to 10 April 2020. This included controls relating to built form, design excellence, public domain and waste. Feedback on what the $7.45 million Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) contribution should be used on was also sought during this exhibition.

The Site Specific DCP was adopted by Council on 1 September 2020. The VPA feedback was used to inform the drafting of the VPA document.

Development Application

A Development Application (DA-400/2021) for the sites was granted a Deferred Commencement Consent by the Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel on 18 August 2022, becoming operative upon entering into a Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) for the value of $7.45 million, consisting of a $6.3 million monetary contribution and physical public works valued at $1.15 million.

Community Consultation 2023 and Next Steps

The terms of a draft VPA document are currently being negotiated between the applicant and Council, in accordance with Council’s Planning Agreement Policy 2014. Once the draft is agreed, it will be placed on public exhibition where community feedback on the draft terms and what the monetary contribution is being proposed for will be sought. This feedback will inform any post-exhibition changes to the draft VPA, which will be considered by Council for endorsement thereafter. Once endorsed by Council, the VPA can be entered into and the DA consent can become operative.

Council's role in stopping overdevelopment

Although Council was not able to stop the Planning Proposal from being approved and gazetted, Council is still very much committed to protecting Bondi Junction and ensuring this does not become the precedent for future Planning Proposals in this area. Council resolved in October 2019 to seek the support of the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces to investigate the preparation of a State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) to protect Centennial Park from the potential of future development adversely affecting its aesthetic and heritage significance. The Waverley Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS) also outlines how this area will be managed in the future, the LSPS is available on Council’s website.

Want updates?

Subscribe to Waverley Weekly
Subscribe now