Council rejects planning proposal for Charing Square 

7 April 2022

Council has unanimously rejected a planning proposal to amend the Waverley Local Environmental Plan 2012 in respect of 203–231 Bronte Road and 94–98 Carrington Road, Waverley (the Charing Square planning proposal).

The Charing Square Planning Proposal (PP) had sought to amend the Waverley Local Environmental Plan 2012.

It was on public exhibition from 6 December 2021 to 6 February 2022 and of the 104 submissions received within this timeframe, 102 objected to allowing this planning proposal.   Council officers took the community feedback into consideration when preparing the recommendation to Council which was voted on in March.

“Charing Cross is one of the oldest high streets in Sydney and is within the Charing Cross Heritage Conservation Zone. It is important that any development which occurs in this area is sympathetic and respects the planning instruments” said Mayor Paula Masselos.

The proposal sought to increase the maximum permissible floor space ratio (FSR) and the maximum permissible height of buildings (HOB) on each of the six sites as explained here. The planning proposal also included additional sites that did not have landowner permission to be included. This meant that site to be developed was not considered to be strategically significant, hence its refusal.

The unanimous decision of Council last month was as follows:

That Council:

1. Does not support the planning proposal to amend the Waverley Local Environmental Plan 2012 in respect of 203–231 Bronte Road and 94–98 Carrington Road, Waverley for the following reasons:

(a) Primarily the proposal lacks strategic merit:

(i) It does not align with the Council endorsed Our Liveable Places Centres Strategy, which identifies that any LEP floor space ratio or height increase is inappropriate for the Charing Cross centre.

(ii) The site is too small to warrant strategic merit—only one landowner (the proponent) supports this planning proposal, with the other three landowners not supportive, meaning this planning proposal effectively only applies to the Whitten Family land. This was a key reason the State Planning Panel refused the original planning proposal and the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) and the community have also raised this matter.

(b) The proposal also lacks site-specific merit regarding the following matters, which are considered to be secondary issues:

(i) Heritage disruption: the general scale is inappropriate for the Charing Cross Heritage Minutes of Council Meeting 15 March 2022 This is page 17 of the Minutes of the Ordinary Council Meeting held on 15 March 2022 Conservation Area.

(ii) Waste, parking and traffic Issues: the management of these issues is significantly affected by the lack of a single, coordinated development across all sites subject to this planning proposal.

(iii) Residential amenity Issues: overshadowing, visual bulk, noise, view loss and overlooking are concerns for neighbours.

(iv) Staging issues: other landowners affected by the proposal are strongly against the proposal. As such, it is unlikely that the redevelopment of all sites would occur and that the proposed public benefits of a large and functional public square and through site link would be delivered.

(c) Despite highlighting the aforementioned reasons numerous times with the proponent throughout the post-Gateway determination process, there was little to no co-operation on these issues and no amendments made to the scheme. Any deferral or further extension of time will not resolve the strategic merit issue and is also unlikely to resolve site-specific merit issues.

2. Notes the submissions received during public exhibition from the community and agencies.

3. Exercises the delegations issued by the Minister under section 3.36 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and decide not to make the proposed local environmental plan.

Division For the Motion: Crs Burrill, Fabiano, Goltsman, Gray, Kay, Keenan, Lewis, Masselos, Murray and Wy Kanak. Against the Motion: Nil.

It should be noted that a developer can continue to lodge planning proposals to Council and Council is obligated to review and determine these proposals as they are received.


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