Have Your Say about the Uniting War Memorial Hospital site

12 November 2021

Waverley Council is inviting the community to provide feedback about the War Memorial Hospital Birrell Street Planning Proposal (PP).

A planning proposal is a document that explains the intended effect of a proposed local environmental plan (LEP) and sets out the justification for making that plan. LEPs provide a framework for the way land is used and are the main planning tool to ensure local development is done appropriately.

The objective of the public exhibition is to inform the community about the proposed changes to planning controls on the site and to seek feedback and community input on these proposed changes as well as a requirement for affordable housing.

The Birrell Street Planning Proposal applies to properties fronting Birrell Street at 99-117 Birrell Street and seeks to apply the similar planning controls outlined in the Campus Planning Proposal to the remainder of the site, with an additional requirement for affordable housing to be provided as part of any redevelopment of the site.

The Campus Planning Proposal encompassed the properties surrounding 99-117 Birrell Street, on the block bound by Bronte Road, Birrell Street, Carrington Road and Church Street. The Campus Planning Proposal has now been finalised and the amendments to the Waverley LEP were gazetted on 27 October 2021.

The image below provides an overview of the locations which the different Planning Proposals applied to:

For the past four years, Uniting has sought to amend the planning controls that apply to the War Memorial Hospital site. Council officers have been working with the organisation to understand their reasons for wanting to change the way the land can be used and the impact these changes may have on any future development of the site.

The Planning Proposal will be accompanied by a site-specific Development Control Plan (DCP) which will apply to this site and surrounding the War Memorial Hospital Campus Site. A draft site-specific DCP was exhibited earlier in 2021 and the feedback provided by the community during the exhibition period and Elected Members at the August Council meeting is currently being reviewed by Council Officers.

It should be noted that any specific proposed future development for the site would be subject to a standard development application (DA) process.

Information regarding the proposed changes is available on Council’s Have Your Say Page, haveyoursay.waverley.nsw.gov.au. The consultation is open until 22 December 2021.

-ENDS-

Background to the Campus Planning Proposal (the first planning proposal):

  • In July 2017, Uniting lodged a planning proposal [the Campus Planning Proposal] with the Council for the War Memorial Hospital site.
  • Council did not support the PP for reasons including the bulk and scale of the proposal, the impacts upon the significant heritage and environmental qualities of the site, and the uncertainty over the future use of the site
  • Uniting subsequently submitted two further amended proposals to Council over a period of 18 months. The final submission was reported to the Waverley Local Planning Panel (WLPP) and Council in April and May of 2019, both of which supported an alternate scheme with a significantly reduced height and FSR, which was submitted to the DPIE in May 2019.
  • In March 2019, Uniting lodged a Rezoning Review with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) to review the determination by Council.
  • The Sydney Eastern City District Panel unanimously determined at the Rezoning Review that the original proposal should not be submitted for a Gateway Determination* due to the same concerns raised by Council officers, the WLPP and Council.  Gateway determination’ is approval by the DPIE for a PP to proceed to public exhibition.
  • In 2020, the DPIE made the Gateway determination that the alternate PP could proceed to public exhibition. The PP was placed on public exhibition for 6 weeks from 20 May 2021 – 4 July 2021
  • The findings of the public exhibition were reported to Council on 17 August 2021, and the recommendations endorsed at the Council Meeting, alongside the relevant feedback and findings of the public exhibition, were forwarded to the DPIE for their review. The report presented to Council is available here and the minutes can be viewed here.
  • With regards to heritage items on the site: Waverley Council acknowledges the potential of the War Memorial Hospital for State Heritage Listing and strongly believes that the site meets the threshold for State Heritage significance, having previously nominated the heritage items for listing on the State Heritage Register.
  • Nevertheless, Heritage NSW, has advised that the War Memorial Hospital site whilst meeting the threshold for State Significance, is not a priority and it will not be progressed for State Heritage Register listing.
  • Waverley Council asked Heritage NSW to reconsider its position but received the response that the site is not a priority because the heritage values of the site are adequately protected through its inclusion in the Waverley LEP
  • The Council maintains that the War Memorial Hospital should be a priority to be reconsidered and listed on the State Heritage Register. The listing of the item as a State Heritage Item would make any future development subject to a more stringent development assessment process.
  • With regards to seniors housing, Council resolved in August 2021 that any development control plan (DCP) for the site consider options for rehousing existing residents in a sensitive and considered way, including giving preference to existing residents in the future development as well as discussing the potential inclusion of social impact mitigation provisions
  • Waverley Council’s Waverley Local Housing Strategy 2020-2036 identifies that planning for seniors housing is an important consideration as the demand for aged care continues to grow.
  • The population in Waverley aged over 65 years is projected to increase by 38% by 2036 to around 8,800 residents [p34]. This represents 11% of the projected population. With this increase, the need for additional community health and aged care services and seniors’ residential facilities in the LGA is likely to increase.

Media inquiries: media@waverley.nsw.gov.au or 0416 075 532.