Waverley Council considers new way of tackling overdevelopment

16 March 2022

In a first for NSW local government, Waverley Council is investigating the establishment of a community planning advocate to help tackle overdevelopment.

The role of the advocate would be to undertake awareness programs for residents about planning matters and conduct regular consultation about the cumulative impacts of overdevelopment.

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, is behind the push for an advocate, with Councilors last month unanimously adopting a Mayoral Minute to investigate the matter further.

“Overdevelopment is changing the nature of our built environment and destroying much of the heritage values that makes Waverley unique,” Mayor Masselos said.

“Ongoing and unabated numbers of planning proposals and development applications associated with large high-rise buildings are being submitted to Council and there has been a subsequent increase in organised resident groups objecting to these applications.

“Schools are at capacity, our roads are congested and parking increasingly difficult. Residents are increasingly turning to council for assistance in understanding the planning process, and that’s where an advocate would come in.”

Consultation about the cumulative impacts of overdevelopment would include:

  • collecting metrics and lived experience of residents, businesses and the community more broadly
  • assist in developing a comprehensive picture of the cumulative impact of development, large-scale developments and over development
  • provide quantitative and qualitative data to assist the officers when assessing DAs and planning proposal or when advocating at the Land and Environment Court, Waverley Local Planning Panel or the Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel
  • provide several other benefits.

It would also consider how overdevelopment can contribute to alienation, loneliness, isolation, wellbeing, lack of social contact, noise and unauthorised works.

The advocate would be independent of the Council’s Planning department and results of consultation would be fed back into the Council’s social impact assessment statements for new developments.

“The planning system in NSW is a complex framework of legislation, policy and practice and can be a minefield to navigate,” Mayor Masselos said.

“The NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 sets up the framework for planning in NSW and affects plans, policies and guidelines Waverley Council has in place for development in Waverley.

“There are some planning instruments that can override Council’s own planning controls and some development can also be approved by other government bodies and agencies as well as by private certifiers.

“The average person might not know all of this and is left feeling hopeless when another large development pops up in their street.

"We want to demystify the planning process and help people understand the ins and outs of Planning, from our Local Environmental Plans and our Development Control Plans to the development application process and voluntary planning agreements.

“We want to do everything possible as a Council to ensure that our area grows in a way that is sustainable and healthy.”

The case for an advocate will be investigated over the coming weeks, with a report due back to Council towards the middle of the year.

For information about development planning in Waverley, please visit https://www.waverley.nsw.gov.au/building.

To read the Mayoral Minute, see page 11 of the Minutes of the February Council meeting.


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