Woollahra Council’s proposal to protect ‘local character’ in the Eastern Suburb LGA was rejected. Photo: Woollahra Council.
By ELLIOT HEATH
The Department of Planning and Environment (DPIE) has rejected Woollahra Council’s recent local housing strategy submission, which included several new proposed planning controls aimed at protecting local heritage and character.
The rejection comes after the DPIE approved plans to dramatically increase density along New South Head Road in Edgecliff.
At a meeting of Woollahra’s environmental planning committee in early October, council noted that the DPIE had rejected council’s review of ‘Desired future character” in the local housing strategy.
“Council notes that the Department of Planning and Environment (DPIE) has determined that Council’s planning proposal to clarify and define the desired future character in the Woollahra Local Environmental Plan should not proceed; and note the opinion of the DPIE that a statutory clause or overlay of local character is not in progress,” the minutes of the meeting read.
The ‘local character clause’ or rejected statutory overlay could mean that Woollahra Council is unable to protect some of its heritage assets.
Councilor says Woollahra is meeting housing targets
Councilor Merrill Witt said Woollahra council had exceeded government housing targets but was not receiving any funding.
”We must deliver 500 net new homes over the next 5 years even though we have already exceeded our 2016 -2021 target by 200%, 889 net new homes approved or built against a target of 300. The Ministry of Planning and ‘Environment won’ gives us no carryover credits,” Witt said. Downtown.
Credit Merill Witt. Photo: Residents First.
The DPIE-approved Edgecliff housing plan also has council concerned about the lack of parking and visitors to the area that these new changes will bring. With councils already under pressure to create space for these new homes, local businesses are being hit by a parking crisis which is starting to emerge in the area.
“Parking is extremely difficult in Rose Bay, for example,” said Cr Witt.
“Many residents have told me they can’t find parking in Rose Bay and have to drive to Bondi Junction. I also often find myself in this situation, which is sad because I really like to support local businesses.
With demand for parking only growing, there are fears that visitors and tourists from outside the region will be put off visiting areas like Watson’s Bay.
Asked about the recent decision to reject Woollahra Councils’ local housing strategy and whether the DPIE would commit to making parking accessible to all, a DPIE spokesperson said CityHub”It is the responsibility of councils to meet the housing targets set by the Greater Cities Commission, through their local housing strategies.
“As part of this work, it is their role to identify housing opportunities to meet the various needs of the community, in accordance with infrastructure and access to services and open spaces.