What is a planning and urban design strategy?

    A planning and urban design strategy is a guiding document that provides direction for future growth in a specified area, in this case the Edgecliff Commercial Centre.

    Planning and urban design strategies analyse and make recommendations for matters such as land use, building heights, floor space, built form, heritage, active frontages, affordable housing, parking, and public domain. 

    If adopted by Council, the Draft Edgecliff Commercial Centre Planning and Urban Design Strategy will be used to guide the preparation of new planning controls and policies for the Edgecliff Commercial Centre. It will also be used to assess any applications submitted by property owners or developers to amend the planning controls for certain sites.

    The draft strategy has been prepared in accordance with Council's existing plans and policies such as Woollahra 2030 and the Woollahra Local Strategic Planning Statement 2020.

    Why do we need a strategy for the Edgecliff Commercial Centre (ECC)?

    The Edgecliff Commercial Centre (ECC) is an important local hub and acts as a gateway to the Woollahra Local Government Area (LGA). It is located close to the Sydney CBD and has access to commercial, retail and recreational areas as well as transport services including the Edgecliff train station and bus interchange. The ECC is surrounded by significant heritage items and heritage conservation areas (HCA) including the Paddington HCA. 

    Since 2010, Edgecliff has been the subject of numerous planning proposal requests for increases to the maximum Height of Buildings (HOB) and Floor Space Ratio (FSR) standards in the Woollahra Local Environmental Plan 2014 to facilitate buildings with a dominant residential use. Ad-hoc planning proposal requests focus on a particular site, and this results in a fragmented and uncoordinated approach to planning.

    The Draft Edgecliff Commercial Centre Planning and Urban Design Strategy provides a proactive approach to planning, helping to prevent ad-hoc development. It envisions a mix of commercial, retail, residential uses and requires all new development to be accompanied by community infrastructure, affordable housing, and public domain improvements. This will help ensure that future development improves the liveability and sustainability of the ECC and creates a great place for people to live, work and visit.

    The Draft Strategy will also help us to contribute to required NSW Government long-term housing targets.  

    Where does the draft strategy apply?

    The Draft Strategy applies to all properties in the Edgecliff Commercial Centre (ECC). The ECC is located along New South Head Road from the intersection of New Beach Road in the west to the intersection of Ocean Avenue in the east - see map below.

    Extract from the Land Zoning Map of the Woollahra Local Environment Plan 2014 (with the ECC outlined in black)

    How does the draft strategy address traffic impacts on our busy roads?

    To help make the Edgecliff Commercial Centre a great place to live, work and visit, we need to help minimise journeys by car, encourage the use of public transport and improve the amenity and accessibility of active transport (walking and cycling). 

    The draft strategy recommends strategic directions and infrastructure improvements to support this shift. These include:

    • Support mixed use development to reduce the need for car and public transport journeys
    • Reduce existing parking controls for studios and one bedroom units
    • Cap parking for the Commercial Core to the existing number of spaces 
    • Investigate the use of car share schemes
    • Encourage walking and cycling, by upgrading the existing pedestrian pathways and investigating opportunities for a cycleway
    • Introduce a green travel plan and a parking strategy 
    • Support and promote the use of public transport.

    How does the draft strategy address demand for public space?

    The draft strategy is accompanied by the Draft ECC Public Domain Plan which identifies a vision for public spaces in order to align future private and public investment. These include: 

    • Public plaza next to the Edgecliff Station
    • Rooftop public spaces above the Edgecliff bus terminal.
    • Linear park on New South Head Road
    • Pocket park on Oswald Avenue
    • Cycling infrastructure including a cycleway to the Edgecliff station
    • Enhancements to pedestrian infrastructure (such as paving, street furniture, signage)
    • Public art elements 
    • Urban greening elements (such as street trees, green walls)
    • Smart City elements (such as Electric Vehicle charging, Smart lighting and Wifi)

    The projects identified in the Draft ECC Public Domain Plan are aspirational and may require collaboration with stakeholders including private landowners and NSW Government agencies.

    How does the draft strategy ensure heritage is protected?

    Woollahra Council is committed to conserving heritage and our heritage conservation areas (HCAs). 

    The heritage items and the HCAs in and around the ECC contribute significantly to its character. The Draft Edgecliff Commercial Centre Planning and Urban Design Strategy requires that future development sensitively respond to the heritage significance of the area by:

    • retaining all heritage items and buildings in the HCAs
    • transitioning to lower street wall heights around heritage items and HCAs
    • providing active frontages and public domain improvements to showcase the heritage significance of the ECC.

    For example, New McLean Street serves as a transition between the Commercial Core precinct and the Paddington HCA. The draft strategy seeks to improve the streetscape through active frontages, optimised vehicular access, urban greening and a sensitive built form transition to the Paddington HCA.

    Will the growth in the centre be supported by community infrastructure?

    Yes. The draft strategy requires that any increased density is accompanied by community infrastructure and public domain improvements to support the long term liveability and sustainability of the ECC. This includes new public spaces, community facilities, affordable housing, urban greening, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure and improved access to public transport.

    The recommendations of the Woollahra Community Facilities Study (adopted September 2020) will be considered while determining the types of community facilities required for the ECC.

    Council will investigate a range of mechanisms to facilitate delivery of community infrastructure. This may include voluntary planning agreements and/or s7.11 or s7.12 contribution plans under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

    What is affordable housing?

    The NSW Department of Communities and Justice, describes affordable housing as housing that is appropriate for the needs of a range of very low to moderate income households and priced so that these households are also able to meet other basic living costs such as food, clothing, transport, medical care and education. As a rule of thumb, housing is usually considered affordable if it costs less than 30% of gross household income [1].

    Although affordable housing is sometimes available for purchase, it is most commonly available for rent. Affordable rental housing may be owned by private developers or investors, local governments, charitable organisations or community housing providers. It is usually managed by not for profit community housing providers, and sometimes by private organisations.

    Affordable housing is not the same as social or public housing.  Affordable housing is open to a broader range of household incomes than social housing. Households do not have to be eligible for social housing to apply for affordable housing, though people who are eligible for social housing may also be eligible for affordable housing properties.

    The Draft Edgecliff Commercial Centre Planning and Urban Design Strategy requires new development to provide affordable housing at a minimum rate of 5% of new residential GFA.

    The delivery of affordable housing will be facilitated through a range of mechanisms including the Woollahra Voluntary Planning Agreement Policy 2020, the preparation of an affordable housing contributions scheme and amendments to the Woollahra LEP 2014 referencing the scheme consistent with the State Environmental Planning Policy No 70 – Affordable Housing (Revised Schemes).

    [1] While this figure provides a useful benchmark of housing affordability, the definition of affordability varies according to a household’s individual circumstances. Demands on the same gross income may differ significantly.

    What is a webinar?

    A webinar is a video presentation hosted online using webinar software to share knowledge, ideas, and updates with people around the world. 

    Council will be holding an online lunchtime webinar on Friday 25 June 2021, 12.00 – 1:00pm to present the key elements of the draft strategy. A video recording of the presentation will also be made available on Your Say Woollahra to view at your convenience.

    Register here to attend.

    What happens to my submission?

    The feedback we receive during public exhibition will be reported to Council and used to refine the Draft Strategy.

    The public exhibition of the Draft Strategy is only the first step in planning for the future of the ECC. There will be future opportunities to provide your feedback on the detail of how we will implement the strategy. This will include draft planning controls, affordable housing and development contributions schemes and other planning policies.

    What are my privacy rights and obligations when providing a submission?

    The supply of personal information is voluntary. If personal information is not provided, Council may be limited in dealing with a submission. Submissions, summaries of submissions, and/or names and addresses of people making submissions may be included in publicly available reports to Council or Committee Meetings.

    Please note that, in accordance with section 18(1)(b) of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW), you are advised that all submissions received by Council in relation to any matter will be placed on the appropriate Council file and may be disclosed to Councillors, Council Officers, consultants to Council or members of the public.

    Pursuant to the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) the Council may be obliged to allow inspection of its documents, including any submissions you may make.