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Building heights in the Waterloo South Planning Proposal

Height of buildings is basic to understanding a planning proposal. This planning proposal makes understanding height difficult by dealing with it in a number of ways. Also height maps in the documents do not always agree. Here REDWatch unpacks the Height of buildings in the Waterloo South planning proposal.
Building heights in the Waterloo South Planning Proposal

Proposed LEP Height of Buildings Control

The Planning Control (LEP) proposed height

In preparing the draft LEP controls the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) Planning Proposal Authority (PPA) did not want to present very prescriptive height controls, they wanted there to be flexibility for developers to come up with other possible solutions in their design.

Hassell who undertook the analysis of the Council proposal also suggested some LEP planning controls. Note however that the Hasell proposed controls on page 158 of their report is different from those that the PPA have in the draft LEP and in the planning proposal document p45.

The heights in the LEP are shown in metres and not in storeys this is because storey height may change depending on if it is residential or commercial or if it is a podium etc.

Given the poor quality of the exhibited Planning Proposal document for this map we have used an extract from the heights map in the proposed LEP. This will be the starting point for the developer and its architects as it sets the maximum height on different parts of the site.

The Planning Control (LEP) proposed height for Waterloo South

 These above diagram shows the proposed Local Environment Plan maximum heights

The Design Guide suggested heights

In preparing the planning controls the PPA got the earlier Council proposal tested by Hassell in the Addendum to the Design study. Hassell with the PPA proposed an improved design layout and made suggestions about the best urban design and building heights. This has been incorporated in the Design Guide in the form of height of buildings in storeys. The design guide has a lesser status than the LEP planning controls and is advisory in status although it must be addressed in the DA application.

Note that the height in storeys map in the planning proposal page 47 is not the same as the design guide p50 or that in the design study p167.  Note also that Hassel has produced a height in meters map on the same layout as the height in storeys map but it does not appear to agree with the height in storeys map.

As the advisory height in storeys map operates a bit like a reference scheme we assume that it will be the basis for the model and the fly through even though it differs from the height planning controls and reflects a suggested outcome from the design guide.

Height of Buildings suggested in the Waterloo South Design Guide 

Height of Buildings suggested in the Waterloo South Design Guide


Simplified Height of Buildings

For the exhibition website a third approach was used, rather than show actual heights (like the Design guide) or the proposed heights (in the LEP) a simplified building heights map was produced which uses a low, medium high schema was used.

Simplified Height of Buildings for Waterloo South Consultation 

Map showing simplified Height of Buildings from DPI Exhibition Consultation Website

Urban Strategy Maps

In addition you will notice in other places that an urban strategy is shown with which has green space added. These maps show the building height colours from the design guide height in storeys but without a height legend.

Urban Strategy Maps without heights for Waterloo South 

This Urban Strategy map is from the Draft Design Guide and has the same height layout as the storey height guide in this document.


This article references the following exhibition reports in the following order of importance regarding height maps: