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Waterloo Planning Controls Finalised

The Department of Planning have approved the planning controls for Waterloo South following the rezoning exhibition. The details of the rezoning and approved controsl are in the post below. The approval was notified on November 10 2022.

Waterloo South Planning Controls finalised

The Main Links about the decision

Links to the Key Documents

REDWatch Comments on Exhibition

Please note – this email contains hyperlinks. This means that if you see a blue underlined word or phrase that you can click on it and go directly to a document or to get more information.

Waterloo South Planning Controls finalised

The new planning controls for Waterloo South have been formally approved and placed on the NSW Legislation website to come into effect on 28 February 2023.

There appear to be no changes made by the Gateway section of the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) to what the DPE Planning Proposal Authority (PPA) made public when it submitted its recommendations.

Yet to be finalised is a planning agreement between Council and Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) over how infrastructure will be delivered and paid for. This infrastructure includes arrangements about the park and community centre approved in the plan.

When the planning agreement is finalised it will be exhibited for 28 days for community input – the period will be extended if it overlaps Christmas / New Year holidays. DPE expects this process to be complete before the end of February and before the caretaker period before the NSW election comes into effect on 3 March 2023.

DPE says “finalising the plan provides certainty to the community, LAHC and the City of Sydney on the planning controls, while the deferred commencement ensures any renewal is supported by infrastructure”.

LAHC is currently in the early stages of selecting a consortium including both a developer to build and a Community Housing Provider (CHP) to run the social housing. LAHC expects to appoint a “development partner” by the end of 2023 and it will take some time for the developer to formulate with LAHC and the CHP its development plans for the site. Under the controls a Concept Development Application (DA) is expected to be the first DA for the site and it is expected to show where social, affordable and private housing will be located. The Sydney Morning Herald has described the Waterloo Estate as a $3 billion redevelopment.

The planning controls lock in at least the floor space that LAHC has permission to build and the process it’s expected to follow. The community will also have a formal say in all the development applications for the site and the building designs. Vigilance will be required by the community as the planning rules just set can be changed with approval on any DA or modification.

LAHC has been collecting questions from tenants about their relocation concerns and expect to issue a relocation plan responding to these questions in early 2023. LAHC has said no one will be relocated before 2024, but that in mid-2023 those who will be first to move, may be issued their 6 months notices.

LAHC is also currently talking to the community about what is necessary for it to deliver the ‘people outcomes’ the community seeks from the redevelopment.

In summary the main changes from the exhibited proposal are: 

  • Pitt Street is extended, but not opened up to McEvoy Street for motor vehicles. 
  • Towers along McEvoy Street have move north a little and building foot prints have been increased by up to 25%. As a result overshadowing has increased in the small park. There is no increase in Floor Space Ratio (FSR). 
  • The Design Guide to now provides “detailed flexible provisions” making the design guide less binding on the redevelopment. 
  • The percentages of social and affordable housing are retained and is made clear they apply to any increase in FSR resulting from design excellence. 
  • FSR changes made are primarily for some private sites. 

The Main Links about the decision

The DPE Waterloo South Priority Growth Areas and Precincts page has been updated.

The final plan documents can be found at DPE’s Finalised Waterloo Estate (South) Planning Proposal (REDWatch has provided direct links to the individual documents below).

This is the link to the Legislation website where the Sydney Local Environment Plan 2012 is amended by the Waterloo South Sydney LEP Amendment (no83)

The Minister’s media release for the approved zoning is Green light for Waterloo South rezoning.

The Sydney Morning Herald got the media drop for this story which you may see behind the paywall as First stage of Waterloo public housing estate rezoned for $3b revamp. It is an excellent article it is just a pity that many people who would benefit from its summary will not be able to see it!

Information to the background to the proposal and more news as it happens can be found at 

The LAHC website for the redevelopment is the Waterloo Project Page

Links to the Key Documents

These documents can be found on the Finalised Waterloo Estate (South) Planning Proposal page

The key document explaining the rezoning decision is the Plan Finalisation Report

The Key documents covering future planning are:

Final Proposal Documents

DPI Planning Gateway Determinations

Responses to public exhibition submissions

REDWatch Comments on Exhibition

REDWatch was highly critical that the Response to Submissions (RtS) did not address the specifics of the community concerns. The DPE PPA out sourced the RtS to an external company Keylan. The report produced broad summaries of issues raised in submissions rather than specific concerns. REDWatch was also critical that the RtS did not include responses to any Government submissions.

The Plan Finalisation Report and associated finalisation appendices now detail the Planning Proposal Authority (PPA) and the Gateway responses to the issues raised in the Government submissions especially from LAHC and Council. It is worthwhile reading what LAHC and Council requested and how they were responded to.

Those concerns were also expressed by tenants as can be seen in the Tenant-Only Subgroup of the WRG letter to the Minister about the Waterloo (South) Exhibition. The DPE Response to Waterloo Redevelopment Tenant-Only Subgroup letter on behalf of the Minister did not address tenant concerns.

If you compare the responses to Government submissions with the response to the community submissions you will understand why tenants did not feel they got what DPE promised them – which was that DPE would tell them what it heard and explain why things were, or were not, included in the final planning proposal.

The contrast between how Government and Non-Government submissions get treated in the planning process can be clearly seen with the release of these documents. While the submissions saw some changes around the McEvoy opening, many other issues raised in submissions did not even get mentioned in the Keylan report. Key concerns such as the need for a Social Impact Assessment was not even mentioned, let alone responded to.

Does DPE and its Minister really expect that after this experience tenants and the broader community will bother with its next tick the box exhibition? This exhibition makes a mockery of the planning changes that purported to want to get the community involved in strategic planning rather than have it just complaining about what happened after the event. Waterloo tenants tried to be involved and the planning system failed to deliver.