Log in

Forgot your password?
You are here: Home / UrbanGrowth, SMDA & RWA Plans & Activities / Elizabeith Street SSDA / Council's Consideration of controls for LAHC’s Redfern Build to Rent

Council's Consideration of controls for LAHC’s Redfern Build to Rent

Council has considered the rezoning of the site proposed for Land and Housing Corporation’s (LAHC) Redfern Build to Rent project at its Transport, Heritage and Planning Committee before it went before the full Council on 29 June 2020. Below is what REDWatch sent out in its email Update on 19 June 2020 with some notes on subsequent changes.

To go to the relevant section of this document use the links below:

Council to consider controls for LAHC’s Redfern Build to Rent

Council on the Planning Proposal Request and changes

REDWatch initial observations

Council considered controls for LAHC’s Redfern Build to Rent

Council considered the rezoning of the site proposed for Land and Housing Corporation’s (LAHC) Redfern Build to Rent project at the Monday afternoon 22 June 2020 Transport, Heritage and Planning Committee before it went before the full Council on 29 June 2020. Some amendments were made to the proposal at the Council meeting.

The documents presented to Council are all prepared by Council and reflect Council’s assessment of the proposal LAHC submitted. LAHC’s submitted proposal and its many listed support studies are not publically available in the papers supplied to Council.

We have been advised that the LAHC proposal and studies will only become accessible during the formal exhibition of the proposal after the Department of Planning approves it. Council is proposing the minimum 28 days for this exhibition. This leaves little time for the community to assess the many studies and make informed input on the planning proposal.

The material available to the Council under the heading “Planning Proposal for 600-660 Elizabeth Street, Redfern - Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012 Amendment and Draft Design Guide”, includes:

If you have problems with the direct document links look for item 4 on the Agenda for the 22 June 2020 Transport, Heritage and Planning Committee.

Below from the Council report you can see officers’ account of LAHC’s initial request and how they arrived at their proposal. This also provides details of heights and floor space proposed.

Council on the Planning Proposal Request and changes

Prior to a Planning Proposal request, the former Minister for Planning announced the site as a potential State Significant Precinct (SSP) in September 2017. The Minister for Planning also invited the City to assist the Department Planning, Industry and Environment in the assessment of the site.

The City’s participation in the SSP involved being part of a Precinct Review Panel (PRP) to review and approve key project milestones. In particular, a PRP meeting was held on the 31 October 2019. The proposal presented to the PRP included a B4 Mixed Use Zone, an FSR of 3.7:1, and maximum building heights ranging between 26 and 66 metres (up to 19 storeys). The PRP raised a number of issues which the proponent has sought to address in the Planning Proposal and reference scheme, these included:

  • There should be no overshadowing of Redfern Park
  • Acknowledgment that public open space does not need to be accommodated on site
  • The development and density outcomes of the site be considered within the wider context of the Redfern Estate
  • Greater certainty should be provided on the delivery of social and affordable housing on the site
  • The proposed future location for the PCYC should be nominated as part of the proposal, and
  • The PRP also raised concerns with environmental amenity, sustainability minimums, contamination, car parking and tree canopy.

In November 2019, the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces announced a new approach to precinct planning. As a result, NSW LAHC sites previously announced as an SSP would now be considered through a local planning process with a request to amend Sydney LEP 2012.

In December 2019, NSW LAHC met with the City to discuss potential amendments to the planning controls for the site. The City provided formal pre-lodgement advice. The City has worked extensively with the landowner and their consultant team to explore potential built form outcomes.

On 10 March 2020, the landowner submitted a Planning Proposal request to the City of Sydney. The request included a Planning Justification Report, a Design Report and a number of technical studies. The City has prepared this Planning Proposal following consideration of the request. The request sought to amend the Sydney LEP 2012 to rezone the site R1 General Residential, increase the maximum building height control from the current 6 metres to a height of RL 57 and RL 80, introduce a maximum floor space ratio to 2.75:1, apply maximum car parking rates and a draft site-specific provision for affordable housing and space for a community facility onsite or in the locality.

The request sought to facilitate 351 apartments and up to 1,600 square metres of non-residential floor space for neighbourhood shops, cafes, community spaces and childcare. This includes bonus floorspace awarded for design excellence. The submitted reference scheme has been prepared by the landowner to support this Planning Proposal (Figure 17).

Following lodgement, the landowner’s request was reviewed by the City. The City has prepared a revised reference scheme to guide the preparation of the proposed planning controls.

The revised reference scheme prepared by the City for 600-660 Elizabeth Street includes redevelopment of the site to accommodate new residential buildings with retail and community uses fronting Elizabeth Street and new open spaces on Kettle Street and Phillip Street.

The revised reference scheme allocates 3,500 square metres of land on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Kettle Street for community facilities. Demolition of the existing PCYC on the site is not to commence until after the new PCYC has received a full occupation certificate or arrangements have been made for community facilities to be secured elsewhere in the locality. The revised scheme also provides a simple alternative building layout in the event that community facilities are secured off-site.

The revised reference scheme provides for ground floor of development fronting Elizabeth Street to be a mix of community, communal, commercial and retail uses. Publicly accessible through-site links are to be provided from Elizabeth Street to Walker Street and Kettle Street to Phillip St.

Redevelopment using the City's revised scheme would facilitate the delivery of new residential buildings with building heights ranging from 2-4 storeys on Elizabeth Street, 4 storeys on Phillip Street, 4-8 storeys on Walker Street and a taller building on the corner of Kettle and Walker Streets up to 9 and 16 storeys.

The revised scheme will provide an equivalent amount of GFA and achieve a similar number of apartments to the landowner's reference scheme as the LEP controls are the same.

A draft Design Guide, to be exhibited concurrently with this Planning Proposal, contains more detailed site-specific provisions. If it is confirmed that subsequent DAs will be assessed as local development, the site-specific DCP will be applied rather than the Design Guide.

The quote above is taken from page 16-18 Attachment A - Planning Proposal - 600-660 Elizabeth Street, Redfern - PDF 5 MB This document also provides a visual comparisons of LAHC’s submitted proposal with Council’s modified proposal on page 17.

REDWatch initial observations

These documents were only posted on Council’s website last night (Thursday) so REDWatch has not had a chance to consider the details of the proposal yet.

The proposal includes that affordable housing should make up 10% of the 351 apartments proposed, which is up from the 5% LAHC were initially suggesting. This increase is welcomed. Of some concern is that Council notes the proposal says that 30% of the development will be social housing but it does not try to put a minimum on social housing. This raises the concern that the increase in affordable housing may come at the expense of the social housing. [Update - The amendments to the Council on 29th June meeting addressed this issue and added requirement that "Any development must include at least 30% of total floor area, used for the purposes of residential development, being used for the purposes as social housing premises"]

One of the major concerns for REDWatch has been the provision of community facilities in this development as there are no significant community facilities currently servicing the Redfern public housing estate. Currently the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) provide some services through Redlink into Redfern from its small space on the estate but there is a question mark over how long DCJ will continue this expensive intervention and a similar model in Surry Hills. The Poet’s Corner meeting room where activities are held is very small.

It is pleasing that one of the two planning option for the site includes a community facility. It is of concern that the community facility is linked only to PCYC and if LAHC provides PCYC with alternative premises away from the development that the alternate planning option without a community facility will be approved. REDWatch has argued there is a need for a community centre within easy access to Redfern public housing. That need remains irrespective of the final location of PCYC. [Update - The Council meeting of 29 June made a slight amendment that included the wording PCYC or similar community facility but still left open the option that the facility could be provided in the locality. The background note indicated that provision of the facility in Waterloo would be in the locality.] 

The original proposal and its support documents not being available at this stage of the Council process makes assessing what is being proposed by LAHC and Council difficult. For example to know what material might or might not have been considered by LAHC and Council regarding the need for community facilities in Redfern.

This problem will become that much more acute with the Waterloo South proposal where there are rumoured to be 10,000 pages of reports. Some of those reports specifically deal with areas such as community facilities and social sustainability. These areas are part of the human service plan discussions but they will remain hidden from the community until public exhibition next year.

REDWatch hence continues to call for the early release of the support studies so the community has access to this information and the opportunity of digesting this information prior to the formal exhibition. The planning system can only benefit from a better informed community.

This Redfern LAHC proposal is a dry run for Waterloo South as it will follow the same council process.

Council and LAHC will present at REDWatch Meeting at 6pm on 9th July 2020.

For more information see - Council and LAHC present on Waterloo and Redfern – 6pm Thursday 9 July at REDWatch meeting

Source: REDWatch Email update of 19 June 2020 - updated 30 June 2020.