Waverley Council rejects War Memorial Hospital planning proposal

Waverley Council

Waverley Council has unanimously rejected a planning proposal (PP) by Uniting to amend the Waverley Local Environmental Plan 2012 in respect of 99-117 Birrell Street, Waverley (War Memorial Hospital site).

The Council made its decision based on the significant opposition and concern from the community to the proposed increase in height and floor space ratio, which Council believes would represent an overdevelopment of the site.

The Waverley LEP is the main environmental planning instrument which regulates land use and development in Waverley. It addresses:

  • land zoning, outlining what development is permitted
  • development standards surrounding building height, design and floor space ratio
  • special areas of consideration, for example heritage, protection of trees and incentives for affordable housing.

The Department of Planning and Environment, as the Local Plan Making Authority, will now consider whether it will support the PP, which some residents who live in the area objected to.

The Council requests that the Department consider the following issues if it decides to support the PP:

  • floor space ratio (FSR) not to exceed 1:1
  • height of building (HOB) not to exceed 12 metres
  • the site is excluded from the Affordable Housing State Environmental Planning Policy bonus provisions relating to FSR and HOB
  • a mechanism is provided to achieve a minimum of 10% affordable housing on the site in line with Council’s endorsed Affordable Housing Contribution Scheme
  • Existing residents are rehoused within Sydney’s eastern suburbs region to ensure there is no dislocation from their local community
  • Inclusion of social impact mitigation provisions as part of the process

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, said the Council was committed to protecting Waverley from overdevelopment. Last month, Council also rejected the PP for Charing Square. See media release here.

“Presently Waverley is experiencing a surge of developments which are systematically destroying the very values of our built environment as well as promulgating overdevelopment, often in contravention of our planning instruments,” Mayor Masselos said.

“While many development approvals and planning proposal decisions are no longer in the hands of Council, we are committed to fighting overdevelopment and are introducing a new peoples’ planning advocate position for precisely this purpose.

“We are very committed to ensuring Waverley’s significant heritage is protected and the War Memorial Hospital site is especially important. That is why we continue to apply to the Minister and the Office of Heritage to declare this site a heritage conservation area. This will also help protect the site from inappropriate overdevelopment.”

A draft site-specific Development Control Plan (DCP) has been developed to guide development onsite and ensure any development will incorporate design excellence, provide for adequate biodiversity and habitat outcomes, and provide good amenity for residents, through sustainable building quality and high-quality open spaces, whilst respecting the significant built and cultural heritage open spaces.

The site-specific DCP would apply to the properties not only at 99-117 Birrell Street, Waverley but also the remainder of the urban block bound by Church Street, Bronte Road, Birrell Street and Carrington Road, encompassing the remainder of the War Memorial Hospital Site.

Council is continuing to review the site-specific DCP and will incorporate further matters including:

  • the Conservation Management Plan design principles, to provide guidance to ensure that the heritage significance of Edina and the gardens are respected in any future development
  • a development standard or objective to ensure that the DCP protects, maintains or exceeds the existing mature tree canopy, including minimising the reduction in aggregate tree canopy and habitat corridor available on the site in any future development
  • the main entry gates to the site and their curtilage at the corner of Birrell Street and Bronte Road are conserved and the site will be accessible to the public via these gates, and that pedestrian accessibility through the site will be improved
  • setbacks and proposed building footprints for future buildings consider the location of existing mature trees on the site and minimise the loss of mature landscaping where possible
  • minimise the potential adverse impacts of parking and traffic generation associated with the proposal on the surrounding street network.

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