CBD to ‘realise full potential’



The City of Sydney’s planning strategy has been praised for its proposals to lift constraints on the CBD’s development, but the devil could be in the detail.

The Property Council of Australia’s NSW executive director, Jane Fitzgerald, said last week’s release of the City of Sydney Central Sydney Planning Strategy is the long-awaited first step in delivering the growth Sydney needs to realise its full potential on the world stage.

“The Property Council has long advocated for reform of planning controls within the Sydney CBD, and will continue to work with the City to ensure that the strategy frames a sound long-term vision,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“The strategy includes some excellent proposals such as removing long-term height controls which have constrained the CBD’s growth.

“Sydney needs a sensible and sustainable supply of commercial office space, and the proposed incentives for commercial development reflect the future demand that our geographically constrained CBD faces.”

Ms Fitzgerald said the devil was in the detail and that the Property Council would now work with the City and Property Council members to ensure that there are no undesirable outcomes for Sydney’s future prosperity.

“For instance, the proposal to introduce a new 50 per cent mixed-use requirement for residential development, in particular, is an untested model within Sydney’s market dynamics and may risk future investment,” she said.

“We want to make sure that the final strategy gets the balance right across all types of development and asset classes – whether this document does that is still an open question.

“We understand that the Strategy will be the subject of significant consultation in the coming months. Where necessary we will make recommendations for refinements to ensure that it delivers for Sydney.

According to Ms Fitzgerald, the Property Council has concerns that there is an attempt to add more property taxes through the affordable housing levy when market-based solutions are available – and the state government should resist approving it.

“And as a first step, the City needs to confirm that the Strategy includes a no disadvantage test for developments which are already within the approvals process,” she said.

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