A city in “desperate need” of stock could soon be allowed taller buildings and will benefit from various developments and infrastructure projects.
The Property Council of Australia recently hosted a debate between Lord Mayoral candidates for Sydney, with Liberal councillor Christine Foster noting “these are amazing times for Sydney”.
Ms Foster said recent development projects, such as Barangaroo, the ICC [International Convention Centre], Darling Square, the light rail down George Street and new Metro stations in the CBD and Waterloo were transforming the city.
“At Waterloo there are plans for redevelopment around the metro station which will provide desperately needed replacement stock for 2,000 aged social housing units, a supermarket, retail, parks and community facilities,” she said.
Ms Foster also refuted a number of current Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s claims about Sydney’s recent developments and future potential.
“And, contrary to the Lord Mayor’s claims, the Waterloo redevelopment is not about a density of 72,000 people per square kilometre. The site is 19 hectares, or under 20 per cent of a square kilometre, and the density based on 7,000 dwellings is at most 875 people per hectare,” she said.
“To put that in perspective, Council’s flagship project Green Square has 899 people per hectare and the award-winning Central Park project has 1,347 per hectare.”
In addition, Ms Foster welcomed the new draft Central Sydney Planning strategy, “which is the first full review of CBD planning controls in 45 years, and which will shape the future of development in our CBD”.
Ms Foster said the draft proposes taller buildings in the CBD but will “ensure our public spaces won’t be overshadowed, as well as preserving our priceless heritage assets”.
Conceding that she is “certainly not a planning expert”, Ms Foster noted that “there seems to be some very major changes to current controls proposed in this strategy”.
“The introduction of a cap of 50 per cent residential floor space in all developments over 55 metres is a dramatic change,” she said.
“I’ve also had representations that suggest the change in site size for buildings taller than 55 metres from 800 square metres to 1,000 square metres is a significant and unexpected shift in the goal posts. I’ve had flags raised that the proposed heritage conditions would be an insurmountable barrier to another development like Macquarie Bank’s in Martin Place.”
Ms Foster said with so much happening, and various stakeholders putting their cases forward, Sydney is at a crossroads.
The election will be held on 10 September.