More “unplanned” proposals?

overdevelopmentSince 1979 development in NSW has been regulated by the NSW Planning Act. This uses Local Environment Plans (LEPs) and Development Control Plans (DCPs) to control and guide new development. These plans have been prepared by the local Council.

However, the Act does not stop developers lodging opportunistic development proposals that propose buildings that do not comply with an LEP or DCP. These are known as Planning Proposals or Spot Rezonings. More and more of such proposals are being approved by state government appointed planning panels.

Last year, the State Government initiated another planning process to sit between the state strategic plans and a Council’s LEP. This is known as Local Strategic Planning Statements (LSPS). On the surface of it, such a process makes some sense. However, it is the LEP only that has legislative ‘teeth’.

In a recent communique from the Department of Planning they advised once a LSPS has been adopted by a Council “all new planning proposals will be required to align with a Council’s LSPS“. This appears to allow the planning panels to by-pass a Council’s LEP. The term ‘align‘ is not defined. As LSPSs are high level strategic documents it would seem easy for a panel to declare that a Spot Rezoning is justified. So instead of a Council preparing an LEP this will now effectively be undertaken by a planning panel endorsing a non-complying application.

The Minister for Planning and his Head of Department have declined an invitation from the Federation of Willoughby Progress Associations (FWPAs) to discuss the issue. It is hoped that the Federation will further raise the issue with the Mayor and the Premier.


Low cocaine use in Willoughby



It was refreshing to note recently that Willoughby has one of the lowest use of cocaine in Sydney. Along with many urban fringe areas, Willoughby was ranked in the lowest classification. Ryde, Lane Cove, Hunters Hill and Mosman have substantially higher use whilst North Sydney has the highest usage on the North Shore.

Images: Sydney Morning Herald 8 June 2019.


Chase – new shops, theatres

Chatswood Chase1

Chatswood Chase is proposing a major upgrade that would see two new levels of shops and movie theatres as well as longer trading hours (6AM to midnight, 7 days a week).

The proposed development  would make the Chase larger than Westfield.


Justification for the development relies partly on the belief that the Metro North will bring more people into Chatswood and the fact that more and more international tourists from China and Asia are visiting Chatswood.

Willoughby Council is concerned about the traffic implications.

Nearby Mercy College are also concerned about increased traffic flow passed their school gates.

Metro North on track?

Metro North ChatswoodThe new Metro North driver-less train service from Rouse Hill to Chatswood via Epping has opened to mixed reviews.

On its opening day, not unexpectedly, there were huge queues at Chatswood Station for a free ride.

Whilst there have been a couple of technical glitches it is probably too early to judge the reliability of the service.

Golf club update

Golf ClubThe re-development of Chatswood Golf Club is still being initially assessed by Willoughby Council. If they find that the proposal is compatible with the site.If the initial assessment is positive we hope that the plans are placed on public exhibition before being considered by the Sydney North Planning Panel.

As part of its initial assessment, Council advised the club that it would not support and loss of private recreational space on the site.

The club is looking to provide a retirement village on the site along with improved facilities for its members and the public,

If you wish to stay informed about this application you could write to Council and/or your ward councillors requesting that you be kept informed of the progress of the application.

A report on the project was recently written by the North Shore Times.

Blue thru bus

Busred  BusBlue

Old M40                                                               New 140

One of the Sate Government’s better initiative is no more. Namely the RED M40 buses. In their wisdom, these have been replaced with standard BLUE buses with a 140 route number.

The route and timetable stays the same. Just most of the red buses and the M40 designator have gone.

What a joke.

Bowen & Moriarty Upzoning

Moriarty  From this to this ?  Moriarty Bowen

Council officers are supporting a ‘spot re-zoning’ of 1A-29 Bowen Street & 6-18 Moriarty St.

The Planning Proposal seeks to amend Willoughby Local Environmental Plan 2012 to change the zoning for the sites and adjacent roadway at Bowen Street from R2 Low Density Residential to R4 High Density Residential, allow a building height of up to 30 metres and a Floor Space Ratio up to 2.5:1 (including 7% residential GFA to be affordable housing).