by Brian Fuller, 1 August 2020

You may recall that, in the last Bulletin of 2019 (10/2019), we discussed a proposal by the NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC), and the Princes Trust of Australia to develop a mix of social, affordable and private housing on the site, 17-31 Cowper St, 2A-2D Wentworth Park Rd.

The article detailed the extent of the Society’s preliminary concerns with the proposal.

The Society understands the existing site includes 15 x one-bedroom units and 4 x three-bedroom units available for social housing needs. The proposal for redeveloping the site suggested that a total of 75 new units would be constructed, but there was no qualification as to the allocation of social, affordable and private units, so that there was no certainty that there would be an increase in social housing beds over current numbers.

The process of redevelopment necessitates a Planning Proposal be approved by the City of Sydney prior to the lodgement of the DA.

The developers have made application for the Planning Proposal. The City of Sydney has prepared a paper in support of the Planning Proposal to amend the Sydney Local Environment Plan (LEP) 2012, in so far as this site is concerned. Here is link to download the City’s supporting paper (Attachment A):

The site is currently zoned R1 General Residential, has a maximum building height of nine metres and a floor to space ratio (FSR) of 1.25:1. The Planning Proposal seeks to increase the maximum building height to eight storeys and increase the FSR for the Wentworth Park Rd site (north site) to 4.3:1 and for the Cowper St site (south site) to 3.1:1.

The paper suggests that the City and LAHC have worked together to ensure an increase in the number of potential social housing units, increased setbacks along Cowper St to ensure the retention of street trees, and an additional storey added to compensate for the reduced floor plate as a result of the Cowper St set back.

The paper suggests a potential for 100% allocation of social housing to the north site – two x studios, 26 x one-bedroom units and seven x two-bedroom units. The south site to contain 14 x one-bedroom units, 20 x two-bedroom units and 5 x three-bedroom units.

In order for the proposal to proceed, the site would need to be removed from the protection of the St Phillips Conservation Area.

The project timelines within the paper suggest the Planning Proposal will be on public exhibition during September/October 2020, consideration of submissions in November/December 2020 and finalisation of the LEP in April 2021.

The Society intends to fully consider all the implications of the Planning Proposal and to make an appropriate submission within the time frame.

Schematic representation of the proposal – eastern elevation (source: City of Sydney)