The Greater Sydney Commission and the NSW Minister for Planning have some grand plans and they involve Lane Cove and your backyard. Yesterday, the Greater Sydney Commission put on public exhibition a 40-year vision and a draft 20-year District Plan for the newly created six Sydney Districts. Lane Cove is part of the North District which includes Hornsby, Hunters Hill, Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Northern Beaches, Mosman, North Sydney, Ryde, and Willoughby.
So what is the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) and why is it getting involved in planning issues? The GSC is a body created by the State Government with the aim of having an integrated, well-coordinated plan for land use, transport, and infrastructure. The GSC was introduced because having 41 local councils meant that it was impossible to have a proper whole of city planning. Even if all council amalgamations go ahead, there will still be 25 local councils. The GSC is the NSW State Government’s attempt to deliver Sydney wide (or district-wide) land use solutions. The GSC is led by Lucy Turnbull (yep our PM’s wife). According to Lucy Turnbull,
“Greater Sydney is a mosaic of great places, and we’ve collaborated with the community, peak interest groups, businesses, and all levels of government to build concrete plans to make those places greater. “Together, we can reimagine our city. Our ambition is for Greater Sydney to be the kind of global city that is home to a mix and variety of places we want to live, work, study, play and visit – places that are close to those essentials like housing choices, smart jobs, great schools, health care, open spaces and facilities.”
What Has the Greater Sydney Commission Proposed?
As part of the GSC plan, Sydney will have three “cities” the Eastern City (around the central business district and eastern suburbs), the Central City (around Parramatta), and the Western City (around the planned airport at Badgerys Creek). In addition to the three “cities”, there will be six districts. A draft plan has been released for each district. After the plans have been finalised, local councils will be required to implement them.
Greater Sydney Commission CEO Sarah Hill said that District Level Plans have been the missing link between the regional plan, A Plan for Growing Sydney, and councils’ local environment plans.
So what does that mean for Lane Cove? In the 159-page report, Lane Cove was referred to 24 times (and 5 of those mentions related to the Lane Cove National Park – that is not located within the Lane Cove Council Area).
The draft plan states that In order to increase housing supply and choice, Lane Cove Council will be required to implement the following actions and where appropriate incorporate into local housing strategies:
- monitor and support the delivery of Lane Cove’s five-year housing target of 1,900 dwellings recognising significant growth in the precinct adjacent to St Leonards;
- progress the priority precinct investigations at St Leonards/Crows Nest with Department of Planning and Environment;
- work with the Commission and Transport for NSW to identify urban renewal opportunities that connect to Sydney Metro; and
- investigate local opportunities to address demand and diversity in and around local centres and infill areas.
In the short term, the State Government wants an extra 1900 homes in Lane Cove.
The NSW Planning Minister wants to look at ways to increase housing options other than the on-trend mega apartment blocks. In an established suburb, like Lane Cove he would like to see terrace houses and townhouses. This will mean that the traditional Lane Cove backyard will be cut in half (or maybe more). You may find yourself living with more neighbours than you did before (which impacts on how busy your street is and parking in our narrow streets). In today’s Sydney Morning Herald the NSW Planning Minister stated:
“At one end we have a surge in high-rise apartment development, and on the other hand you have a predominance of detached homes in the suburbs,” he says. “But there is a distinct lack of what we are calling the missing middle – those human-scale* residential apartment buildings and terrace houses and townhouses, which were effectively banned as a typology between 1919 and 1962,”.
* ITC had no idea what a human scale apartment building was – apparently it is more like the Botanic Development at Finlayson Street (which ITC has admired as a lovely example of apartment living).
The 30 Minutes City
The idea is for us all to live in the 30 Minutes City. This is where people live within 30 minutes of their work and the services they need (calculated by trip time). ITC has news for the State Government, Lane Cove could already be a 30 Minutes City if public transport was improved in Lane Cove. Yes, some steps have been taken this year to improve public transport, but more needs to be done now. Read our blog here on steps taken this year to raise awareness of this issue with the State Government. It appears that no further bus services will be added to Lane Cove other than the new proposed Route 530 which will commence by June 2017. New Route 530 will operate between Chatswood and Burwood via Lane Cove, Linley Point, Hunters Hill, Drummoyne and Five Dock. This is a new direct link between the lower north shore and the inner west. This will result in additional service frequency in Linley Point and Lane Cove West to the Lane Cove Interchange. This is an olive branch to the people of Lane Cove as they will not put on more 251 services. It also appears that North Connect and Sydney Metro are the State Government’s solution to Lane Cove Public Transport issues. We need to keep the pressure on for more buses operating at peak time and more regularly during non-peak.
The GSC draft plan addresses issues in Greater Sydney, including:
- Setting a 5-10 per cent target for affordable rental housing for low and very low income households in all new development in new urban renewal and greenfield areas across Greater Sydney;
- Creating a green grid – a long-term vision and priority projects to deliver a regional connected network of parks, bushland, waterways, tree-lined streets and walking and cycling paths;
- Designation of ‘collaboration areas’ – places where different levels of government, and in some cases the private sector or landowners, can work together to improve productivity, liveability and sustainability; and
- Establishment of the Greater Sydney Digital Dashboard, an interactive online tool to monitor the growth and change of Greater Sydney to help make the best possible planning decisions.
The State Government is yet again imposing more controls on Local Government planning.
What can you do to have a say on Lane Cove’s future?
Now is the time to get involved if you want a say on Lane Cove’s future. You can get involved by:
- Commenting on the Draft North District Plan by clicking here; or
Attend a workshop run by the Greater Sydney Commissions at the end of Feb/start of March on the North District Plan – details at http://www.greater.sydney/event
Other ways of engaging are outlined at http://www.greater.sydney/news/new-activities-encourage-feedback-draft-district-plans-and-towards-our-greater-sydney-2056 .
These plans will directly impact what our neighborhood looks like in the next 2, 5 and 20 years. So get involved and have you say. The Lane Cove Council will be required to implement the finalised North District Plan.
Do you have a local issue you would like help with? ITC is here to help just email us at [email protected]
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