Goodbye Green Space at 266 Longueville Road Lane Cove

Lane Cove Council rezoned community land at 266 Longueville Road to enable it to be “sold off” to a developer for a Senior Living Complex.

Residents want the area to be green space, and 266 Longueville Road could be converted into a playground, badly need Netball Courts or developed for other recreational purposes as it adjoins the Lane Cove Golf Club.   During the COVID19 lockdown, residents adjoining 266 Longueville Road have been used the green space for kids and teenagers to get out and about and play.

266 Longueville Road Lane Cove

The Lane Cove Council has entered into an Agreement for Lease with Australian Unity Limited in relation to the redevelopment of  266 Longueville Road Lane Cove.

The Lane Cove Council is the owner of the land, and the lease is a 99-year lease.

Independent Living Units

The development will comprise 82 one and two-bedroom independent living units, 70 aged care beds and 122 parking spots (for employees, residents and visitors).  To find out more, search DA117/2017.

The Lane Cove Council resolved to build senior’s living to assist with the need for aged care in Lane Cove.  Since this decision, there has been numerous aged care and retirement villages planned for Lane Cove.

On Northwood Road, opposite Jack and Co Pathways, just around the corner, will be building an aged care facility.

At the Lane Cove Council 16th August 2021 Meeting, the councillors discussed the NSW Housing SEPP Consultation.  The Officer’s Report set out in the Agenda Papers noted the following:

Concentration of Seniors Housing

It is still considered that there should be a concentration threshold for the provision of age care development under the seniors SEPP, so that once a certain concentration of developments has been reached within a set area e.g. 2 square km, the SEPP should no longer apply. This is because the SEPP is sometimes used in order to access the concessions granted and areas can ultimately end up with an oversupply of seniors housing, placing demands on services and unintended, out-of-character built form outcomes.

The councillors discussed this issue in detail and decided the above threshold would be too hard to enforce.  During the debate, Council staff were asked for their opinion on the need for senior housing in Lane Cove in light of Lane Cove’s social plan.  The council officer stated:

“not delivered much for aged care concept.”

“..missing aged care to keep seniors in Lane Cove.”

Mayor Pam Palmer stated: “ need some more nursing homes ..keep encouraging more facilities for elderly.”

The General Manager stated ” 266 came to be needed for aged care ..higher priority for aged care than over 55.

If this is the case, why is Lane Cove Council backing a plan that has substantially more “Over 55 units (actively marketing to active seniors who drive) than aged care beds?

Sydney North Planning Panel Decision

The Sydney North Planning Panel held a public meeting on 1st September 2021.  Seven Community Groups and 30 residents spoke (only one in favour of the development).  The St Michael’s Primary School Principal, Jacqueline Lee, spoke eloquently about the congestion around the school and the danger for children and parents due to traffic being forced along Austin Street and Alpha Road.

Councillors Vissel and Zbik spoke in their personal capacity and stated that the Lane Cove Council LEP should be respected and the bushland buffer zone preserved.

The Panel approved the development application pursuant to section 4.16 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

The Panel’s decision was unanimous.

The Panel determined to uphold the Clause 4.6 written request to vary the height of building development standard and approve the development application.

The Panel noted the following:

  • The subject site is zoned R4 High Density Residential under the LCLEP and development for the purposes of seniors housing is permissible with consent.
  • The land was rezoned by Lane Cove Council from RE1 Public Recreation to R4 High Density Residential in 2015 and then reclassified to operational land under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1993.
  • A current Site Compatibility Certificate issued under Clause 25(4)(a) of State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors or People with a Disability) 2004 (HSPD SEPP). This Certificate effected an increase in the maximum permissible floor space ratio from 1.1:1 to 1.6:1.
  • Detailed site investigation under State Environmental Planning Policy No 55 ‐ Remediation of Land to demonstrate that the site is suitable for residential development.
  • Independent peer review of the traffic assessments.
  • Assessment of the ecological impact to ensure that the development does not significantly impact flora and fauna on the site and on the adjacent land zoned E2.
  • Assessment of visual impact from the golf course, the ridge line to the east and from Richardson Street West.
  • Plans and supporting information provided to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment supporting the application for Site Compatibility Certificate dated 6th July 2017.
  • Calculation of the GFA and FSR based upon the HSPD SEPP.

Amended Plans

The Panel also requested the Applicant to submit amended plans which:

Increase the setback on the southern boundary by at least one metre without any decrease on the northern side, while creating a two‐metre landscaped strip towards Timbertops (268‐270 Longueville Road, Lane Cove) to provide landscape screening.

Based upon the Ecological Assessment, adjust the eastern boundary setback if required.

An amended development application returned to the Panel on 1 September 2021. The Panel agreed with the Independent Assessor that the requested additional information had been provided, the proposed development had been appropriately amended and that the reasons for deferral of determination of the development application had been addressed and resolved, with the exception of the calculation of the gross floor area and floor space ratio.

The Panel concurred with the condition 2 requiring the Applicant to provide amended plans which demonstrate that the floor space has been reduced to 1.6:1, but further amended the condition to require the Applicant to provide the amended plans prior to the issue of a construction certificate.

The Panel agreed that the building appropriately presents to Longueville Road as a two storey built form. The area of the development which breaches the height limit is restricted with the highest breaches being in the centre of the building footprint, reducing its visibility and amenity impacts on adjoining properties. The landscape setting of the locality and that proposed on the site will further reduce the visibility of the proposed development.

The impact of the proposed development on the existing traffic and parking situation in the locality was raised as a major issue by numerous written and oral submissions. The Panel noted that the peer review of the Applicant’s traffic assessment, once the modelling was updated, confirmed that the traffic generation potential of the proposed development would not result in a reduction in the level of service on the nearby streets and intersections nor unacceptable traffic implications. Further, the traffic assessment factored in forecast changes in traffic.

The community participants argued that the traffic reports were out of date (the last report on LCC DA portal was dated 2 August 2018 and does not include the new traffic configuration at the Diddy intersection – see comments below about congestion around St Michaels Primary School).

Potential impacts on the bushland was also an issue raised by numerous written and oral submissions. The Panel noted that Council’s ecologists reviewed the Applicant’s ecological assessment and concluded that it was satisfactory with additional conditions of consent to ensure the protection and enhancement of the bushland.

In particular, a condition of consent has been included for a detailed Biodiversity and Vegetation Management Plan to be prepared to manage vegetation removal pre‐construction and to address protection of native vegetation, weed control and rehabilitation of any disturbed areas post‐construction.

It was noted by the Panel that NSW Rural Fire Service had been appropriately consulted by Council, as required by Clause 27(3) of the HSPD SEPP and that concurrence was not required as the proposed development was not integrated development.

The Panel agreed that the creation of a legal easement through the site, in favour of Timbertops (268‐270 Longueville Road), was an appropriate mechanism to secure access.

Further information Provided to SNPP (but not to the community)

The significant length of time since the deferral of the application and consideration of all the matters raised by the community required the Panel to request the following prior to making its determination:

  • A revised Clause 4.6 written request to vary the height of building development standard, given there had been a change in the objectives of the development standard since the written request had been submitted.
  • Consideration from the Independent Assessor on the application’s consistency with the proposed new draft SEPP (Housing), given this draft SEPP had been publically exhibited since the application had been lodged with Council.
  • Consideration from the Independent Assessor on Planning for Bushfire Protection (2019), which had been introduced since the application had been lodged with Council.

This information was received by the Panel on 3 September and the Panel agreed that it satisfactorily addressed all required matters.


The development application was approved subject to the conditions in the Independent Assessor’s Memo (30 August 2021) with the following amendments:

  • Condition 2.2 amended to read as follows (as noted in the Independent Assessor’s memo 3 September 2021):

Prior to the issue of a construction certificate, the applicant shall provide amended plans to the satisfaction of Council which demonstrate how the floorspace has been reduced, which may include:

  •  Reducing the actual floorspace within the building;
  •  Removing 22 spaces from the car park from either or both basement levels and enclosing those

areas to be used for service activities; or

  •  Converting some of the floorspace within the building to non‐GFA as per the SEPP.
  •  Condition 9 (new condition) to read as follows (as noted in the Independent Assessor’s memo 3 September 2021):

The development shall incorporate a fire sprinkler system as required by State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors or Persons with a Disability) 2004 and the Building Code of Australia. Full details and specifications shall be submitted to the Principal Certifier prior to issue of a construction certificate.

  •  Condition 10 (new condition) to read as follows (as noted in the Independent Assessor’s memo 3 September 2021):

An operational management plan shall be submitted to and approved by Lane Cove Council which includes, but is not limited to:

  •  Compliance with operational conditions of consent;
  •  Management of noise from plant, delivery and service vehicles and general operations;
  •  Procedures to reduce the potential for traffic congestion during the afternoon shift change;
  •  Complaints handling and monitoring; and
  •  Maintenance of public spaces.
  •  Condition 11.4 (was condition 9.4) amended to read as follows:

This contribution is to be paid before the issue of the first occupation certificate or interim occupation certificate in respect of any building to which this consent relates, except as provided by condition 11.3.

  •  Condition 61.1 (was condition 60.1) amended to read as follows:

All demolition, building construction work, including earthworks, deliveries of building materials to and from the site to be restricted as follows:

Monday to Friday

7:00am to 5:30pm

High noise generating activities, including rock breaking and saw cutting must not be carried out continuously for longer than 3 hours without a 1 hour break.


8:00am to 12:00 noon

No excavation, haulage truck movement, rock picking, sawing, jack hammering or pile driving to be undertaken. Failure to fully comply will result in the issue of a break of consent P.I.N.

Sunday and Public Holidays

No work to occur.

  • Condition 157 (new condition) to read as follows (as noted in the Independent Assessor’s memo 3 September 2021):

Documents giving effect to the creation of a restriction as to user on the title of the land in accordance with section 88E of the Conveyancing Act, 1979 limiting the use of any accommodation to seniors or people with a disability only.

  • Condition 168 (new condition) to read as follows (as noted in the Independent Assessor’s memo 3 September 2021):

The development shall be occupied only by seniors or people with a disability as defined in State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors and People with a Disability) 2004

Congestion Around St Michaels Primary School

One of the issues is the development’s driveway location.  The RMS has recommended that the driveway be located near 268 Longueville Road (which is close to the famous Diddy intersection, which is currently being upgraded for safety reasons).  The RMS require that all access to the driveway is be left turn in and left turn out.  The Diddy intersection will have a right-hand arrow for drivers to turn right into River Road West.

Plans have been drawn up to construct a roundabout at the Northwood Road/River Road – this, in theory, could mean people may use it after exiting the new development – but does not assist for traffic heading to the development from North Sydney/Greenwich.

A medium strip is to be constructed.  This will mean that all traffic coming from North Sydney/Greenwich will only be able to access 266/268 Longueville Road via turning right into Austin Street and then left into Alpha Road and right at Longueville Road.  This will funnel all traffic past St. Michaels Primary School.

Anyone who has driven along Austin Street and Alpha Road at school drop off and pick up time will know that these streets become one lane.  Delivery trucks, staff, emergency vehicles and visitors will need to navigate the congested streets.


Background and Documents.

Relevant documents are available for you to review on the Planning Panels website

Since before the land was rezoned, local residents have been concerned about the traffic issues that will arise due to this development.   

The Sydney North Planning Panel (SNPP) is hearing this matter on 1 September 2021.  The last time residents were able to voice their objections to this development was back in 2018.  They have now been given a very short period of time in the middle of a global pandemic to review this matter and prepare submissions.   This is a denial of due process, and the SNPP has issued incorrect notices and breached privacy rules.


15 April 2013

Lane Cove Council resolved to support a planning proposal for 266 Longueville Road to enable the rezoning of land from RE1 Public Recreation to R4 High-Density Residential and reclassify the land from community to operational land.

266 Longueville Road used to be a bowling green and also used to house the Lane Cove Cultural and Music Centre.  Lane Cove Council recently demolished this centre as it contains asbestos.  During the demolition, Worksafe was called to the site by concerned neighbours.

Lane Cove Council contractors failed to specify the date that they were removing the asbestos and demolishing the building (which was constructed during the lead paint era). Their contractors did not provide any guidance on how neighbours could protect themselves from dust particles.  Lane Cove Council refused to assist neighbours to clean up their balconies, and one resident was so upset they moved out during demolition.   ITC understands that Worksafe sent a letter to the council setting out their concerns.

23 May 2013

Lane Cove Council requested NSW Planning to issue a Gateway determination for the subject planning proposal

26 June 2013

NSW Planning issued a Gateway determination for the subject planning proposal.

23 October – 26 November 2013

The planning proposal was publicly exhibited.

3 December 2013

An independent commissioner held a public hearing as the planning proposal intended to reclassify land from community to operational.  The commissioner raised concerns and asked for further information.

17 March 2014 – Lane Cove Council Meeting

Lane Council resolved to support the planning proposal. The North Shore Times reported that children stayed up past their bedtime to plead with the Lane Cove Council not to rezone the green space they used for sport and a park.

The North Shore Times further reported that it was a heated debate about the rezoning, and Councillor Scott Bennison told two female councillors to man up.  The North Shore Times quoted the then-Mayor David Brookes Horn as saying the incident was regrettable.  You can read the article here.

The officer report to Lane Cove Council prepared in part by Mr Mason stated:

“The Commissioner’s report has recommended deferral of the proposal until further assessment is undertaken.  Council staff believe that recommendations made by the Commissioner in his report have been fully addressed in this report to the point that Council can and should determine the matter.  A number of the Commissioner’s recommendations are supported and are discussed in the Community Consultation section of this report.”

31 July 2015

The Lane Cove Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2009 (Amendment No.17) was notified on the NSW Legislation website.

8 May 2017

NSW Planning received an application for a Site Compatibility Statement (SCC) prepared by GSA on behalf of Australian Unity Limited for 266 Longueville Road Lane Cove. The SCC was for a 70-bed residential aged care facility, 93 self-contained dwellings for seniors, residents’ support facilities, and basement car parking for 148 vehicles.  You cannot lodge a DA without an SCC.

6 July 2017

NSW Planning issues an SCC for 266 Longueville Road for a residential aged care facility comprising of 70 beds, and 90 independent dwellings were submitted to Lane Cove Council.

21 August 2017

The Development Application is lodged by Australian Unity, and the DA publicly displayed, and 186 submissions received.

22 September 2017

A development application is then lodged with the Sydney North Planning Panel (SNPP) as the consent authority. The Sydney North Planning Panel reviews the DA as an independent body.  The Lane Cove Council is the owner of the land and cannot be the body responsible for assessing the DA.  The Lane Cove Council planning department’s role is to collate all the objections and provide all information to assist the SNPP in making a decision.

25 May – 18 June 2018

 New Plans lodged by Australian Unity, and public comment requested on new plans – 97 Submissions Received

12 June 2018

ITC writes to Mayor Pam Palmer and sets out concerns about documents not being uploaded to the DA portal in a timely manner for residents to review. Some residents had lodged their objections after an important letter from the RMS was received.  The RMS letter was dated 1 November 2017 and not uploaded until 22 November 2017.  ITC lists 5 documents that have not been uploaded quickly or, if uploaded, were not marked to be displayed.

11 July 2018

The SNPP defers the development application for additional information, which included the following recommendations:

  • A detailed site investigation under SEPP 55 • Independent peer review of traffic assessments
  • Assessment of ecological impacts to ensure development does not significantly impact flora and fauna on the site and adjacent E2 zone.
  • Assessment of visual impact from the golf course, east ridgeline and Richardson Street West
  • Plans and supporting information provided to the Department for the original SCC
  • Calculation of gross floor area/floor space ratio based on the SEPP
  • Drawings that reflect an increased setback on the southern boundary by 1m with no decrease on the northern side, and 2m landscaped strip towards ‘Timbertops’ for landscape screening.
  • Based on the ecological assessment, the eastern boundary is to be adjusted as required.

Australian Unity is given until 24 August 2018 to submit this information.

28 August 2018

Australian Unity writes to the SNPP and asks for more time to submit the information requested on 11 July 2018.   They requested an extension of time to submit the documentation by 19 October 2018.

8 January 2019

The SNPP extend the timeframe for the submission of additional information until 29 March 2019.

Lane Cove Council March Meeting 2019

In a closed session, Lane Cove Council agrees to amend the Agreement for Lease between Australian Unity and LCC and to change dates in relation to the ability to terminate the Agreement for Lease if development consent is not obtained by a sunset date.

Extract of Minutes of Meeting of LCC March 2019


The General Manager read the recommendation of the Item considered in Closed Committee prior to Council’s consideration:

It is recommended that the Council close so much of the meeting to the public as provided for under Section 10A(2) (c) of the Local Government Act, 1993, on the grounds that the report contains information that would, if disclosed, confer a commercial advantage on a person with whom the council is conducting (or proposes to conduct) business; it further being considered that discussion of the matter in an open meeting would be, on balance, contrary to the public interest by reason of the foregoing.


In the Cove writes to the Office of Local Government and points out the above minutes are not transparent and do not provide residents with enough information.  The Office of Local Government agrees and writes to the General Manager pointing out the deficiencies in the minute taking.

1 May – 3 June 2019

Amended Development Application on Public Display – 182 Submissions lodged by Lane Cove Residents raising concerns about the development.

6 July 2019

The SCC issued for 266 Longueville Road expires.   Australian Unity was responsible for adhering to deadlines, and their delay had resulted in the SCC expiring.

2 September 2019

ITC writes to the Lane Cove Council and asks them to update their website to provide information on what is happening.  Residents are not aware of the SCC issues.  The Lane Cove Council responds, “Correct, but as the SCC is only a process matter given its replacing the existing, no update is required.”

As you will see from below, issuing an SCC is hardly a process matter.

2 September 2019

NSW Planning received a second SCC for a residential aged care facility comprising 70 beds and 82 independent living dwellings.

28 May 2020

The SNPP issued a second SCC for the subject site.

The SCC conditions note that height should be capped to RL 62.8, effectively requiring the deletion of the top two storeys.  Australian Unity did not like this condition.

During the  2020 COVID lockdown period, NSW Planning looked at all sites being reviewed by Planning to see which sites could be fast-tracked through the planning system to facilitate developments.  266 Longueville Road was not chosen to be fast-tracked. It was not shovel ready, and there were many outstanding issues.

However, the Pathways aged care development was fast-tracked.

16 November 2020

Mr Craig Wrightson, Lane Cove General Manager, writes a report requesting the Lane Cove Councillors appoint the recently retired former head of Lane Cove Council planning section to be the Lane Cove Council’s representative on the SNPP.  Mr Mason is appointed as one of the LCC’s representatives on the SNPP.

3 December 2020

NSW Planning receives a third SCC application for the 266 Longueville Road for a residential aged care facility comprising 70 beds and 82 independent living dwellings.

18 March 2021

The Lane Cove Council writes to the SNPP and states

“Council supports the amended proposal and raises no objections to the issue of an amended SCC, which should include the deletion of 1(a), 1 (b) and 1 (c) and any other amendment to facilitate the development as proposed.”

The new Executive Manager writes the letter of Planning (who previously worked at the Auburn City Council).

ITC wrote to Mayor Pam Palmer and asked her if the wording of the letter was a conflict of interest as the wording was consistent with the LCC being the owner of the land and not in its role as providing support to the SNRP.   Residents have also taken issue with several other statements in the letter and, in particular, the statements about views from Longueville Road and the Golf Course.

10 June 2021

A third SCC is issued, and the second SCC with the condition on height and number of storeys is revoked.

The Sydney North Planning Panel will determine the matter at their public hearing on 1st September 2021.

Note:  ITC lives in Central Lane Cove and has submitted a personal submission to the SNPP.

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