Could a New Neighbourhood Centre/Shopping Precinct Be Developed in Lane Cove North?

The Lane Cove Council October Monthly meeting is on Monday 18 October 2021.

Councillor Andrew Zbik has tabled a notice of motion recommending Lane Cove Council write to landowners within the Lane Cove North area, who own land zoned R4 and who have not yet lodged a Development Application, asking if they have any interest in developing a neighbourhood centre concept.

The aim of Councillor Zbik’s motion is to address the lack of local shopping and place amenities in Lane Cove North. The residents of Lane Cove North do not have a neighbourhood centre that is an inviting place to meet and gather, shop or dine.


There are a few shops on Mowbray Road, but they are spread out and isolated. There is no sense of place or community identity, and the amenity of the road environment on Mowbray Road has considerably deteriorated over the last few years. There is an opportunity for Lane Cove Council to build on the housing investment in the area to create a great neighbourhood centre for the Lane Cove North community.

Councillor Zbik argues that a neighbourhood centre located at Lane Cove North would meet many of the needs and objectives identified in the Lane Cove Local Strategic Planning Stragtegy and Community Strategic Plan.

These include:

  • Providing convenient access to local shops and services
  • Reducing traffic in the Lane Cove Village
  • Supporting healthy walking and cycling journeys
  • Creating a sense of place and community identity in Lane Cove North
  • Creating a meeting place and cultural precinct for the Lane Cove North community
  • Supporting community connectedness, and feelings of safety and inclusion for people of all ages, ability and cultural ethnicity
  • Providing active and passive spaces for recreation
  • Supporting local jobs and investment opportunities
  • Supporting future housing development and more frequent transport services

To address the question of feasibility some catchment analysis using the 2016 Census data was undertaken.

The table below shows a neighbourhood centre at Lane Cove North would have a catchment second only to the Lane Cove village, far greater than any other neighbourhood centre in Lane Cove.



According to retail catchment benchmarks, this centre could theoretically support a 1,800 sqm grocery store (like an ALDI or small Woolworths or Coles), and if 50% of household specialty retail spending was spent locally (like spending on specialty food, liquor, cafes, restaurants, takeaway food, clothing, jewellers, chemists, newsagents, books, florists, hair and beauty, optometrists, etc.) this could also account for a further 3,000 sqm of specialty retail space.

With a potential 5,000 sqm of retail space, this is a significant opportunity, and since the 2016 Census there has been, and will continue to be, more housing development in the area, so the potential retail floor space in this neighbourhood centre could be quite significant. If Willoughby Council were also to start up zoning the area, demand could be even greater.

Beyond retail there might also be other community needs like library or study spaces, meeting spaces, community health spaces, or child care.

The exact location of a neighbourhood centre in Lane Cove North would need detailed urban design and planning analysis, however Andrew Zbik has suggested some of the following:

  • Mindarie Street, opposite Mindarie Park
  • 562 Mowbray Road, this looks like a public housing asset, and has significant unused land that could be better used through redevelopment of the site.
  • Willoughby Council have previously considered a neighbourhood centre opposite the Library and Mowbray Eatery, however these plans were not progressed.


There are probably other sites, but Andrew Zbik thinks the area opposite Mindarie Park is probably the most desirable. This site provides an opportunitclusterering public spaces similar toCanopy’s outcomesieved in the Lane Cove Village. It is assumed the centre would be developed as part of a mix-use precinct, using B4 zoning to achieve the necessary development feasibility outcomes.

An opportunity of this scale will need detailed planning and design, including precinct master planning, urban design of the built form and public domain, and urban design of road environment to support walking and cycling, loading spaces for deliveries, etc. while reducing car journeys and traffic. A key objective is to not have high-speed traffic or car journeys from beyond the local catchment. It would be great to start this process from a design-led approach, putting place outcomes at the beginning of the work and then adopting commercial and engineering details to achieve the place vision, rather than the typical technical engineering or regulation-led planning process. The work could start with some early urban design work and visualisations to communicate the opportunity and desired outcomes below.

Willoughby City Council’s Draft Local Centres Strategy to 2036 explored the possibility of creating a new centre in West Chatswood (including a centre on Mowbray Road/Hinker Ave); however, it has been resolved not to proceed with West Chatswood in the Final Local Centres Strategy based on feedback received.

It will be interesting to see if Lane Cove Council decides to go ahead with investigating a neighbourhood centre in Lane Cove North.

Lane Cove Council Election Survey – Closing Soon

The Lane Cove Council elections will be held this year. We would like your feedback on what issues candidates should be talking about and also if you want us to hold a zoom candidates meeting. We held a forum last time, and it was packed, and residents got to ask some excellent questions.
Help us by filling out this survey, and you could go into the draw to win a $50 Lane Cove Gift Card.


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