Help us to stop the NSW Government's proposed changes to housing

Published on 14 March 2024

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We encourage you to have your say

The NSW Government has released proposed changes to legislation for low and medium-rise housing, which would override some of Woollahra Council’s existing controls regarding the type and scale of development permitted in our LGA. These changes are not based on accepted strategic planning principles, and have no regard for local character.

Some of the proposed changes include:

  • Taller and denser apartments, and new mixed use development in medium density areas - up to 8 storeys within 400m of train stations and local centres and 6 storeys within 800m (e.g. at Edgecliff and Double Bay)
  • The ability to construct manor houses (two storey flat buildings), dual occupancies and multi-dwelling housing (townhouses and terraces) in low density areas.
  • Revised targets for landscaping and tree planting, requiring less than Council’s current controls.

Watch the video above to hear from Mayor Richard Shields and how YOU can help

If the changes proceed they may allow a 221% increase in building height and a 462% increase in floor space ratio around town centres in our area, when we already have one of the highest housing densities in Australia.

The reforms would impact already heavily congested areas, and so far there has not been any additional state funding for infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, transport, roads, parks and open spaces. You can find out more on the Department of Planning’s website.

Mayor of Woollahra Councillor Richard Shields said: "These proposed reforms are a huge assault on our community and the way we live and to think that the Government believes they can just steamroll ahead with these changes with minimal consultation is offensive.

“Woollahra Council exceeded the Government’s five year housing target by 70% in 2022 and we are well on track to meet our 6-10 year target. If these changes go ahead we could see a 462% increase in floor space ratio and a 221% increase in building height in and around town centres in a municipality where we already have one of the highest housing densities in Australia, and that’s just not something we can live with.

“If we don’t act on this now we are going to see change forced on us that will have a devastating impact on future generations.

“Here we have proposed changes that threaten the heritage and character of our area where strategic planning, good urban design and local tree canopy are traded for a quick political win. There is no community benefit here, not one.

“I understand that we need to respond to a housing shortage and cost of living and affordable housing are big issues at the moment, but density without infrastructure is completely irresponsible and changes of this magnitude without proper consultation with councils and communities is arrogant and set to fail.”

Our submission to the NSW Government and how to have your say

Council has made a submission to the Government on this issue, highlighting our concern over the lack of regard for existing housing density, overshadowing, local character, existing tree canopy, heritage conservation and local planning controls as well as poor consultation. View it here.

Have your say

The NSW Government public consultation on the proposed changes to the housing policy closed on Friday 23 February.

However we encourage residents who would like to give feedback on the proposed changes to make a submission:

By email to NSW Planning Low and Mid-rise Housing team

By email to The Hon Paul Scully MP Minister for Planning and Public Spaces

By email to The Hon Chris Minns MP Premier of NSW

Parliamentary inquiry on the development of the Transport Oriented Development Program

In addition to providing feedback on the state government proposed planning reforms, communities in NSW are invited to share their comments on proposed housing reforms to the parliamentary inquiry on the Development of the Transport Oriented Development Program. The closing date for submissions is 28 March 2024. Make a submission to the inquiry here.

Visit our Your Say page for more details

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Court Road, Double Bay - an artist impression showing building height and scale permitted under proposed state government changes



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