Building and development
Do you need approval?
Common minor works such as fences, air conditioners and swimming pools often do not require Council approval if they meet certain guidelines. See if your work is exempt or complying development.
Most significant developments require you to submit a development application (DA) to gain consent (approval). For all development that is not exempt or complying, the rules are contained in the documents below. Start with the Woollahra Local Environmental Plan 2014 (Woollahra LEP 2014), then determine which chapters of Woollahra Development Control Plan 2015 (Woollahra DCP 2015) apply. In some cases, a state environmental planning policy (SEPP) will also apply.
If you are proposing to carry out development to a heritage item or to a building, work, relic, tree or place in a heritage conservation area, and the development is considered by Council to be of a minor nature or maintenance, development consent may not be necessary. See if your work is of a minor nature or maintenance.
Woollahra development rules (SEPPs, REP, LEPs and DCPs)
Local Environmental Plans (LEPs)
Woollahra LEP 2014
Woollahra LEP 2014 commenced on 23 May 2015.
Woollahra LEP 2014 contains two parts – a written instrument and a series of maps:
- Written instrument
The written instrument comprises land use tables and a series of clauses that regulate development throughout the local government area (LGA).
The first map is the Land Application Map which establishes where the LEP applies. It includes all land in the LGA. For the remaining maps, the LGA has been divided up into a series of map 'tiles'. Each tile relates to the same geographical area.
- Council's LEP map viewer
Council has produced a viewer that allows users to search for a specific property by address and see relevant LEP information such as zoning, maximum building height and heritage status. The map layers should be treated as being reference documents only.
- Explanatory information - Land Use Matrix (PDF)
The Land Use Matrix helps you work out what land uses may be carried out in each of the land use zones that apply under Woollahra LEP 2014. The matrix also shows you the land uses that are permitted under State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs). Please note that the matrix is a guide only, and it is not a substitute for the zoning tables contained in the Woollahra LEP 2014 or the land uses that are permitted under relevant SEPPs.
Draft LEPs / Planning Proposals
Current planning proposals
Planning proposal for 42-58 Old South Head Road, Vaucluse
Submissions closed Friday 17 November 2017
Previous planning proposals
Proposed changes to the land management controls of Dunara Reserve, Point Piper
Planning proposal did not proceed
Planning proposal for Ian Street and Wilberforce Avenue Car Parks, Rose Bay
Amended planning controls came into effect 8 June 2018
Planning proposal 190-200 Boundary Street, Paddington
Amended planning controls came into effect 24 November 2017
Planning proposal for 374 and 376-382 New South Head Road, Double Bay
Amended planning controls came into effect 13 October 2017
Planning proposal for 636 and 638-646 New South Head Road, Rose Bay
Amended planning controls came into effect 18 August 2017
Planning proposal for Street Name Inlays
Listed as local heritage items 16 December 2016
Planning proposal for Yarranabbe Park and Rushcutters Bay Park Seawall
Listed as local heritage items 16 December 2016
Planning proposal for 80-84 and 90 New South Head Road, Edgecliff
Amended planning controls came into effect 25 November 2016
Planning proposal for 83 and 83A Yarranabbe Road, Darling Point
Planning proposal did not proceed
Planning proposal for 48 Duxford Street, Paddington
Planning proposal did not proceed
Planning proposal for 529-539 Glenmore Road, Edgecliff
Planning proposal did not proceed
Planning proposal for 240-246 New South Head Road, Edgecliff (Thane Building)
Amended planning controls came into effect 10 October 2014
Requests for planning proposals
Information on requests for planning proposals can be found here.
Previous LEPs - WLEP 1995 & WLEP No. 27
Woollahra LEP 1995
Woollahra LEP 1995 was repealed by Woollahra LEP 2014 on 23 May 2015. For new applications, please see Woollahra LEP 2014.
As per the savings provision relating to development applications (see Cl 1.8A in Woollahra LEP 2014), if a development application was made and not determined before the 23 May 2015, the application must be determined as if Woollahra LEP 2014 has not commenced.
The Woollahra LEP 1995 text and associated maps are provided below.
Woollahra LEP 1995 written instrument (PDF, 1.5 MB)
Woollahra LEP 1995 land use (zoning) map (PDF, 2.9 MB)
Woollahra LEP 1995 height map (PDF, 1.8 MB)
Woollahra LEP 1995 density map (PDF, 2.5 MB)
Woollahra LEP 1995 heritage conservation map (PDF, 2.2 MB)
Woollahra LEP 1995 foreshore building lines map (PDF, 1.9 MB)
Woollahra LEP 1995 acid sulphate soils map (PDF, 2 MB)
Woollahra LEP No. 27 - applying to Strickland House, Vaucluse
Woollahra LEP No. 27 (15 January 1988, as amended) applied to the land at Strickland House, Vaucluse until 23 May 2015 when it was repealed by Woollahra LEP 2014. Under WLEP No. 27 the site is zoned Special Uses 5(a) (Hospital) and is identified as a heritage item.
Download LEP (PDF, 1 MB)
Download Map Extracts (PDF)
What is an LEP?
An LEP or ‘local environmental plan’ is Council’s main legal document for controlling development and guiding planning decisions made by Council to ensure that growth and development occurs in a planned and coordinated manner consistent with Council and community expectations and needs.
- An LEP contains land use zones which establish where residential, commercial, recreation and other uses can occur. It has development controls for buildings and land, including controls for height, floor space, subdivision and lot size. An LEP also provides protection for trees, heritage items, heritage conservation areas and environmentally sensitive areas.
An LEP is made by Council in consultation with the community, and approved by the Minister for Planning, according to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.
It is reviewed every 7 to 10 years to ensure that the LEP is forward looking and suitably addresses current and emerging planning issues.
What are land use zones?
Land use zones are a way of locating compatible land uses together. Land use zones establish the type of land uses that are permitted (with or without consent) or prohibited in each zone. For example, a hotel may be permitted in a business zone but prohibited in an area zoned for residential purposes.
Typical zoning colours are shades of pink for residential use and shades of blue for commercial use, with recreational areas shown in green.
There are 11 land use zones in Woollahra LEP 2014. These are shown on the Land Zoning Map.
What is the land use table?
Each zone contains specific land uses that are permissible or prohibited. These are listed in the land use table.
Can my house or apartment be used for short-term rental accommodation?
Under Woollahra Local Environmental Plan 2014 (WLEP 2014), bed and breakfasts are permitted 'with consent' in all residential and commercial zones. This means that under WLEP 2014, development consent is needed from Council prior to operating a bed and breakfast.
Bed and breakfast accommodation is defined as:
an existing dwelling in which temporary or short-term accommodation is provided on a commercial basis by the permanent residents of the dwelling and where:
(a) meals are provided for guests only, and
(b) cooking facilities for the preparation of meals are not provided within guests' rooms, and
(c) dormitory-style accommodation is not provided.
Importantly, this type of accommodation is to be provided by the permanent residents of the dwelling who must be present on-site. Short-term accommodation where the permanent residents are absent, e.g. as can be provided by services such as Airbnb, Stayz and Rentbyowner, are not bed and breakfast accommodation. There is no definition in WLEP 2014 for this type of short-term accommodation.
In certain circumstances, bed and breakfast accommodation is permissible as complying development in dwelling houses under Part 1 and Part 4A, Subdivision 1 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (Codes SEPP). For example, the property must be a dwelling house (not an apartment) and have at least 1 off-road car parking space.
Therefore, the short-term leasing of houses and apartments (in residential areas) is not permissible unless a development consent or a complying development certificate has been issued for the use of the property as bed and breakfast accommodation.
Note: If your property is located in a commercial zone, under WLEP 2014 there are a greater range of permissible types of tourist and visitor accommodation, e.g. serviced apartments.
Copies of relevant committee reports and Council resolutions which were published during the preparation and adoption of Woollahra LEP 2014 are available.
Previous consultation on opportunity sites for increased residential development
In 2010 Council planning staff identified 24 sites to potentially increase dwelling capacity and meet the housing targets set out by the NSW Government in the Draft East Subregional Strategy. However, in 2011 Council resolved to defer any further consideration of the proposed planning control changes for the opportunity sites. You can read about how these 'opportunity sites' were identified and the proposed controls for each of them.
Development Control Plans (DCPs)
Woollahra DCP 2015
The Woollahra DCP 2015 applies to the whole LGA. It contains seven parts, and comprises chapters within each part.
Note: Those provisions in Woollahra DCP 2015 that specify requirements, standards or controls that relate to certain matters which are listed in clause 6A of SEPP No 65 Design Quality of Residential Apartment Development have no effect in the assessment and determination of a development application for development to which SEPP No 65 applies.
Residential apartment development is defined in clause 4 of SEPP No 65. It comprises residential flat buildings, shop top housing and mixed use development with a residential accommodation component. The building must be at least three or more storeys (excluding levels below existing ground level or levels that are less than 1.2m above existing ground level that provide car parking). The building must contain at least four or more dwellings.
All other provisions of Woollahra DCP 2015 can be applied to the assessment and determination of a DA for development to which SEPP No 65 applies.
Part A: Introduction and Administration
Part A applies to all development applications (DAs).
Part B: General Residential
Part B applies to DAs proposed on land located within certain residential precincts and neighbourhood heritage conservation areas.
- Chapter B1 - Residential Precincts
- Chapter B2 - Neighbourhood Heritage Conservation Areas
- Chapter B3 - General Development Controls
Part C: Heritage Conservation Areas
Part C applies to DAs proposed on land located within the heritage conservation areas of Paddington, Woollahra and Watsons Bay.
- Chapter C1 - Paddington Heritage Conservation Area
- Chapter C2 - Woollahra Heritage Conservation Area
- Chapter C3 - Watsons Bay Heritage Conservation Area
Part D: Business Centres
Part D applies to DAs proposed on land in the Edgecliff, Double Bay and Rose Bay Centres, as well as to land zoned B1 Neighbourhood Centre or B4 Mixed Use Centre under the Woollahra LEP.
- Chapter D1 - Neighbourhood Centres
- Chapter D2 - Mixed Use Centres
- Chapter D3 - General Controls for Neighbourhood and Mixed Use Centres
- Chapter D4 - Edgecliff Centre
- Chapter D5 - Double Bay Centre
- Chapter D6 - Rose Bay Centre
Part E: General Controls for All Development
Part E contains general controls which can apply to development irrespective of location. It establishes controls that all applications must consider.
- Chapter E1 - Parking and Access
- Chapter E2 - Stormwater and Flood Risk Management
- Supporting document:
- Chapter E3 - Tree Management
- Chapter E4 - Contaminated Land
- Chapter E5 - Waste Management
- Chapter E6 - Sustainability
- Chapter E7 - Signage
- Chapter E8 - Adaptable Housing
Part F: Land Use Specific Controls
Part F applies to DAs relating to specific development types. The controls in Part F apply in addition to the controls in Parts B, C or D (as relevant).
- Chapter F1 - Child Care Centres
- Chapter F2 - Educational Establishments
- Chapter F3 - Licensed Premises
- Chapter F4 - Telecommunications
Part G: Site-Specific Controls
Part G applies to DAs proposed on specific sites. The controls in Part G apply in addition to the controls in Parts B, C or D (as relevant).
- Chapter G1 - Babworth House, Darling Point
- Chapter G2 - Kilmory, Point Piper
- Chapter G3 - Hawthornden, Woollahra
- Chapter G4 - 9a Cooper Park Road, Bellevue Hill
- Chapter G5 - 3-9 Sisters Lane, Edgecliff
- Chapter G6 - 4A Nelson Street and 118 Wallis Street, Woollahra
- Chapter G7 - Former Royal Women’s Hospital, Paddington
Woollahra DCP 2015: Full Document
Woollahra DCP 2015 Full Document (PDF, 44.9 MB)
Current Draft DCPs
Draft Woollahra Development Control Plan 2015 (Amendment No. 4) – Roof terraces, lifts and lift overruns
Submissions closed: 4:30pm, Friday 2 November 2018
Draft Woollahra Development Control Plan 2015 (Amendment No. 3) - Indoor residential amenity and subterranean habitable spaces
Submissions closed: 4.30pm, Friday 26 October 2018
Previous Draft DCPs
Draft Woollahra Development Control Plan 2015 (Amendment No.2) - Chapter B3 - General Development Controls
Chapter B3 General Development Controls of Woollahra DCP 2015, approved on 10 April 2017 and commenced on 19 April 2017
Draft Woollahra Development Control Plan 2015 (Amendment No.1) - Chapter E1 - Parking and Access
Chapter E1 Parking and Access of Woollahra DCP 2015, approved on 12 December 2016 and commenced on 21 December 2016
Woollahra DCP 2015 - Repealed or Amended Chapters
These chapters have either been repealed or amended.
As per the savings and transitional provisions relating to development applications (see A1.1.9 in Woollahra DCP 2015), these chapters continue to apply to development applications, applications to modify development consents and applications for review of a determination that were made prior to, but not determined before the chapter was repealed or amended.
Previous DCPs & Codes
As per the savings and transitional provisions relating to development applications (see A1.1.9 in Woollahra DCP 2015), these DCPs and codes continue to apply to development applications, applications to modify development consents and applications for review of a determination, that were made prior to but not determined on 23 May 2015.
Woollahra Residential DCP 2003 (PDF, 2.7 MB)
Paddington Heritage Conservation Area DCP 2008 (PDF, 3.1 MB)
Watsons Bay Heritage Conservation Area DCP (PDF, 7.7 MB)
Woollahra Heritage Conservation Area DCP (PDF, 4 MB)
Access DCP (PDF)
Child Care Centres DCP (PDF)
Neighbourhood Centres DCP (PDF, 2.2 MB)
Parking DCP (PDF)
DCPs applying to specific properties
Babworth House DCP (PDF, 1.9 MB)
Bishopscourt DCP (PDF)
Hawthornden DCP (PDF)
Kilmory DCP (PDF, 1.3 MB)
Woollahra DCP 2015 replaced all existing DCPs and repealed these three codes:
Private Stormwater Code (PDF)
What is a DCP?
A DCP is a document prepared by Council to guide people when they propose to carry out development. It is also used by Council when it assesses and determines development applications.
A DCP contains detailed planning and building design guidelines for new development and for alterations and additions to existing development. A DCP operates with the Council's local environmental plan (LEP).
View copies of relevant Urban Planning Committee and Strategic and Corporate Committee reports and Council resolutions which were published during the preparation and adoption of Woollahra DCP 2015.
Woollahra Section 94 and Section 94A Contributions Plans
Contributions plans prepared under section 7.11 or 7.12 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (formerly section 94 and 94A) allow funds to be raised from approved development applications and complying development applications. The funds are used for the intended provision, extension or augmentation of public facilities, or towards recouping the cost of facilities that have been provided, extended or augmented. Applies to the whole municipality.
State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) and Regional Environmental Plan (REP)
Sydney REP (Sydney Harbour Catchment) 2005
The plan aims to establish a balance between promoting a prosperous working harbour, maintaining a healthy and sustainable waterway environment and promoting recreational access to the foreshore and waterways.
The Foreshores and Waterways Area Boundary Map (PDF) from the Department of Planning indicates land to which this plan applies.
This document is available from the NSW Legislation websites.
SEPP (Building Sustainability Index: BASIX) 2004
BASIX ensures homes are designed to use less potable water and be responsible for fewer greenhouse gas emissions by setting energy and water reduction targets for houses and units. BASIX is one of the most robust sustainable planning measures in Australia.
When you enter information about your development on the BASIX website, the system analyses your data and determines how it scores against the energy and water targets. If your development meets the criteria, you will be provided a BASIX Certificate which you need to submit with your development application. More information on the Environment and BASIX.
The policy is available from the NSW Legislation website.
Other State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs)
The following SEPP documents may or may not apply to your development. A full list of all SEPPS can be found at the NSW Legislation website.
SEPP No 6 - Number of Storeys in a Building
Provides the definition of how to determine the number of storeys, floors or levels a building contains.
SEPP No 22 - Shops and Commercial Premises
Allows a shop or commercial premise "change of use" if the change has minor environmental effect and consent is given by the council.
SEPP No 55 - Remediation of Land
Provides for a statewide planning approach to the remediation of contaminated land for the purpose of reducing the risk of harm to human health or any other aspect of the environment.
SEPP No 65 - Design Quality of Residential Apartment Development
This policy outlines nine design quality principles for the development of residential flat buildings, shop top housing and mixed use development with a residential component. The building must be at least three or more storeys and contain at least four or more dwellings. The Department of Planning's Apartment Design Guide is an accompanying document developed to support this SEPP.
SEPP No 71 - Coastal Protection
Provides controls for any development within the NSW coastal zone and the Woollahra Municipality. This applies to South Head and the following coastline.
SEPP (Housing for Seniors or People with a Disability) 2004
This Policy aims to encourage the provision of housing for seniors by setting aside local planning controls that would otherwise prevent such development, by providing design principles, and by ensuring that applicants provide support services for seniors or people with a disability on adjoining land.
SEPP (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009
Provides incentives for new affordable rental housing, facilitates the retention of existing affordable rentals, and expands the role of not-for-profit providers.