top of page

Heritage areas to be obliterated as part of NSW Government plan for Dulwich Hill development


In the lead-up to Christmas, the NSW Government has made several major planning control announcements which will affect Dulwich Hill, and many other parts of the Sydney metropolitan area.

These announcements will allow:

  • Flat buildings up to six storeys on all residential land within 400m of Dulwich Hill station

  • Flat buildings up to seven storeys on all land where residential flat buildings are already permitted within 800m of light rail stops, the main Dulwich Hill shops or Dulwich Hill station

  • Developers to breach the above height limits if they deliver short-term affordable housing

  • Additional density – such as terraces, townhouses, dual occupancies and two-storey apartment buildings – in existing low density zones across the suburb.


There will be no protection for existing heritage conservation areas and, in the case of the rezoning within 400m of Dulwich Hill station, no consultation with existing residents.

The NSW Government has now made it clear it is seeking to respond to the current housing situation by removing any local control of strategic planning issues and through broadscale and generic private property development which has no respect for existing character.

The NSW Planning Institute of Australia (which represents town planners) has criticized the announcements, saying they represent a ‘one size fits all’ style of planning “The capacity to accommodate housing density is not just about being near a railway or metro station – it is the full suite of services, schools, social and affordable housing and open space that makes a place liveable – and more inclusive for its community,” said PIA president Sue Weatherley.

Find out more below:

1. Rezonings around Dulwich Hill station

Residents will not have the right to have their say, and heritage areas will be destroyed, as part of the NSW Government’s plan to allow six-storey development within 400m of Dulwich Hill railway station.

On 7 December, NSW Labor Premier Chris Minns and Planning Minister Paul Scully announced plans to support snap rezoning plans around 39 transport hubs. It also released, to pro-development media organisations, a 12-page document about the plans (document can be found at this page).

Dulwich Hill was among the 31 sites known as a Tier Two rezoning.


In these areas, the NSW Government says it will take control of a proposed rezoning of all residential land within 400m of Dulwich Hill railway station, to allow development of up to six storeys. Here are the facts as we know it.



The government has made no commitment to consult with communities or State agencies, before making the plans. Only Inner West Council will be consulted. Nor has it written to affected communities, to let them know what is happening.


This is not consistent with the Department of Planning’s Community Participation Plan, which includes actions to

“keep the community informed”, “build strong partnerships with the community” and “ensure as many community members as possible can participate”.


The previous Liberal Government at least allowed communities the courtesy of being able to comment on plans in their neighbourhood. This does not appear to be case under the new Labor Government.



The released document, and media reports, make clear that existing heritage conservation areas will be subject to the rezoning.


This means streets in the South Dulwich Hill Conservation Area – including Canonbury Grove (see photo below), Challis Avenue, Kays Avenue, Wilga Avenue and School Parade – will be redeveloped.





The previous Liberal Government protected existing heritage areas, and proposed some new areas, in its Sydenham to Bankstown urban renewal plans.


This map shows how the 400m radius intersects with the South Dulwich Hill Conservation Area (the radius is approximate only and may be interpreted differently by planning authorities).


Affordable housing


In addition, developers will only be required to set aside 2% of their developments for affordable housing. This is well below Inner West Council’s 15% affordable housing target for new development (in its Affordable Housing Policy) and the former Greater Sydney Commission’s 5-10% target (the current government has decided to abolish this body).



The rezoning is intended to be in place by April 2024, with development applications able to be lodged after this time and construction likely to be underway by late 2024 or 2025.


Development type


Residential flat buildings of up to six storeys will be allowed, with no minimum lot size or frontage required. It is not clear how issues such as existing local biodiversity protections or flooding will be considered.

Infrastructure provision

Details as to how enabling infrastructure will be provided to support new development are vague, with the NSW Government yet to publish the infrastructure contributions that new development will need to pay. However, Dulwich Hill has apparently been chosen because it has existing “enabling infrastructure” which can “support housing growth”.


Have your say

We are now awaiting the release of plans by the NSW Government, on or before April 2024.


Feel free to read the NSW Government document and raise your concerns with the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully.

Save Dully is currently preparing dot points which could be distributed to people on this mailing list.


2. Changes to over-ride planning controls to allow seven-storey apartment buildings and other density increases in other areas of Dulwich Hill

The NSW Government has also exhibited proposed changes to override the Inner West local environmental plan to allow denser development in other parts of Dulwich Hill, and many other parts of the metropolitan area.


Under the changes:

  • Residential flat buildings of up to seven storeys will be allowed within 400m of light rail stops and the main Dulwich Hill shops and up to five storeys within 800m of the above locations (where the land is already zoned for residential flat buildings).

  • Terraces, townhouses and two-storey apartment buildings (manor houses) will be allowed within 800m of the above locations in all existing low density zones

  • Dual occupancies (usually two subdivided dwellings on the one block) will be allowed in all low density zones across NSW.

The changes could mean that people living in existing unit blocks, or low-rise medium density zones, suddenly have seven storey unit blocks next to them, blocking through sunlight and affecting their privacy.

Again, existing heritage conservation areas are not excluded from the above changes.


This means that heritage conservation areas in the north of the suburb (such as the Arlington and Hoskins Park estate) are likely to be affected by the terrace, townhouse and dual occupancy provisions as they are within 800m of a light rail stop or the main Dulwich Hill shops.


By way of reference, any of the sites zoned R1, MU1, E1, R3 or R4 in the map below could be affected by the above change to height limits for unit blocks. The 400m radius rezoning area around Dulwich Hill station – mentioned above – is also shown.


The above map is somewhat quesswork – it would be more helpful if the NSW Government released maps showing the affected areas. The map however shows that very few parts of Dulwich Hill will not be affected by these changes to unit block height limits.


On 15 December 2023, the NSW Government called for feedback on the above proposed changes. Comments are due by 24 February 2024.


Find out more here -


3. Affordable housing reforms

On 14 December, the NSW Government made changes to its State Environmental Planning Policy for Housing to state that, where a proposal includes a minimum of 15 per cent of the gross floor area as affordable housing (for a period of just 15 years) height and floor space controls could be exceeded by up to 30 per cent.


This raises the prospect that the height limits mentioned above may be further exceeded, if a developer provides additional affordable housing.


4. Macarthur Parade decision

In a rare piece of good news, Inner West Council (at its December meeting) voted 12-3 to heritage list four Californian Bungalows and a Baptist Church at Macarthur Parade.







Given these items are in a current low density zone and outside the 400m development radius from Dulwich Hill station, it is likely that the council decision will prevent the homes and church from being demolished.


The homes and church were nominated by Save Dully as ‘Dully icons’ in 2016. Council staff supported the heritage protection.


Thank you to all Councillors who supported this decision, but particularly Ashfield (Djarrawunang) Ward Labor Clrs D’Arienzo and Drury who moved and seconded the motion in the face of strong opposition from the Sydney YIMBY group, and Marrickville Ward Greens Councillor Justine Langford who worked on a proposed amendment. The third Ashfield Ward Councillor, Dylan Griffiths from the Greens, also voted in support.


The Mayor, Darcy Byrne and Labor Councillors Scott and Smith all opposed the decision.


Save Dully lodged a submission in favour of the heritage area, which argued the homes should be preserved but opportunities should be investigated to provide sympathetic infill development behind the homes – delivering a housing and heritage dividend.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


As can be seen from the above, the suburb faces a very uncertain future.

However, we hope our subscribers and members have some time to rest before what is expected to be a very busy 2024.

heritage overlay.jpg
Map 2.jpg
Social media tile.png
bottom of page