Dulwich Hill still in unwanted urban renewal spotlight
Unfortunately, Dulwich Hill remains very much in the urban renewal cross-hairs of Inner West Council, following the release of the council’s Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS) on 23 September.
Save Dully has prepared a draft submission which can be used to inform resident submissions which close on Sunday, 27 October.
About the LSPS
The LSPS is the high-level strategic document which will guide the development of new planning controls across the LGA.
This document has been prepared by the council’s planning staff.
It has been placed on exhibition until 27 October, without going to a council meeting for a formal vote.
Large parts of the LSPS are based on the release of the council’s draft Housing Strategy in May (which has yet to be endorsed by the council). This strategy proposed up to 660 new dwellings in Dulwich Hill.
It is pleasing to see that some advocacy undertaken by Save Dully in relation to the Housing Strategy may have had an impact on the LSPS.
The LSPS does now reference (twice) the suburb’s existing bandicoot protection zone – the Housing Strategy didn’t.
The LSPS doesn’t include references to the Sydenham to Bankstown corridor as being a major urban renewal area (unlike the Housing Strategy).
However, that is where the concessions start and end and there are still many other matters of concern for Dulwich Hill. These are outlined below:
The council has listed six proposed areas to be investigated for urban renewal from this year – these areas are near Dulwich Hill and Marrickville railway stations and four precincts along Parramatta Rd.
However, the council has added a condition to the LSPS that it won’t examine new planning controls for the Parramatta Rd precincts until the NSW Government provides “mass transit on dedicated lanes”.
This means that Dulwich Hill and Marrickville are expected to be the only two areas across the LGA where the council is investigating new housing supply from 2019.
This appears to be a highly concentrated approach to delivering growth.
It appears remarkable that no other centres or areas are being considered, or seen as appropriate, for new supply in the immediate future.
Separately, investigations into urban renewal around the Arlington Grove and Waratah Mills light rail stops will begin in 2026.
This means that, over the next seven years, Dulwich Hill will sit alongside Leichhardt as having the most number of urban renewal investigations in the Inner West LGA.
Impacts on existing residential areas
Unlike the LSPSs released by other Sydney council areas, there are no explicit statements in relation to avoiding rezoning impacts on existing residential areas.
In fact, council officers have told us privately that the Greater Sydney Commission’s prohibition on the rezoning of industrial areas – which the council strongly supports – is placing more pressure on the council to rezone existing residential areas in suburbs such as Dulwich Hill.
Furthermore, the former Leichhardt Council was more active in putting in place heritage conservation areas, which means less growth in these areas and more rezoning pressure on the southern part of the LGA, including Dulwich Hill and Marrickville.
The council staff and their consultants also believe that Dulwich Hill is one of the “less constrained” areas for development in the LGA.
New North-South Metro line
The LSPS includes a council-proposed idea for a new north-south Metro line, from Drummoyne, through Ashfield and down through Dulwich Hill and Ashfield.
This line would not appear to service areas currently without public transport, but would greatly intensify development pressure on Dulwich Hill.
This idea has not been generated by the local community, but by transport idealists advising the council.
Bandicoot protection areas
As mentioned above, the LSPS now references our existing gazetted bandicoot protection areas, which is a positive.
However, there is no guarantee this will make any difference to future development proposed in Dulwich Hill.
In fact, the Housing Strategy is proposing an intensification of development in the exact areas covered by the bandicoot protection zone.
Council officers have also privately told us that new housing will still be allowed in the bandicoot protection zone.
There appears to be little focus on achieving design excellence, which is of concern given Dulwich Hill’s experience with poor-quality development.
The LSPS propoes to review and consolidate planning controls for retail frontages in main streets and centres – this gives some hope that the council may seek to avoid a further Sydney Tools fiasco where small shop frontages were amalgamated into a single, ugly frontage
The LSPS is looking at adopting a principle in planning controls whereby new uses (such as new apartment buildings) will need to illustrate they are compatible with existing night-time economy uses – rather than the other way around. This presents some hope that Dulwich Hill’s nascent night-time economy will be supported.
Our positive alternate vision
Please check out Save Dully's alternate high-level vision, called Our Suburb, Our Future, prepared in consultation with our members.
The council has placed a number of major documents on exhibition - including an Employment and Retail Strategy and Economic Development Strategy - all of which require a response by 27 October.
The council is already starting to work on a place-based investigation for urban renewal in the southern part of the LGA, including Dulwich Hill, so it is important that residents have their say.