20 Jul 2021

The City of Sydney is forging ahead with plans for more development potential within the Botany Road Precinct. 

This is one of three new strategic precincts aimed at increasing the range of employment floorspace across the LGA. This plan aligns with the projected jobs growth forecast in the City’s Local Strategic Planning Statement.

What is planned?

The Botany Road Precinct, between Redfern train station and McEvoy Street, will provide more commercial floorspace and some affordable housing. This will be achieved through incentivised development within Opportunity sites. The aim is to accommodate mid-rise growth, while taking a nuanced approach in maintaining the unique characteristics of the area, including heritage and indigenous values, and the protection of important open space from overshadowing.

Urbis’ view

We’re pleased to finally see the strategic direction and proposed controls for the Botany Road Precinct, which has been over two years in the making. Given site constraints and land fragmentation, the precinct offers a complex opportunity for growth.

While we support the Council’s initiative to promote employment and affordable housing uplift, we’re concerned that this is another layer of controls at a time when the government is promoting more streamlined planning.

Another important consideration in this draft plan are the incentives tied to limited land uses and what the market responsiveness to this will be in the short to medium term. We believe earlier engagement with more landowners in the precinct should have been undertaken in advance of seeking Council’s endorsement.

It is important that stakeholders take the opportunity to provide Council with open feedback on this at the earliest availability.

What is the proposed Future Development Potential?

Benefiting from linkages to Waterloo metro and Redfern train stations, development will boost the ‘City Fringe’ commercial offering: leveraging demand from the Camperdown-Ultimo Health and Education Precinct, Tech Central, and South Eveleigh.

The City are using the mechanisms of bonus floor space ratio (FSR) and building height controls to incentivise desired land uses, which in the Precinct will cater for up to 280,000 sqm of new employment floor space. This will occur in Opportunity sites as noted on the diagram.

Botany Road precinct opportunities. Source: City of Sydney

What are the Incentives?

The current maximum height controls within the Precinct generally range from 2 to 6 storeys, with taller buildings – up to 25-storeys – allowed in the Waterloo Metro Quarter and Redfern-Waterloo Authority Area.

The proposed incentivised height and FSR will vary on each block. Taller buildings will be grouped on sites closer to Redfern station, with new maximum heights for commercial development proposed to be up to 17 storeys. Different incentive FSRs, including employment FSR, will apply to development types and locations.

Design Excellence triggers for further additional FSR (not height) will also apply to the precinct.

Where are the Housing opportunities?

Affordable housing developments will be located where they do not adversely impact the future viability for commercial developments. These are to be owned and managed by community housing providers and will be subject to stretch sustainability targets. 

Some sites have been identified as more suitable as residential, particularly on Wyndham Street and Cope Street. Building heights and FSR are proposed to be slightly increased on these sites (6-8 storeys). An additional affordable housing contribution will be applied to these sites because of the FSR uplift.

Residential development can still be undertaken under existing controls but will not have any incentive provisions.

Potential development outcome. Source: City of Sydney

Connecting with Country

Important initiatives to support the Connection with Country include culturally appropriate affordable housing, public art requirements and more detailed consultation, collaboration and acknowledgement of Traditional Owners and custodians.

Next Steps?

The amending planning controls for the Precinct will be presented to Council on 26 July with a recommendation for application to the State government for an approval for public exhibition, anticipated in October, with finalisation of the amending plans by May 2022.

Our team of experts are examining the draft provisions and will keep you updated on potential impacts of this and other strategic precincts.

For further information on Botany Road Precinct and how the new plan may affect you, please contact:

Tim Blythe View Profile
Andrew Harvey View Profile
Ashleigh Ryan View Profile
Stephen White View Profile