By Tim Blythe | 16 Feb 2016

 

Achieving good planning outcomes for all stakeholders is often a fraught business that comes unstuck due to a variance in views, objectives and a lack of willingness of the relevant parties to work together.

In the complex world of planning in Central Sydney, it is our experience that the best results are achieved through building trust and relationships both with the City of Sydney officers and the local community.

In the complex world of planning in Central Sydney, it is our experience that the best results are achieved through building trust and relationships both with the City of Sydney officers and the local community. Indeed, the great results achieved for the three landmark projects at Circular Quay are all an outcome of the preparedness of our clients to work closely with the City of Sydney in ensuring that the public interest objectives form a central part of the project.  It also requires the City of Sydney to give generously of its time and expertise to work through the issues in a timely, transparent and effective way.

The three Circular Quay projects represents good planning practice, where the client’s objectives have been met in terms of development yield, design and approval time frames, while equally achieving the City’s objectives in creating great public domain through design excellence as well as sufficient funds to curate cultural elements that will enrich the experience of our great city. Circular Quay will undoubtedly be transformed by the combination of these projects and give this tired precinct new life and vitality.

The next 5 years is truly an exciting and challenging period for the Central Sydney area. This will include the completion of the George Street light rail as well as many major project redevelopments including those at Circular Quay. The City has shown a preparedness to work with the planning controls to achieve enhanced public benefit outcomes, such as the amendments that were achieved for the AMP Quay Quarter Precinct. However, the nature of the planning controls means that realising an acceptable development outcome is never easy and important challenges remain.

The shortage of Heritage Floor Space to allocate to major city projects remains a matter of real concern and has the potential to impact on realisation of approved development.

The shortage of Heritage Floor Space (HFS) to allocate to major city projects remains a matter of real concern and has the potential to impact on realisation of approved development. The City of Sydney to their credit has recognised the issue and has commenced the process to provide an alternative mechanism to ensure that the current inability to purchase and allocate HFS to a project does not become an insurmountable barrier to development commencing. Further understanding of the costs of this process is required for the industry to be comfortable that alternative mechanisms will be reasonable and viable.

We also expect 2016 will bring the long awaited Central Sydney Planning Review to public awareness.  This is an important piece of strategic planning work being undertaken by the City of Sydney, the outcomes of which could significantly shape future investment and development in the Central Sydney area.  Ensuring long term floor space capacity for our global city being a primary consideration.  This is something that we will be carefully monitoring and advising on as soon as it becomes publicly available.

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