Sydney CBD Height Increase Good For Growth, But Comes At Cost


The Central Sydney Planning Strategy released by the City of Sydney has significantly increased building heights but developers and ultimately the consumers will need to pay for the increase, said the Urban Taskforce.

“The Urban Taskforce has been calling for taller towers in the Sydney CBD so we are supportive of the increase in height to 310 metres,” said Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson.

“We are however concerned that to achieve the increased heights developments must share the value of the uplift with the City Council.”

“The Central Sydney Planning Strategy is establishing a planning framework where most projects will be negotiated outcomes through planning proposals.

"The report outlining the strategy calls for a streamlining of the Gateway process undertaken by the Department of Planning which can take many months,” he said.

The Sydney CBD strategy continues a trend with Sydney councils to set height limits but to then trade off extra heights for financial contributions to infrastructure.

"Value Capture has become the new buzz word but every council has different rules. It will be important for the NSW Government through the Greater Sydney Commission and the Department of Planning to establish clear policies about a flexible planning system based on trading floor space.

“The Urban Taskforce is concerned that the City of Sydney seems to be discouraging residential development in its strategy. The strong preference is for commercial towers. Residential only towers are not allowed. This approach will have an impact on the physical shape of the city with fatter commercial towers rather than slim residential towers," Mr Johnson said.

“The State Government will need to interact with the city on the future balance of residential and commercial space in the city. The State Government projects at Barangaroo, Darling Harbour and Central station seem to be the main drivers of residential accommodation. It is important that the city has a good amount of residential accommodation where people can walk to work and the city can be alive all day and through the week.

“The new strategy is very detailed and it will take some time for the industry to fully understand the implications of the changes to policy.

"The Urban Taskforce is keen to work with the City of Sydney in understanding the strategy fully and in ensuring it is economically viable from the market place. If there are too many levies and affordable housing contributions then projects may not go ahead,” concluded Mr Johnson

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