Digesting Sydney's Draft District Plans (Part 1)

13 January 2017

What does the release of The Greater Sydney Commission's Draft District Plans mean for property and business owners, investors and the development sector?

Introducing the District Plans for Sydney.

On 21 November 2016 the newly formed Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) released their much anticipated Draft District Plans aimed at guiding the future sustainable growth of the city through to 2036. In addition to this, a Draft Amendment to the Sydney Metropolitan Plan, A Plan for Growing Sydney has also been released titled "Towards our Greater Sydney 2056".

With thousands of pages of content to sift through, the GSC set has an almighty task for the humble property owner, business guru, investor and developer to understand what the plans mean for them. At APP we've digested the key messages from the GSC's District Plans into a three-part blog series to better inform our clients of how the district visions will affect their properties and business investments.

The Districts: A Reinvention of Greater Sydney

Essentially, the GSC has established 6 districts of Greater Sydney including:

Western District: Extending from Penrith northward to Richmond, Windsor and the Greater Hawkesbury, across to the west to Katoomba and our heritage listed Blue Mountains.

Central District: A broadened version of our jewel in the crown - the Sydney CBD and Harbour - extending westward to encapsulate the new Bays Precinct, Burwood, Strathfield and Canada Bay as well as the Waverley and Woollahra local government areas on the eastern peninsula.

Northern District: Extending from North Sydney to the Brooklyn Bridge at Mooney Mooney. This district takes in the northern peninsula and the beaches between Manly and Palm Beach, westward to Macquarie Park and Epping.

Southern District: Comprising the Sutherland Shire, the newly formed Georges River Council, Botany and the Airport. Interestingly the newly formed Canterbury-Bankstown Council is also incorporated into this district.

West Central District: The new nominated 'heart' of Sydney incorporating the Greater Parramatta region and the Olympic Peninsula, The Hills and Blacktown (traditionally identified as the North-West) and the newly reformed Cumberland Council reminiscent of the days of the County of Cumberland.

South Western District: Investors unite! Home to the new Western Sydney Aerotropolis at Badgery's Creek as well as the booming areas of Liverpool, Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield and extending to the Wollondilly Shire. 

The GSC model has effectively re-drawn the Sydney Metropolitan as we've come to know it. No longer a 'city of cities', rather a city of districts, each with one or more metropolitan centres focussed around their own unique geophysical contexts and specialist economies. Defining features include:

  • No 'North-Western' district with The Hills and Blacktown local government areas drawn into the new Central West District;
  • Canterbury - Bankstown has been included as part of the South District, not the South-West; 
  • Whilst the new Airport is identified as the new Western City, it is actually located in the South Western District;
  • The traditional idea of 'central' Sydney focussed around the CBD and inner harbour areas is redefined to encapsulate the broader inner west areas south of the Parramatta River; and
  • Parramatta is promoted as the new Metropolitan core with its future economic and social significance highlighted above those redefined secondary city centres of Liverpool and Penrith. 

Sydney’s Districts (Source: NSW Department of Planning & Environment)

Significance of the GSC Model

The GSC's revised approach to understanding the complexities of the Sydney Metropolitan represents a more informed understanding of the city's geophysical, demographic, socio-economic and future growth conditions. The approach will likely have significant implications for how the city will grow and transition over the net 20 years with respect to:

  • Infrastructure delivery;
  • Council amalgamations and coordination across government sectors;
  • Alterations to the planning legislative framework;
  • The composition of communities and changing demographics;
  • The delivery of housing stock and assurance of sustainable economic growth for business;
  • The decentralisation of business parks and strategic centres; and
  • Strategic planning.

In Part 2 we'll discuss the significance of the District Plans for property owners and businesses and how the plans might affect these stakeholders in the future. Our expert consultants are here to answer all questions related to the GSC's release of the District Plans and our town planners are able to represent the interests of our clients by making formal submissions to the plans by the end of March 2017.

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