We’re sorry, this feature is currently unavailable. We’re working to restore it. Please try again later.
Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.
Building proposals that reduce the number of homes will be banned under a plan to prevent the demolition of old housing in inner-city Sydney for luxury apartments.
The City of Sydney on Monday will vote on new planning rules to stop property developers from bulldozing old residential blocks that provide relatively affordable rents for fewer, more expensive dwellings.
An artist’s impression of a proposal to replace an old residential building in Elizabeth Bay with high-end apartments.Credit: Fortis
Building plans that lead to a loss of more than one home or 15 per cent of dwellings on a site will not be permitted to prevent what the council calls “net dwelling loss”.
Greens councillor Sylvie Ellsmore said the new planning rules were the “only way to stop Sydney becoming a ghetto for the rich”.
“The cost of housing is the main reason we are losing workers, artists and other people who don’t have deep pockets from our city,” she said.
“Alongside building new affordable housing, we need to keep the remaining, relatively affordable housing we have now.”
Property developers are targeting old residential blocks in suburbs such as Potts Point, Rushcutters Bay and Elizabeth Bay.Credit: Rhett Wyman
Ellsmore said property developers were targeting old residential blocks in suburbs such as Potts Point, Rushcutters Bay and Elizabeth Bay.
“The housing crisis means we need to create new homes for tens of thousands of new residents in the city,” she said.
“But in the richest part of the city we’re losing housing through development applications to gut or demolish older, relatively affordable apartment blocks to create larger or luxury homes.”
City of Sydney councillor Sylvie Ellsmore said the new planning rules to prevent net dwelling loss are the “only way to stop Sydney becoming a ghetto for the rich”.Credit: Jessica Hromas
A developer has proposed knocking down a block of seven apartments in Potts Point for a single house, while plans have also been submitted to the council to demolish 20 dwellings in the suburb for a new block housing five apartments.
Ellsmore, who highlighted the issue of “net dwelling loss” earlier this year, said 124 apartments will be lost from DAs currently submitted to the council “unless we change the rules”.
“And we are getting more and more of these applications over time.”
Woollahra Council in August voted to investigate new planning rules to prevent a net reduction of dwellings on development sites.
Waverley Council amended planning rules last year to require DAs to “increase or preserve residential dwelling density”.
The City of Sydney has a target of building 56,000 dwellings between 2016 and 2036, while Woollahra has a target of 1200 and Waverley 3400 more homes by 2036.
Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute managing director Michael Fotheringham said in September that data used to set housing targets did not consider dwellings knocked down for new homes.
Ellsmore said the new rules will not stop the renewal of housing stock.
“The rules will protect against the number of apartments being reduced because we’re in a housing crisis where we don’t have enough homes,” she said.
However, property developers say the proposed rules to prevent net dwelling loss are not necessary.
Urban Taskforce chief executive Tom Forrest said it was a “confected problem” used to justify over-regulation that should be rejected by the council or blocked by the state government.
“We are talking about 24 development applications in the context of thousands of new houses in the City of Sydney,” he said. “This is a further restriction on development – the same heavy hand of over-regulation that has created the current crisis.”
The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.
Copyright © 2023