Waterloo South Planning proposal – City of Sydney proposal

Anyone interested in urban development will be aware of the long-running proposal by the NSW Government to redevelop the Waterloo South public housing estate under its Communities Plus renewal model.

Image via City of Sydney –
view north along Cooper Street to the new park – Waterloo South planning proposal

The proposal by NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) is a very large-scale project to provide approximately 3,000 dwellings in a mix of social, affordable and private housing in Waterloo.

The City of Sydney is the plan making authority for the site – responsible for making the planning rules for this site. In May 2020, LAHC lodged a request with the City of Sydney to change the planning controls for the southern part of the Waterloo housing estate.

Since then, the City of Sydney has reviewed LAHC’s plans and, using its authority, made some important changes to the LAHC request. One week ago we got to see what those changes were.
According to the City, the changes will improve the living environment for residents, including:

  • streets and walkways will be wider and easier to navigate
  • there will be a new main street with shops and services
  • more of the buildings will be medium rise
  • there will be fewer towers and these will be at the southern edge of the estate, where they will minimise the overshadowing of apartments 
  • there will be more sunlight and wind impacts will be better managed 
  • we’re also proposing more affordable housing and housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,  and

The planning proposal includes space for a large park next to the Waterloo metro station and a smaller park. Also, spaces for community facilities, retail and commercial uses.

For more information about the City’s proposal please access the City of Sydney – Waterloo South Planning Proposal site.

Shelter NSW position on the City of Sydney Waterloo South Proposals
(position communicated February 15, 2021 to the City of Sydney Transport, Heritage and Planning Committee)

  • Shelter supports the City of Sydney as the approval authority for the Waterloo South redevelopment project and recognises its proposal for Waterloo South as a pragmatic one; balancing the requirements of LAHC, its vison for the city and needs of a diverse community.
  • – We share the goal that Waterloo becomes a socially diverse residential population, representative of all types of income, cultural groups and family/household types.
  • – We recognise the commitment to ensuring that the site would have more social dwellings (approximately 170) than current, but caution that this is a modest goal.

Shelter NSW commends the City for:

  • its goal to deliver a substantial number of Affordable Housing dwellings as part of the redevelopment (owned and managed by registered community housing providers in perpetuity). The proposal would see a minimum 20% or approximately 613 affordable dwellings (versus just 150 dwellings proposed by LAHC). This recognises an important group that’s often overlooked – financially stressed renters in the private residential housing market
  • creatively challenging what has become the unfortunate orthodoxy of the NSW Government’s Communities Plus model – that all renewal sites deliver a 70:30 private:social split, regardless of the community need or capacity of the site.
  • its commitment to Indigenous Australians  – with its requirement that at least 10% of the total number of Affordable Housing dwellings be provided for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing; enabling Aboriginal people who are key workers to remain in, return to or move to the area.

Finally, we encourage the City to use its influence, authority and line of sight to:

  • – develop an holistic strategy for the combined LAHC renewal sites (Waterloo, Eveleigh and Glebe) to consider the cumulative impacts – not just on site development and capacity, but for the current residents wondering when they will need to leave their homes and where they will go
  • – adopt the Compact for Renewal as a template for how the City, the state government and other groups can work with tenants to make this protracted process as painless and respectful as possible.
    (NB: the Compact is the result of prior consultations with social housing tenants under a project carried out by Shelter NSW, Tenants’ Union of NSW and the City Futures Research Centre at UNSW.