Concord West

By Councillor Charles Jago

On this page:

  • Information about recent NSW government plans for greater housing density
  • Notes on current developments
  • More on the North Strathfield strategic plan expected in July or August
  • Other notes on development applications (DAs) and planning proposals.

You may have heard about the NSW government’s plans (to be released for public consultation “mid-year”) for increasing housing density which will directly affect residents in our area.

I support well-planned new medium density housing in Canada Bay LGA – “building up, not out” – because the alternative is cutting down forests including koala habitat on the outskirts of Sydney and converting farmland into urban sprawl. I recently distributed a letter to Concord West residents outlining the government’s proposals and raising my concerns about them.

Concord West letter on NSW government housing plans
Concord West letter on NSW government housing plans

The proposed NSW government changes (see map below) will allow increased density within 800 metres of a railway station and some shopping centres. In medium density (R3) zones – that’s the deep purple area on the map, those changes will allow greater height to apartment blocks, with six storeys allowed within 400m and four storeys within 800m. In low density residential zones, they will allow more duplexes, terraces, town houses and single-block, two-storey apartment buildings (called “manor houses”).

Proposed NSW government changes with current zoning
Proposed NSW government changes with current zoning

The government is hoping to start these programs this year, so major changes will be coming quickly. The council can’t change these government policies.

Like most people, I want to see the housing crisis resolved. However, the government’s plan will impact the liveability and amenity of our area. The proposed plans will:

  • Overload traffic access into the area along George Street (for people on the western side of the railway line).
  • Encourage many apartments and single houses side by side because of poorly-written proposed new rules.
  • Lead to a greater loss of trees and habitat destruction;
  • Increase the infrastructure gap in green space, trains, buses, roads, schools, health and more.
  • Put around 80% of heritage buildings at risk across Canada Bay LGA by redevelopment of heritage buildings. That’s unacceptable.
  • Introduce “cookie cutter” rules which throw out past community consultation and the council’s planning prep both done and underway.
  • a reduction in permanent new affordable housing.

I have strong doubts that these changes will actually increase housing supply for those who are struggling to afford it, without a substantial government commitment to more social and affordable housing and improvements for renters.
Despite public criticism, major changes are coming anyway. As a Greens councillor, I support the Government’s idea to build up, not out. However, I am calling for:

  • Government to let the council improve the proposed planning rules in consultation with the community.
  • We want liveable suburbs. Existing proper protections for heritage and the environment must continue, as well as a significant proportion of permanent affordable and social housing.
  • The government must fund and expedite more infrastructure in green space, public transport, roads and schools – especially a new public high school and a major upgrade for the T9 Northern train line.

Note that government rezoning does not force anybody to sell their property. However, it is very likely that some owners will sell to take advantage of increased housing values. It will still affect your street.

Notes on current developments

As of 11th July 2024.

1 King Street, Concord West (old Westpac site)

This site is currently zoned industrial, and is also specifically mentioned in Canada Bay Council’s Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS – which sets out the strategic planning intentions for Canada Bay as a whole) as a site of future importance.

In the council’s December 2023 meeting, councillors discussed a planning proposal from Billbergia, who propose to build 10 buildings ranging from 4 to 12 storeys with over 700 dwellings in a range of 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom apartments and townhouses. Councillors supported the proposal subject to some significant changes to scale and environmental controls, which would reduce the development to about 600 dwellings. The planning proposal is still with the NSW Government waiting on a “gateway approval” before going on public exhibition.

7 Concord Avenue, Concord West (Paintball/ Gokart site – flood zone)

This site is currently zoned industrial. A previous planning proposal for residential development at 7 Concord Avenue was rejected on 28 April 2021 by the Eastern Planning Panel, on the basis of major flooding problems.

A second residential planning proposal was now been put forward, for 7 buildings from 7 to ten storeys comprising 324 apartments. This proposal was rejected by councillors at the 18th June 2024 council meeting. Although this planning proposal had massive problems, the owners have since lodged a review with the Eastern Planning Panel.

At the same time, the owners are also pursuing a development application lodged 3/4/2024 under the existing zoning for “integrated development including proposed demolition of existing buildings, construction of 68 industrial units, tree removal, installation of infrastructure and landscaping.” It is expected to go to the Eastern Planning Panel.

25 George Street, North Strathfield

The developer is seeking approval to add 3 storeys to the front building and one storey to each of the two back buildings, amounting to an additional 41 apartments and a new total of 186 apartments. Apparently, the intention is to get a 30% bonus due to the government’s new rules. This is still being reviewed by council staff. With significant opposition, it is then expected to go to the Eastern Planning Panel.

North Strathfield strategic plan expected in July or August

The NSW government currently has consultants working on a strategic plan including much greater density. It will centre around North Strathfield but is expected to include other areas including the Strathfield Triangle and potentially areas north of Pomeroy Street. The plan is expected to be put on public exhibition in July or August.

Other notes on development applications (DAs) and planning proposals

A development application (DA) is an application for demolition, construction or renovation under existing zoning, submitted by or on behalf of an owner. It could also be a request to allow the usage of the building to be changed, eg from residential to business use.

A planning proposal is a document that requests permission to amend the Local Environmental Plan (LEP), the council’s key planning document. The planning proposal may be a request to alter land uses through rezoning and/or amend the development standards, such as height of building, floor space ratio, heritage, additional permitted uses or other clauses. A planning proposal is the first step in making an amendment to the LEP through the Department of Planning and Environment Gateway Process.

Council staff receive and report on all DAs and planning proposals.

Contested DAs (eg at least ten unique objections) are determined by the “Local Planning Panel”, which deals with Canada Bay DAs but is not actually local, because it is composed mostly of people recruited by the NSW Government and works to rules determined entirely by the NSW government. Their decisions are based on whether a development follows the government rules, not the actual merit of the development.

DAs valued at over $30 million go from staff to the Eastern Planning Panel.

All planning proposals are determined by councillors, with accepted planning proposals going to the government who can then veto or change them. Proponents of planning proposals rejected by Canada Bay Council can still take their planning proposal to the Eastern Planning Panel, who may accept it with whatever changes they wish to make.

Related links

Huge planning rules changes will create problems across Canada Bay LGA

Overdevelopment in Canada Bay

North Strathfield