Why is Council asking about centres?

    Council is preparing centre plans to shape the upgrades and development in centres over the next 20 years. Our centres will continue to grow and change as will the demands on them. Vibrant centres have a variety of uses and activities – both day and night. Centres that are accessible, prioritise pedestrians, and have new and exciting spaces support businesses, encourage people to linger longer and provide housing options.

    Council wants to understand what is important to the community for the future of our centres so that this can be considered while we plan.

    Why are centres plans being prepared?

    To maintain the viability of centres Council, must be thinking ahead. Centre plans will shape local planning controls through a new LEP. They will also guide redevelopment of the centres and be used to direct Council investment and prioritise future infrastructure works.

    The State Government and the South District Plan require all councils plan for growth and change. Councils must prepare local housing and centres strategies which deliver on State housing and employment targets. These centre plans will help inform the new Housing Strategy as some of the required housing is will be in our centres.

    What principles will guide the development of centre plans?

    Planning for centres will aim to:

    • Encourage centres as meeting places, with a focus for local shopping, entertainment, services and transport
    • Enhance the distinctive character of centres
    • Promote local centres as important for jobs and services
    • Promote improved accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists
    • Explore opportunities to promote investment.

    Why is Council consulting only on three centres only?

    At this time, Council is preparing plans for three centres:

    • Caringbah
    • Miranda
    • Sutherland/Kirrawee.

    Miranda and Sutherland/Kirrawee are a focus for more jobs, infrastructure, investment and business opportunities. Caringbah benefits from proximity to hospitals and has significant unrealised development potential.

    Further centre plans will be prepared for the Shire’s other centres as time and resources allow. 

    Why do we need to encourage redevelopment in our centres?

    Much of the existing building stock in centres is in need of renewal. A centre thrives when new and exciting shopping and dining experiences are provided, residents move in to new apartments and new public spaces and pedestrian links are provided. All of this requires centre redevelopment.

    While there has been a development boom in the residential areas of Sutherland Shire in recent years, the centres have not seen the same amount of redevelopment. Redevelopment can be difficult because it is costly for businesses, requires multiple shopfronts to work collaboratively and the opportunity for a return on investment. 

    Council can incentivise new development through increased development controls (i.e. additional building height and floor space) which can make redevelopment more financially viable. Recent community engagement has found that our community prefers that taller buildings be located in centres. 

    What will the centres plans influence?

    The centres plans will guide new development - including the appropriate mix of employment and residential development, new building forms as well as identify any public domain and upgrades to public infrastructure - to ensure centres meet our future needs.

    The centres plans will guide changes to the Sutherland LEP (SSLEP2015) and Development Control Plan (DCP2015).

    Can more car parking be provided in centres?

    It is difficult to balance the parking needs of the different centre users. Customers need accessible parking with good turnover. Workers and residents want longer term parking options - but all day parking is dormant for much of the day, which does not help businesses. 

    Parking is costly to build and adversely affects the viability of redevelopment - both residential and business development. Funding public car parking results in less Council funding available for other Council facilities and centre improvements.

    People will linger longer and walk further when centres provide better footpaths, landscaping, and attractive facilities. Cycling and walking networks and links to public transport will reduce car parking demand.

    Can existing services and infrastructure support growth?

    Managing growth is a significant challenge, particularly with regards to the capacity of the existing infrastructure network. As part of preparation of the new Local Environmental Plan, Council will be consulting with infrastructure providers to understand any constraints and plans for local investment so we can align infrastructure and services with growth.  

    What happens next?

    Council values your feedback. The issues raised will be used to explore development options and solutions to respond to the changing needs of the community.  Draft centre plans are expected to be exhibited in first half of 2022, to inform amendments to Council’s Local Environmental Plan and Development Control Plan.