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24 Aug 2022

Sydney South Planning Panel Rejects Ramsgate Rezoning Plan

Sydney South Planning Panel Rejects Ramsgate Rezoning Plan

An application to rezone a land in Ramsgate town centre, which would have allowed building three residential towers above a supermarket in the southern Sydney suburb, was rejected by the planning authorities.

The Sydney South Planning Panel ruled unanimously that the developers had not shown sufficient reason that they could control the effects of the project's increased traffic.

Point Gate Developments, a joint venture between Woolworths' internal retail development division, Fabcot Pty Ltd, and Melbourne-based developer Time and Place, requested a rezoning review of the Georges River local environmental plan (LEP). They claimed the council had not responded to their request for support 90 days after it was made.

If authorised, the $60 million complex would have included 176 apartments spread across three towers, two of which would have had eight stories and the other six, as well as a Woolworths grocery on the first floor. A community plaza and 20 speciality stores and restaurants were planned, along with 300 spaces for parking.

However, the planning panel claimed in a letter to Catherine McMahon, manager of strategic planning for the Georges River Council, that the project had shown strategic merit but not site-specific merit.

“There was inadequate justification provided to demonstrate that the traffic impacts of the proposal could be managed to support the increased density and uses on this site, in particular the scale of the intensification of use associated with the extent of the full-line supermarket,” the chair of the planning panel Helen Lochhead said in the letter.

“The height and bulk are inconsistent with the proposed future character for the area under the current local environmental plan (LEP) and development control plan (DCP) controls.”

The planning panel agreed with George River, stating that there were still unresolved issues, including excessive height and bulk, an inadequate interface with nearby residential properties, poor visibility of the public square, a lack of deep-soil landscaping, traffic generation and vehicle access, and effects on neighbouring historic properties.

The decision not to submit the request for a gateway determination was definitive, according to the planning panel, and there would be no chance for it to be revisited or contested on the basis of its merits.

“Although the proponent’s request for rezoning review has been unsuccessful, the pre-ponement may still lodge a new proposal for the site in the future,” Lochhead said. 

The Kogarah Bay Progress Association opposed the proposed construction, claiming that it would have “enormous negative impacts on the commercial viability of all of the remaining shops in the Ramsgate village”.

The association warned the plan “set a dangerous precedent for high density creep and over-intensification in all of our village classification centres and other commercial areas within our entire local government area.”

The Sydney South Planning Panel is one of five Sydney and four regional plannings panels across NSW. Each panel, established in 2009, aims to improve decision-making regarding development proposals that would have a large regional impact. It is an autonomous body that does not subject to the direction of the minister of planning and public spaces.