Something is happening in the Sutherland Shire, something big, and getting bigger, something that will change the lifestyle of residents forever…

The new Liberal dominated council hasn’t been long in unleashing its plans for a bigger shire, one that perpetuates a lot more high-rise, a lot more units, a lot more subdivision of residential lots, loss of green space, and scant regard for heritage values…

In their first few months already they have released a draft LEP that proposes to change the required zoning of suburban blocks to allow many more duplexes to be built. Already they’ve handed over two large swathes of the shire at Sutherland-Loftus and Caringbah-Miranda to the state government’s urban activation program somehow forgetting to consult with their ratepayers in the process. Already they’ve announced a further 5,500 additional high rise dwellings. Already they’ve up’d the zoning of Cronulla mall to allow six storeys of development in what is essentially currently a one and two storey heritage precinct.  Aleady they’ve set new townhouse height limits up to three stories. Already they’ve allowed single residential lots to be individually redeveloped as units, increased building heights and floor space ratios for units and set 4 stories as minimum, 8 stories preferred. Already they’ve lowered the minimum green space requirement on lots from 40-50% to 25-30%. Already they’ve increased floor space ratios in low density areas to accommodate much larger houses with no backyards. And recently, they’ve announced that they will demolish rather than restore a historic house of the Thomas Holt estate (one of the shire’s first settlements) that previous councils had allowed for and actually purchased in years gone past with the aim of restoration (more on this story soon… yes Mayor Kent Johns, just for you). And already a Save our Shire resident group has been formed in response to what they rightfully see as an attack on their treasured lifestyle, a beachside lifestyle that is known to be relaxed and easy going. And if you live in the fabled shire, you should react too, because I take it on good information that within a few years the shire may not look anything like it currently does, and that should cause concern, if not panic, for those of you who want to retain your lifestyle as it is. This is so clearly a developer friendly council and combined with Brad Hazzard’s developer friendly planning reforms we are in real trouble as a community if we stand by and watch idly. You have only until 1st May to respond, so get busy!

cronulla overdevelopment 2

Breeze Unit Development site.

cronulla overdevelopment 1

Note the lifestyle advertisement.

False nostalgia

False nostalgia.

A lot more of this to come in the shire

The reality… A lot more of this to come in the shire.

Cronulla post office

Cronulla post office. Buildings in the mall are at risk.

Cronulla Commonwealth Bank

Art deco Cronulla Commonwealth Bank. Buildings in the Mall are at risk.

Surfside house, nestled between units. Houses like this are at risk of being lost.

This one makes me laugh… On Geralle Street, between South Cronulla beach and the mall, is a building site for the proposed Breeze development, pictured above. This two story small block is being bulldozed to make way for an over-sized nine storey block of units … What’s comical is the digital images on the safety fence curtains, and on the website, showing iconic images of the shire as it was in days gone by and indeed as it still is to some extent. Blonde haired surfers hanging out at the wall with longboards, wood panelled cars parked outside red brick buildings, you know…the very images of Cronulla that this kind of development is doing its best to quickly crush! So they are advertising the very things that they are bringing to ruin! Now that would be extremely funny, if it wasn’t so serious…

The recent redevelopment of the old library and church on Surf Road was a wake up call… I’m not a ‘shirey’ but I wrote letters to the council fearing the worst. The vintage wood interiors were lost but luckily at least the structure of the twin roofed building was maintained and adapted for use as a trendy restaurant, rather than being bulldozed to rubble.

And that’s all we ask of planners, to adapt and re-use existing heritage buildings rather than smash to pieces, thereby retaining a heritage ‘look’ and communal value, while also keeping our suburbs to what I term ‘human scale’, and a measure of respect to the way these places were designed to look by our forefathers, before developer greed swept in like a tidal wave. Without this thought it won’t take long for Cronulla to look like the Gold Coast, or much worse, and is that what the residents really want? Not the ones I talk to.

Click Save Our Shire webpage here.

Click link to submissions page for Sutherland Council LEP here, before 1st May.

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  1. Dorothy Warwick says :

    Welcome to our world.

    The State Government has passed our Council’s new LEP – which basically had to follow THEIR guidelines. Land along the railway line is now zoned for up to 20 storeys, as are local suburban CBD areas with main streets to have ‘shop-top apartments’.

    Where is the Open Space for all these multi-storey apartment developments?
    There doesn’t appear to be any allowances for Open Space.

    No ‘special use’ land at all, so all schools, churches etc. now take on the zoning of the adjoining properties, EXCEPT the State Heritage Listed house I am involved with. It was changed from ‘special use’ to ‘medium density’ within a low density area because it sits on a substantial piece of land that could be subdivided and sold off! We made submissions against it – but it was passed anyway.

    Community members made a number of submissions against some of the other re-zoning proposals, but very little, if any, decisions were altered.

    If they are going to force people into apartments – how are these people to move around – our roads are grid-locked NOW!

    If you have a look at Parramatta’s grand scheme for the future, there are MANY extremely high residential apartment buildings being proposed – again, how on earth are these people going to get in and out of Parramatta.

    One development being proposed by Meriton has 700 car spaces!!!!!!! – and that’s just ONE development.

    Talk about delusions of grandeur for the area!

    And the worst part is – our heritage items hardly rate a mention. They appear to classed as being ‘in the way’ of development, so I fear that we will see a lot more of them disappear, without even an attempt at saving them, or at the very least, adaptive re-use.

    A sad time ahead for those of us who value our history.

    • inheritanceorg says :

      Thanks Dorothy. Absolutely right…
      This is the future of every Sydney suburb as it stands, a future where the single dwelling quarter acre block is the enemy, and every torrens title home ‘needs’ to be replaced by duplexes or townhouses as soon as possible. Any areas around rail corridors or shopping centre major roads are to become densely packed high rise units, and any heritage architecture that happens to be in the way is just collateral damage.
      Unfortunately for us, many of the buildings around shopping centres are Victorian or Federation style buildings, not designed to deal with mass density living, and therefore what should be seen as valuable heritage is instead seen by planners as ‘in the way’ of their so-called urban activation. Even 60s and 70s style units are seen as underdeveloped and ripe for demolition.
      Liberal dominated councils are working closely with the Liberal state government to re-write all the rules with regards to zoning and town planning, clearly swayed toward developer interests. We, the public, those interested in keeping our heritage for future generations, are not even considered. Nobody I know wants overdevelopment, yet it is more rampant than ever. It is extremely important now for everybody to write submissions against the state govt. White Paper – soon we won’t get the chance.

  2. Ggg says :

    This Shiire is a dud market. No one will buy there especially the chinese

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