Randwick Councillors in brutal dilemma as they try to sandbag Kensington and Kingsford against spot rezoning proposals – 21st February 2017

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson publically replies to the emailed concerns about the draft Kensington and Kingsford Planning Strategy from a parent of a child attending the Kensington Public School


Invitation to participate in an online discussion about the  Randwick Council’s Draft Kensington and Kingsford Planning Strategy

Randwick Council has a hard decision to make if it is to prevent 25 storey high rizes in the Kensington and Kingsford town centres.

I am going to post this conversation on the www.randwickbotanygreens.org.au site as goo.gl/h1AjbU.  I will open it up for comments to be posted and I will answer them as one of your elected Councillors.

Thank you for email about your concerns for the Kensington Public School with the attached email from the precinct committee. I ask that you circulate this reply to the parents who attend Kensington Public School as you say that the original KWKP precinct email was.

The following quote is  taken from the invitation to the KWKP precinct meeting and pretty much sums up the appalling dilemma that Randwick City Councillors are in.

TOGA re-applied to the NSW Department of Planning in April 2016, requesting a “gateway determination” from the then Joint Regional Planning Panel “JRPP”. The NSW Dept of Planning expressed the view that the proposal had “merit.” However, the JRPP rejected that planning proposal on the ground that Randwick Council was reviewing its local strategy in Kensington & Kingsford.”

The dilemma is this.

  • Private developers like Toga are trying to get around the Council’s height limits by making direct appeals to the State Government for ‘spot’ rezoning’s that will allow 25 storey buildings in Kensington and Kingsford.
  • The Government happily sends them to the independent JRPP (now the Sydney Central Planning Panel) knowing that the panel will wear the adverse community reaction.
  • The professional town planners who make up the majority of votes on the panel have up until now accepted that the Council’s approach is more sensible than the State Government’s uncoordinated go-for-it attitude and are currently refusing the spot rezoings for 25 towers.
  • But they only do it because they know that the Council is serious about proposing mostly 9 storey’s with three site specific heights of 18 storeys and as professionals they support the principle of integrated planning.
  • But the refusal votes are usually very close. It can sometimes be three votes for refusal against two votes for approval of a 25 storey tower.
  • The moment that the Panel sees that Council is backing away from its draft strategy is the moment when the Panel starts approving random 25 storey towers to jaggedly break the Kingsford and Kensington sky lines.

And that’s the Council’s dilemma. Once we drop our coordinated 9 storey/18 storey draft strategy the private developers will fill the planning vacuum with their spot rezonings which is an outcome that a majority of elected Councillors find appalling and don’t want to see happen on their watch. But because we don’t drop the strategy it is currently open to our own precinct committee KWKP to attack us for promoting higher building limits.

The reality is thus both Labor and Liberal State Governments have taken steps to diminish the planning authority of local Councillors. Labor started it when former Planning Minister Frank Sartor implemented the independent JRPP’s and the Liberals have further refined it by replacing the JRPP in our area with the Sydney Central Planning Panel last year. All the intervention influence that is now left to Randwick City Council is to appeal for a recognition of the principal of integrated development over that of spot rezonings. I refer you to this article.

The Council’s draft Strategy will soon go on public exhibition if the Planning Minister agrees.

I suggest that your valid concerns for the Kensington Public School should be made as a submission calling for more state infrastructure support for it. I point out that, although individual spot rezoning proposals also have to be exhibited, it is unlikely that the state government will ever see the need to supply support to the school for a single tower proposal. Thus the School will be incrementally disadvantaged as each spot rezoning goes through.

Randwick Greens Councillor Murray Matson – @murraymatson

Sent: Tuesday, 21 February 2017 12:59 PM
To: kiel.smith@randwick.nsw.gov.au; kathy.neilson@randwick.nsw.gov.au; lindsay.shurey@randwick.nsw.gov.au; matson@ihug.com.au; brendan.roberts@randwick.nsw.gov.au; tony.bowen@randwick.nsw.gov.au; anthony.andrews@randwick.nsw.gov.au; geoff.stevenson@randwick.nsw.gov.au; ted.seng@randwick.nsw.gov.au; greg.moore@randwick.nsw.gov.au; scott.nash@randwick.nsw.gov.au; harry.stavrinos@randwick.nsw.gov.au; robert.belleli@randwick.nsw.gov.au; mayor@randwick.nsw.gov.au; pat.garcia@randwick.nsw.gov.au
Subject: Kensington Public School

Dear Councillors,

The below message was sent to all parents of Kensington Public School (KPS) last week.

Parents at KPS, myself included, are opposed to the Kensington and Kingsford Draft Planning Strategy because the foreshadowed scale of this development combined with Light Rail infrastructure is innappropriate, will encroach significantly on KPS and parents and children of KPS will suffer a huge loss of amenity.

KPS parents will most certainly be registering their opposition to the proposals made under the Draft Planning Strategy in the near future.

Notwithstanding the KPS community’s opposition, even if Council proceeds with plans to consult the community in respect of the Draft Planning Strategy during public exhibition, it is noted Council has not provided any assurances as to what it will do to counter the loss of amenity that the KPS community will inevitably subjected to. Nor has Council provided any assurances of how it will improve the amenity and surroundings of KPS and its community.

Specifically, no assurances have been provided about:

– parking for staff and parents picking up and dropping off their children to school
– road safety around the school
– the school’s capacity to meet an increased intake demand given the projected population target for Kensington is set to rise
– classroom space at KPS noting there is no further space for any additional classrooms at the school
– the already limited playground space noting this space will be further compromised with an increased student intake demand given the projected population targets
– whether overhshadowing will be caused to the school’s grounds by the proposed high-rise on the corner of Todman Ave & Anzac Pde and the duration period of over-shadowing.

It would be remiss of RCC to pass the buck onto the Department of Education to answer the above and any further questions KPS parents may wish to raise because this Draft Planning Strategy was initiated by RCC and responsibility to account to the KPS community rests entirely with RCC.

Please could you forward my email to RCC, General Manager, Mr Ray Brownlee.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards,


KPS parent & Kensington resident.

Dear Parents,

You are invited to the next Kensington and West Kingsford Precinct (KWKP) meeting which will be taking place on Monday, 20 February 2017 at 7:15pm at Our Lady of the Rosary School Hall, Corner Grosvenor Street and Kensington Road.

The KWKP is a resident run group open for all residents and property owners in the area to attend to discuss local issues. The KWKP meetings are a Randwick City Council initiative designed to consult and engage the local community in Council’s decision-making processes. Details about proposed projects and plans are provided in precinct meetings and the community’s comments are sought and reported back to Randwick City Councillors who are elected to consider the community’s views in their decision making processes.

A Brief Outline of Development Proposals Put Forward at Sites in close proximity to Kensington Public School

Towards the end of 2016, Randwick City Council prepared the Kensington and Kingsford Draft Planning Strategy (DPS). Details of the DPS can be found in the following link – http://www.goo.gl/LJ3lvd

As the attached link shows, Randwick City Council proposes to change the height and density controls along a 2.5km stretch of Anzac Parade (between Carlton St Kensington to South Juniors in Kingsford).

The current permissible height, on Anzac Parade, from Feb 2O13 has been 7 storeys on the Anzac parade rontage. The amended plan is proposing to increase heights to 9 storeys, except for 3 sites in Kensington & Kingsford, which will be increased to 60 metres, capable of 20 storeys. There are “bonuses” for good design, another 2 storeys and “bonuses” for “affordable housing” provision – Dwellings rented at 20% less than market rent. Mean 2br rents in Kensington are $650 per week. So residents question “affordability”.

Significantly, one of the proposals of the DPS has the potential to impact Kensington Public School and the surrounding community. On the corner of Todman Ave and Anzac Parade, (specifically, 112 Todman Ave and 111-125 Anzac Parade – surrounding and including the ‘Maths not Squiggles’ tutoring building) Randwick Council proposes to re-zone this location to allow a development of 18 storeys in height.

An eighteen storey height development is the equivalent of 60 metres. To give an idea of scale, the development on the corner of Duke St and Anzac Parade is 7 storeys so, the proposed development on the Maths Not Squiggles site is about 2.5 times higher. The Developer of this site is TOGA. The DPS has been sent to the NSW Department of Planning, for a “gateway determination’. The Department of Planning may approve the Planning Proposal as it is, or make amendments. If the DPS is approved, then Randwick Council will place the DPS and resulting LEP on public exhibition. At this stage, the Council MUST engage in “community consultation” inviting written submissions.

TOGA also owns 137 – 151 Anzac Parade Kensington (site of the Golden Kingdom Motel) and submitted development plans to Randwick City Council to develop this site to 83 metres from its current 25 metres. Randwick Council reject TOGA’s proposal. TOGA re-applied to the NSW Department of Planning in April 2016, requesting a “gateway determination” from the then Joint Regional Planning Panel “JRPP”. The NSW Dept of Planning expressed the view that the proposal had “merit.” However, the JRPP rejected that planning proposal on the ground that Randwick Council was reviewing its local strategy in Kensington & Kingsford.

Some residents in Kensington have recently expressed concern that if the 112 Todman Ave / 111-125 Anzac Parade site is approved for development to 60 metres, would this then open the gateway for other neighbouring property owners to apply for spot-rezonings of equivalent height?

Under recently amended NSW legislation regarding planning proposals, a developer may apply to the ‘Greater Sydney Commission Planning Panel’ and lodge a spot re-zoning application at any time.

Can These Development Proposals, If Implemented, affect The KPS Community?

The development proposals described above would foreseeably, by their very nature, bring to the roads and surrounding areas of KPS, the following;

Congestion. If such development proposals were implemented, there would be an increase in population, an increase in vehicles causing more traffic, more limitations on parking already in short-supply around KPS, safety concerns with regards to student set-down and pick-ups when there is more vehicle congestion on the short stretch of Doncaster Ave currently used by parents to drop off and pick up their children.

Further, it is forseeable KPS will be further impacted by the congestion not only arising from the increased population such development can bring but also because Light Rail network that is currently under construction and the location of the Light Rail station being near the corner of Todman Ave and Anzac Parade.

In the last 5 years, KPS has narrowed its catchment zone twice and is at full student intake capacity. The above development proposals would ensure KPS would be further limited in accepting students in its catchment zone because of the rise in population these development proposals would create.

It is important that all parents of Kensington Public School take part in KWKP meetings to ensure the best outcome for KPS children, KPS and the local community and surroundings of KPS.

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