Back to the drawing board



A controversial plan that would have seen height limits in Neutral Bay town centre increase to six-storeys has been scrapped after North Sydney’s new Council voted to rescind the planning study.

The Military Road Planning Study, adopted in February last year, planned to increase height limits along the main road from five to six-storeys and earmarked four sites to accommodate up to 12-storeys.

Council initially backed the plans as necessary to address future demand for local jobs and pressure on local facilities by increasing commercial floor space, widening footpaths, and planning for a public plaza and community centre.

However, the planned height increases were widely opposed by the community and the local precincts, with just 12 per cent of residents that responded to the study supportive of 12-storeys.

As such, several councillors co-tabled a successful recission motion at the first meeting of the new Council to repeal the study.

Councillor James Spenceley, one of the councillors who brought forward the motion, says the study was a key issue that defined the recent Council elections.

“People were worried about it. People were incensed by it,” he tells North Shore Living.

“Council is open for doing something there. It's just not inviting a starting point of 12-storeys. I'm not anti-development, I'm just anti-development when the community doesn't want it to that scale.”

He says the decision to rescind the study ‘will not see the study thrown out’ but will allow for a new planning framework to be developed informed by its findings along with community sentiment. 

The study, which took three years to form and cost Council $250,000, was intended as a guide for future developments, with the corridor already experiencing significant pressure from developers.

As such, the decision to rescind the study will have implications for several landowners, with development proposals already submitted for a number of Neutral Bay sites.

Stephanie Aikins, Editor-in-Chief, North Shore Living Magazine

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