Skyscraper the limit for Sydney CBD

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AFTER more than four decades, towers rising more than 300 metres high could now spring up in Sydney’s CBD, while plans for a higher levy on new buildings have been retained following a review of Council’s Central Sydney Planning Strategy.

Council had initially endorsed the removal of planning restrictions early in the year that would remove the 235-metre height limit, with the Barangaroo, Central Station, Circular Quay and Town Hall precincts to allow structures up to 330 metres high. Building heights have been capped for more than 40 years to stay below that of the Sydney Tower.

Council will also ask the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces to amend the regulations to allow for a contributions levy of up to 3% to apply to new development.

Some changes were made following community consultation and feedback during the public exhibition of the planning framework. These include the phasing out of the incentive for residential development of additional floor space over two years, the allowing of a project to proceed to a detailed design development application (stage two) based on the approval of the concept design, exclusion of the northern part of the Kent St tower cluster around Gas Ln, removing the proposed additional 30 metres in height control in the same northern Kent St area, and updating guidelines for site-specific planning proposals in central Sydney to allow landowners to lodge planning proposals.

The Kent St tower cluster is deemed “a transition area between the residential character of Millers Point and the commercial centre”.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said yesterday that the planning strategy provides a long term vision that will promote job creation and economic growth, while protecting the inner city’s heritage and public spaces.

“By providing for buildings taller than 300 metres and creating increased employment space, while ensuring high quality design and protecting our important public places, this strategy provides a vision for the city’s commercial, residential and recreational future,” the Lord Mayor said.

“It will help us lay the foundations for the city’s recovery from the devastating economic and social impacts of the coronavirus and maintain Sydney’s status as an attractive place for business investment.

The Lord Mayor said the blueprint followed “extensive consultation and three years of block-by-block research”,  and ensured no shadowing on public spaces such as Hyde Park, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Martin Place and Wynyard Park.

She added that it was vital Sydney “safeguard economic floor space while allowing residential development to continue in the city centre”.

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