Frequently asked questions - July 2019

What is a Planning Proposal?

A planning proposal is a document that explains the intended effect of a proposed local environmental plan (LEP) and sets out the justification for making that plan. The preparation of a planning proposal is the first step in preparing an amendment to the current KLEP (2012). [Ku-ring-gai Local Environmental Plan (2012)]

What’s in the Planning Proposal?

The Planning Proposal seeks to amend the existing KLEP (2012) with respect to zoning, height and floor space ratio provisions on the Lindfield Village Hub site.

What is the Planning Process?

  • On 20 August Council approved the draft Planning Proposal to go forward to lodgement for merit assessment.  
  • The Planning Proposal document will include draft amendments to Part 14 E of the Ku-ring-gai Local Centres Development Control Plan (DCP) – known as (KDCP (LC) 2012 - as they relate to the Lindfield Village Hub site.
  • If Council approves lodgement of the planning proposal, responsibility for assessment of it will then move to Council’s regulatory planning authority (Strategic Planning) for review – this typically takes three months from final documents being submitted.
  • During the review process, the Ku-ring-gai Local Planning Panel will be asked to advise Council.
  • The Planning Proposal seeks primarily to amend the floor space ratio (FSR) and the height of buildings in the Local Environmental Plan (LEP).
  • As part of the Planning Proposal, a draft proposed DCP will be submitted which reflects the proposed LEP amendments and seeks to remove specific reference to the previous masterplan, while maintaining the fundamental planning outcomes required by the existing DCP.
  • The Planning Proposal must go through the next stages of review which include local planning panels and state government planning reviews (known as the Gateway process) This will require a further resolution from Council.
  • The duration and form of public consultation will be subject to the requirements of the Gateway process.
  • This planning process is not a prescribed time period but indicatively can take between 12-18 months.

How does Council manage the conflict of interest of being both developer and statutory planning authority for the site?

Council has taken considered steps to manage potential conflicts of interest for developing the Lindfield Village Hub site.

An independent review of Major Project governance was commissioned in 2017 and the following steps have been taken to specifically manage the potential for conflict between Council as land owner and Council as the planning authority:

  • An independent Major Projects unit with dedicated staff has been established within Council, reporting directly to the General Manager
  • A major projects governance advisor has been engaged to support implementation of good governance for Major Projects, including to advise on managing conflicts of interest
  • A Major Projects Steering Committee (MPSC) has been established to govern major projects and is responsible for managing the potential for conflicts of interest
  • A Major Projects Advisory Committee (MPAC) with 4 independent experts in property development has been formed to oversee Councils major projects and advise Council on significant decisions with respect to Major Projects
  • Councillors Major Projects Consultation Forums (CMPCF) have been conducted to provide quarterly updates on all Major Projects to Councillor

What are Council’s financial requirements for the project and when can the public see them?

The broad financial requirement for the project is that it does not adversely impact on Council’s future financial position. This can be achieved if the proposed development generates a sufficient financial return to fund construction of the community assets, as well as to operate, maintain and renew them.

The detailed financial requirements for the project are commercially sensitive and are not able to be released to the public.  Independent feasibility reports on the project have been provided by leading experts and are being considered by Council. Council has obtained two independent financial reports on the proposed development, from CBRE and KPMG. The reports align in forecasting that the feasibility of the proposed development from Council’s perspective, while marginal, has the capacity to be viable subject to the outcome of the tender process and assuming Council is not required to provide funding for a pedestrian bridge over the Pacific Highway.

Releasing the detailed financial information would undermine Council’s commercial interests and could jeopardise the tender process and the value for money outcomes success of the project.

Are you using terms like ‘commercially and legally sensitive’, ‘probity’ and ‘commercial in confidence’ as reasons not to be fully transparent?

Council takes its responsibilities when administering public money and public land very seriously, particularly on a project of this scale.

The procedures we have in place are designed to ensure a fair and transparent process during the tender process. This is to ensure that all tenderers have a fair and equal opportunity to submit the best possible bid which will, in turn mean the best possible result for the Ku-ring-gai community.

Will the project deliver a pedestrian bridge?

Pedestrian safety and ease of access in the Lindfield Village Hub and crossing the Pacific Highway are essential components of the project. Options are currently being investigated on how best to achieve these outcomes in the Traffic Impact Assessment as part of the Planning Proposal.

The financial feasibility from Council’s perspective, while marginal, has the capacity to be viable subject to the outcome of the tender process and assuming Council is not required to provide funding for a pedestrian bridge over the Pacific Highway.

Is it taking too long to build the Hub?

The project may seem like it is taking a long time. However when Council commits to a major project for our community, we must follow clear procedures to make sure it’s completed thoroughly from start to finish.  The Lindfield Village Hub we’re delivering now will be with us for decades to come, so it must stand the test of time.

It can feel like the Hub is moving slowly, but when 1.3 hectares of valuable public-owned land in a prime position and hundreds of millions of dollars of public money are involved, every aspect of the project must carefully considered. Undertaking processes such as rezoning or amalgamating land are involved and these also take time.

The Lindfield Village Hub is part of the broader Activate Ku-ring-gai program which includes construction on the Lindfield Village Green on the eastern side of Lindfield centre, targeted to begin next year.

Is Council listening to the community?

Council has undertaken early consultation with the community at the key decision stages of the project. Council has engaged the community as the project has evolved in a range of ways. These include workshops, online and printed surveys, community facilities planning events, library drop-in sessions, print and web-based materials.

Since August 2018 Council has consulted with 2000+ people directly and over 15,000+ people indirectly in 25 separate engagement events.  The community has contributed opinions and comments on the retail services and library services in the new Hub and met with the project team at local libraries.

It is understood that in general, that the community prefer buildings no higher than 7 or 8 storeys on this site. However in order for the LVH to be financially viable, to provide the community buildings, green space and car parking that the community want, it is essential that the number of apartments increases from the original masterplan.    

This is to comply with Council’s RESOURCING STRATEGY 2019-2029 (May 2019) states on Page 18 as follows:

“Where Council plans a large scale “community hub” type projects such as the Lindfield Village Green, the Community Hubs in Lindfield and Turramurra, and the Gordon Civic Precinct it is expected that these projects should be commercially feasible in their own right such that they do not require long term borrowings, or a drain on ordinary rates revenue.  Further, where feasible, such projects will be expected to produce a dividend for Council above and beyond the community facilities incorporated in the precinct. Planning for these projects should consider the inclusion of commercial opportunities of sufficient return to cover ongoing operational costs of the public spaces in the precinct.”

In addition, Council’s LONG TERM FINANCIAL PLAN (May 2019) states on Page 11 as follows:

“Major Local Centre Projects:  Council is planning for three town centre revitalisation projects over the next ten years, being major developments in Lindfield, Turramurra and Gordon that will provide civic improvements and community facilities. It is assumed in the Long Term Financial Plan that these projects are funded by a combination of developer contributions, along with the return from retail and commercial development on the sites. Critical to the success of these projects and Council’s financial sustainability is to ensure that Council has sufficient funds in reserve to insulate against the financial risks of development. As such Council has established a Property Development Reserve in the Long Term Financial Plan, accumulated from the proceeds of asset sales.”

Why is Council revisiting the Masterplan?

Since the masterplan was prepared and consulted on, the broader planning context of the project has evolved and Council’s understanding of the impact of the project on its finances and on future generations of ratepayers have been assessed in more detail.

Council wants to retain as much of the land and the facilities in public ownership as possible and get the best possible social, urban and financial returns to the community from the project. This has meant re-examining the scope and scale of the project.

Ku-ring-gai has a proud history of protecting heritage and our natural environment. Any changes to the planning controls and future uses of the site will be carefully assessed against the planning guidelines, which are rigorous and involve independent, local and state government agencies.

Why is Lindfield Library closing?

Council reviewed the use and facilities of the current Lindfield Library and the Lindfield Seniors Centre in the Lindfield Community Facilities Study. The study found:

  • Older facilities in average condition with significant repairs required
  • Sites close to the Lindfield local centre and train station but difficult to access by car
  • Limited additional capacity

Both the Library and Seniors Centre have limited opportunities for refurbishment and the library in particular has limited opportunity to expand services in digital technologies. Currently, the library only has two computers for public use. In addition, the opportunities for events and community gatherings are limited by the library building’s footprint.

The study recommends replacing the existing library and seniors centre with new multi-use facilities located in the Lindfield Village Hub. This proposal was adopted by Council on 10 December 2013. 

Council will continue to provide library services and a venue for the seniors centre in Lindfield from another location if the current library is closed before the new facility is ready.

What are Council's plans for open space and community land in Lindfield?

Council is currently planning two large civic spaces in Lindfield- Lindfield Village Green and Lindfield Village Hub. Lindfield Green, which will start construction in mid-2019, is a new area of parkland on Tryon Road with an area of 2,700sqm. Lindfield Village Hub will include a large park/plaza area off Woodford Lane and Bent Street of approximately 3,900sqm in area.

These parkland areas are planned to meet the needs of a growing population as part of Council’s innovative Open Space Acquisition Program. Under this program, parks will be open and visible, centrally located, with high quality design and a range of facilities to cater for different users.

The proposed Lindfield Community Hub and Lindfield Village Green will significantly increase community facilities and public open space within Lindfield local centre.

Previous FAQs

View published FAQs from February 2019

View published FAQs from January 2019

View published FAQs from September 2018

View published FAQs from August 2018

View published FAQs from June 2018

Contact us

For more information about the project please contact activatelindfield@kmc.nsw.gov.au or 9424 0000.