Principles for Greater Sydney’s centres
As Greater Sydney’s population grows over the next 20 years, there will be a need to grow existing centres, particularly strategic centres and supermarket-based local centres; create new centres including business parks; and attract health and education activities into centres. The principles for developing centres are:
- Existing centres: expansion options will need to consider building heights and outward growth. In some cases, directly adjacent industrial land may be appropriate for centre expansions to accommodate businesses. Quality design and adequate infrastructure provision is critical to enable expansions. This approach needs to be informed by local government industrial strategies.
- New centres: these will be required across the whole of Greater Sydney.
- In land release areas, planning is to identify a range of centre types, including large and small local centres which could grow and evolve into new strategic centres and planning should maximise the number and capacity of centres on existing or planned mass transit corridors. To deliver this latter outcome centres need to be identified early to allow their incorporation into transport infrastructure plans
- In the Western Parkland City, where South Creek is to be planned as the central organising element for the city, opportunities for new centres to address South Creek are to be maximised.
- In established areas, innovative approaches to creating new centres are likely to be part of urban renewal and mixed-use developments.
- All new centres are to have good public transport commensurate with the scale of the centre.
- Business parks: Not all centres will start as retail centres. Creating jobs and providing services to local communities can be initiated within business parks. However, the built form of these business parks is critical – that is, they need to be developed, from the outset, as urban places which can transition into higher amenity and vibrant places while maintaining their main role as an employment precinct. Councils’ retail and employment strategies should provide guidance on the transition of business parks into mixed employment precincts including, where appropriate, ancillary residential developments to support the business park.
- New health and tertiary education facilities, such as hospitals and community health centres. These should be located within or directly adjacent to centres, and ideally co-located with supporting transport infrastructure. In some cases, health and education facilities may be the anchor of a new centre. Built form is critical to facilitate the transition of centres with health and education uses into more mature innovation precincts. A mix of retail and other services including hotel type accommodation adjacent to the precinct should be supported (refer to Objective 21 in A Metropolis of Three Cities).
- Clusters of large format retail should be treated as part of the retail network, and planning for new clusters of large format retail should be done in the same way other new centres are planned. This includes ensuring centres are places that can grow and evolve over time, and have adequate access to transport services and quality public domains.
Increases in online ordering and home delivery means some retail is essentially a distribution centre. These ‘dark retail’ stores are most suited to industrial areas as they involve significant logistics support and do not require community access.
Where there is a prevalence of retail activities in an industrial area, there may be exceptional circumstances which warrant the development of a new centre. This should be informed by a net community benefit test supported by a strategic review of centres (which identifies the need for the centre) and an industrial land review (which identifies that the loss of industrial activity can be managed) for the local government area. These reviews are to be prepared by councils, and endorsed by the Greater Sydney Commission.
In such cases the centre should be:
- located where public transport services are commensurate with the scale of the centre
- directly opposite a residential catchment accessible by a controlled pedestrian crossing
- more than a stand-alone supermarket
- of quality urban design with amenity, informed by a master plan
- supported by planned and funded infrastructure commensurate with the needs of the centre.
For new centres in industrial areas, the economic impact of the centre should be assessed for its impact on the operation of existing businesses in the locality and the viability of surrounding centres.
Planning for new and existing centres is to:
- be informed by council growth strategies, which should consider the network of centres, retail, commercial and industrial supply and demand and local housing strategies
- be potentially informed by district-based studies, facilitated by collaborations between councils
- consider the temporal nature of growth and change across Greater Sydney, both historic and future, and its influence on development opportunities at the local level
- recognise improvements to walkability as a core outcome for change in centres
- result in the development and implementation of land use and infrastructure plans to inform infrastructure investment and land use policy decisions
- respond to the detailed planning considerations of Strategy 12.1 and Strategy 22.1 set out in A Metropolis of Three Cities.