Australian Unity, please do not build units on playfields at Lane Cove

Fluid Site Compatibility Certificate

The Sydney North Planning Panel has issued 3 Site Compatibility Certificates for this site over a period of 4 years. The 2nd in May 2020, and 3rd in June 2021 were for the very same Development plans dated 2019. The 2nd SCC introduced height and built form restrictions which effectively rejected the DA. 13 months later, well after the applicants 6mnth right to a review had recinded, the SNPP revoked the 2nd SCC and issued the 3rd having removed the height restriction.

Considering that neither the DA nor the surrounding property uses have changed, the public considered this as highly irregular and a compromise of the independence and integrity of the panel. A petition signed by 132 residents was presented to the chairman of the SNPP requesting that the height clause is re-instated.


The recreation play fields lie between 9 low-density and 38 medium/high-density residences and the two fields are tiered due to the incline of the land. Therefore, the site specific LEP defines height and built form controls to ensure height compatibility with the area, prevent height differential between the low density 2 storey residences 12m to the North, and minimize shadow impact to the residences to the south.


1st SCC (6/7/2017)  

The first SCC determination was followed by a public exhibition with submissions and a SNPP determination meeting, where the panel deferred its determination with a request for changes and further details. A still significantly non-compliant new DA was re-notified, and further public submission accepted. The panel meeting however, was cancelled because the SCC had expired.


2nd SCC (28/5/2020)  

The 2nd SCC determination was based on the new but non-compliant design, the public submission from previous 2 notifications and a substantial report by SNPP (Nick Armstrong May2020). The panel made a well-informed determination. In full knowledge of the impact to the current design it added a clause related to height to achieve compatibility with surrounding land uses. The clause re-stated LEP controls and stipulated a maximum of 5 storeys at the rear, deeming the DA significantly non-compliant. The clause is as follows:

1. To achieve a building height compatible with surrounding land uses, the built form of any future development application on the site relying on this SCC is to meet the following requirements:

a) Not exceed two storeys to Longueville Road;

b) Appropriately respond to the topography of the site, and have a maximum height of five storeys at the rear; and

c) Contain all habitable floor space so as not to exceed the maximum building height standard prescribed under Lane Cove Local Environmental Plan 2009 being RL 62.8 AHD, except along Longueville Road.


Australian Unity Supporting Statement – Project unviable (29/10/2020)

In a supporting statement in response to the 2nd SCC determination, the applicant argues that the height restriction makes the project unviable.

“Notwithstanding that, the second SCC report recommended that the building be lowered to RL 62.80 AHD, effectively reducing the height of building by two storeys for most of its length and one storey at the street. This recommendation was subsequently endorsed by the SNPP. Effectively, this determination is tantamount to a refusal or a total redesign, potentially rendering the project non-viable.”


Applicant right to appeal rescinds – Matter concluded (27/11/2020)

On the 27th November 2020 the applicants right to a merit appeal to the Land and Environment Court rescinds (6 months as provided for in the EP&A Act). The public consider the matter as concluded.


3rd SCC (10th June 2021)  

The SNPP determined to revoke the 2nd SCC and issue a 3rd SCC removing the height clause. This was for the identical design dated 2019, and based on the same SCC assessment report (Nick Armstrong Report) date May 2020 used for the previous SCC. All input was identical, except for a letter dated 18/3/2021 from Mark Brisby Executive Manager Environmental Services LCC (Appendix 1), which stated inaccurate information (detailed below) to support removal of the height clause.


Notice of public meeting of SNPP (16/07/2021)  

LCC decides to proceed without re-notification to the public, on the basis that it is the identical DA where submissions were received based on the 1st SCC (issued in 6/7/2017) 2 years ago, despite the new SCC having only just been issued. In mid-July, the SNPP informed those who had made submission 2 years ago, that a public meeting will be held for the DA on 4/8/2021 during the COVID lock down. This was later moved to 2nd September.