2021 – Draft Edgecliff Commercial Centre (ECC) Planning and Urban Design Strategy 

In 2021 Woollahra Municipal Council released a suite of Draft Strategy documents with the aim of revitalising the Edgecliff Commercial Centre (ECC). This included the majority of sites, 20 in all, along both sides of New South Head Road from the Ocean Street / New South Head Road corner at the rail/bus interchange in the east, to Rushcutters Bay Park and the Service Station / Car Wash site in the west.

The Paddington Society sent a detailed submission to Council. We supported:

  • Upgrading and revitalising the Edgecliff Shopping Centre.
  • Enhancing the surrounding public domain and additional urban greening.
  • Proposing a reasonable amount of new residential accommodation, including affordable housing, provided that supporting infrastructure would also be augmented.

However, we expressed concerns about some negative effects of the excessive amount of redevelopment proposed, including demolition of several contributory buildings and effectively creating a wall of new high-rise buildings along both sides of New South Head Road.

Our concerns included:

  • Height and bulk of proposed new developments, particularly including 6 and 12-storey high-rise buildings on the Service Station and Car Wash sites. These would create visual barriers, cutting off views and outlook from more than half of the Paddington slopes towards the Rushcutters Bay valley and the harbour.
  • Overshadowing of adjacent low-lying residences and Paddington’s private and public open spaces.
  • Traffic congestion greatly increased along the already congested route servicing the whole of Woollahra.
  • Car parking deficiencies, with flow-on parking pressures into adjacent residential areas.

April 2024 – Planning Proposal to List Eight Local Heritage items and one Heritage Conservation Area in and around the Edgecliff Commercial Centre.

The Paddington Society strongly supported this proposal, released in early April 2024.

Council also unanimously supported the Heritage listings and we trust that this should protect several residential flat buildings along the ECC corridor from future demolition and high-rise replacement. In addition to their heritage value, these buildings currently provide a large number of small one and two-bedroom units. High rise replacements would create a significant net loss of such a valuable affordable housing resource.

April 2024 – Post Exhibition Report of the Draft Edgecliff Commercial Centre (ECC) Planning and Urban Design Strategy

The most significant features of this year’s 2024 Updated ECC Strategy are positive.

In essence, of the originally exhibited recommended 20 potential demolition and high-rise uplift sites in the 2021 proposal:

  • The small site fronting Ascham School on New South Head Road has been deleted
  • All 10 sites west of the Mona Road / Glenmore Road intersections are also now deleted

WMC has endorsed and acknowledged many of the concerns expressed by the Society and other community groups and recommended that:

  • The basin views between the lower Paddington Slopes and Rushcutters Bay Park will therefore not be interrupted by new high-rise apartment buildings on the Service Station / Car wash site; these will retain their current height controls and zoning.
  •  That several of the western sites originally proposed to be uplifted contain high numbers of smaller, lower cost units, and therefore redevelopment would likely produce a net loss of housing, by replacing smaller one and two-bedroom units with larger dwellings.

Concerns remaining:

  • One new site has been added to those retained for uplift – the recently approved 12 storey development at 136-148 New South Head Rd (the Darling Point Rd intersection).
  • The two tower blocks originally proposed for the Edgecliff Centre transport interchange site will remain at same 26 and 14 storey heights as previously proposed.
  • Provision of additional supporting infrastructure remains to be provided by future developers.
  • The Society’s concerns remain concerning traffic congestion and car-parking deficiencies with flow-on parking pressures in adjacent residential areas.