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Cover of the Eastern City District Plan

Eastern City District Plan

Growing investment, business opportunities and jobs in strategic centres

Planning Priority E11

The growth, innovation and evolution of centres will underpin the economy of the Eastern City District. Centres continue to be a key organising element of the urban structure of Greater Sydney and provide access to jobs, goods and services. Their vitality and viability are important to the local economy, support the economy of the Harbour CBD and help define the character of local areas. Well-planned centres stimulate economic activity and innovation through the co-location of activities, provide jobs closer to where people live and use infrastructure more efficiently.

This Plan builds on the existing strengths of each centre within a common framework to deliver on the wider productivity and liveability objectives to grow jobs across Greater Sydney and improve community access to good and services.

To manage the growth and change of the Eastern City District’s centres, a hierarchy for centres has been established as outlined below:

  • Metropolitan centre: Harbour CBD (refer to Planning Priority E7)
  • Strategic centres: Bondi Junction, Burwood, Eastgardens-Maroubra Junction, Green Square-Mascot, Randwick and Rhodes
  • Local centres: (refer to Planning Priority E6).

All strategic centres will be the focus of public transport investments that seek to deliver the 30-minute city objective (refer to Planning Priority E10).

Some strategic centres in the Eastern City District are part of the Eastern Economic Corridor. All have major office precincts or health and education activities while others have a retail focus. They differ in size and scale of economic activity. However, as strategic centres they all have similar expectations including:

  • high levels of private sector investment
  • flexibility, so that the private sector can choose where and when to invest 
  • co-location of a wide mix of activities, including residential
  • high levels of amenity, and walkability and being cycle friendly
  • areas identified for commercial uses and, where appropriate, commercial cores.

As a strategic centre, Randwick contains significant health, research and education services. Details on planning for Randwick are outlined in Planning Priority E8.

Employment growth is the principal underlying economic goal for metropolitan and strategic centres. Therefore the designation of a commercial core within a strategic centre, for economic and employment uses, may be necessary to manage the impact of residential developments in crowding out commercial activity.

A balance must be struck in providing adequate mixed-use or residential zoned land around the commercial core zone to ensure new residential developments can benefit from access and services in centres.

Centres are not just places for economic exchange. They are where communities gather, and where recreational, cultural and educational pursuits are found. They are important to how people participate in community life. This is particularly true in the Eastern City District, where an increasing number of residents live in apartments and rely on public spaces. Creating the conditions for growth and making centres great places is a focus of Planning Priority E6.

Delivering housing within a walkable distance of strategic centres encourages non-vehicle trips, which also foster healthier communities. Housing within centres contributes to a sense of vibrancy; however, the delivery of housing should not constrain the ongoing operation and expansion of commercial and retail activities.

Research has shown that the Eastern City District will need to accommodate approximately 1.8 million square metres of additional retail floor space over the next 20 years21. In addition, there will be significant demand for additional office floor space. Creating the opportunities to attract retail and office development requires growth in either existing or new centres. The principles for expanding existing centres and developing new centres are outlined in this Planning Priority. The NSW Department of Planning and Environment will prepare a state-wide retail planning policy.

Rapid changes in technology and in retail trends, emerging night-time economies and population growth require councils to be agile and responsive in their planning for centres growth. Adaptive and flexible spaces may be required, particularly in centres close to the CBD, because of an increasing demand for workspaces from start-up and creative industries.

Smart work hubs offer the conveniences of a modern office in local areas – high-speed internet, meeting rooms, video conferencing facilities, informal lounges and quiet booths. They operate as shared workspaces with other small businesses, government and corporate organisations. Opportunities for smart work hubs in strategic centres should be encouraged.

A vibrant and safe night-time economy will enhance Greater Sydney’s standing as a global city, while meeting the social and recreational needs of shift workers, families, children and communities.

Planning for a night-time economy in centres should support a diverse range of small businesses, such as retail, and cultural events and assets accompanied by a suitable regulatory environment.

With economic growth a core goal for centres planning, job targets, expressed as a range, have been identified for each strategic centre. These targets seek to inform planning authorities and infrastructure agencies of anticipated growth. They should not be seen as maximum targets.

The lower end of the range of these job targets reflects the baseline of projected jobs growth anticipated in the centre, while the upper end is an aspirational higher growth scenario to reflect outcomes in the case of future investment and land use planning in centres.

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, to 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 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.
  • 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 will 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 standalone supermarket
  • of quality urban design with amenity, informed by a masterplan
  • 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 effect on the operation of existing businesses in the locality and the viability of surrounding centres.

eastern_81.jpg

Aerial photo of Sydney Harbour looking across the Harbour Bridge and the CBD towards Parramatta.

Sydney Harbour

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.

Bondi Junction

Bondi Junction is a high amenity centre providing retail and local services to Greater Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. The centre is well connected to the Harbour CBD, the eastern beaches and other amenities such as Queens Park and Centennial Park.

Commercial and retail activities are concentrated around the train station and Westfield Bondi Junction. In 2016 the centre was estimated to generate approximately 13,800 jobs, mainly in retail trade; health care and social assistance; professional, scientific and technical services; and accommodation and food services22.

The centre has opportunities to attract a greater diversity of commercial activities, health and education services, cultural and creative spaces and to improve connections to other centres of employment, the cultural and creative activities at Moore Park, the Randwick health and education precinct, its southern catchment area and to significant facilities like Bondi Beach and regional open space networks. Activation of the centre would benefit from improved and diversified nighttime offerings.

Pressure for residential redevelopment is increasing across the centre. Future growth will need to ensure the capacity for jobs growth, provision of a diverse mix of uses across the centre and creation of a high-quality, vibrant public realm.

Waverley Council has nominated Bondi Junction as a low-carbon precinct and is and will be working with current and future land owners and building managers to reduce water use and greenhouse gas emissions and improve waste management.

Bondi Junction Jobs
2016 estimate 13,800
2036 baseline target 17,000
2036 higher target 20,500

eastern_bondi_junction.png

An aerial image of Bondi Junction showing the principal areas containing jobs and services.

Data sources: Public open space – Sydney Open Space Audit (DPE 2016), aerial photo – Nearmap 2018.

Download this image eastern_bondi_junction.png (format PNG / 2 MB)

Burwood

Burwood is centrally located between the Harbour CBD and Greater Parramatta. It has a large retail catchment and offers many local services for communities. It provides a mix of commercial, residential and retail development with a night-time economy based around its cultural precincts and other entertainment venues. In 2016, the centre was estimated to have approximately 10,300 jobs, with a large share of these within the population-serving and knowledge-intensive sectors. A decrease in the proportion of knowledge-intensive jobs since 1996 reflects widespread residential redevelopment at the expense of job growth across the centre23.

The centre is developed around the train station with the main retail strip anchored by Westfield and Burwood Plaza. The western rail corridor divides the centre. The Parramatta Road Corridor Urban Transformation Strategy proposes further development along Burwood Road. Capacity to meet job targets must be protected, accompanied by a diverse mix of uses and a strong night-time economy.

Opportunities exist to provide shortterm and hotel accommodation to serve the growing Olympic Park precinct. Creating a high quality, vibrant public realm and strong transport links to Olympic Park and other commercial centres should accompany this growth. 

Burwood Jobs
2016 estimate 10,300
2036 baseline target 12,000
2036 higher target 14,000

eastern_burwood.png

An aerial image of Burwood showing the principal areas containing jobs and services.

Data sources: Public open space – Sydney Open Space Audit (DPE 2016), aerial photo – Nearmap 2018.

Download this image eastern_burwood.png (format PNG / 2 MB)

Eastgardens-Maroubra Junction

The Eastgardens-Maroubra Junction strategic centre is located approximately nine kilometres south of the Harbour CBD and has a large retail catchment at Westfield Eastgardens and Pacific Square at Maroubra Junction. In 2016, the centre was estimated to have approximately 6,900 jobs, with the majority of these in the population serving sector24.

Opportunities exist for Maroubra Junction to support growth and transport infrastructure investment in the south east of the District. Balanced growth of the centre should link the two centres along a corridor of activity, with Maroubra Road providing opportunities to achieve this, and integrate opportunities to accommodate appropriate urban services.

Eastgardens–Maroubra Junction Jobs
2016 estimate 6,900
2036 baseline target 8,000
2036 higher target 9,000

eastern_eastgardens-maroubra_junction.png

An aerial image of Eastgardens-Maroubra Junction showing the principal areas containing jobs and services.

Data sources: Public open space – Sydney Open Space Audit (DPE 2016), aerial photo – Nearmap 2018.

Download this image eastern_eastgardens-maroubra_junction.png (format PNG / 3 MB)
Download this image eastern_city-16-maroubra_beach.jpg (format JPEG / 627 KB)

Green Square-Mascot

Green Square-Mascot is a significant centre for the District and a supporting centre for the nearby Harbour CBD, Port Botany and Sydney Airport. It is undergoing major urban renewal from a predominantly industrial area to one of increased residential use. This renewal has also resulted in the loss of half the commercial office space within the precinct since 2014, a reduction from 400,000 to 200,000 square metres25.

The centre has low tenant turnover, reflective of affordable rents and access to other major centres.

The centre would benefit from improved city-serving and centre-serving transport to address growing congestion and to improve access to Sydney Airport and Port Botany and to other employment centres. Mascot requires careful planning to ensure it develops a diverse and vibrant presence and improved access for workers from Mascot Station to Sydney Airport.

The centre’s changing role needs to be better defined, especially around Mascot Station, and given appropriate policy support to grow and evolve. Supporting social infrastructure at Mascot must accompany this changing role.

Administration of the centre falls across the City of Sydney and Bayside local government areas. A coordinated approach to planning across the centre is supported.

Green Square– Mascot Jobs
2016 estimate 59,500
2036 baseline target 75,000
2036 higher target 80,000

eastern_green_square-mascot.png

An aerial image of Green Square Mascot showing the principal areas containing jobs and services.

Data sources: Public open space – Sydney Open Space Audit (DPE 2016), aerial photo – Nearmap 2018.

Download this image eastern_green_square-mascot.png (format PNG / 13 MB)

Rhodes

Rhodes has attracted significant new housing and employment and has a strong healthcare presence. It has a developed office precinct with major tenants including Australand, Nestle and Citibank. As at January 2013, the total floor space of Rhodes was 143,927 square metres26, with commercial office uses concentrated in Rhodes Corporate Park on the western side of Concord Road.

In 2016, the centre was estimated to have approximately 15,700 jobs. Strengthening its commercial and retail presence, coupled with improved links to GPOP, will be important to its productive future.

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment and City of Canada Bay Council have been working collaboratively on the Rhodes East Planned Precinct to maintain jobs in the area, and to provide new homes, shops, cafes and foreshore access. Integral to this work is investigation into sustainable utility infrastructure, particularly the delivery of network wire and recycled water dual reticulation, and opportunities for improved mass transit to the precinct.

The Commission will facilitate collaboration between the City of Canada Bay, utility providers, Transport for NSW, NSW Department of Planning and Environment and other key institutions and agencies, to progress a long-term sustainability initiative for this area.

Rhodes Jobs
2016 estimate 15,700
2036 baseline target 22,000
2036 higher target 24,000

eastern_rhodes.png

An aerial image of Rhodes showing the principal areas containing jobs and services.

Data sources: Public open space – Sydney Open Space Audit (DPE 2016), aerial photo – Nearmap 2018.

Download this image eastern_rhodes.png (format PNG / 3 MB)
Actions
Responsibility
38

Provide access to jobs, goods and services in centres by:

a. attracting significant investment and business activity in strategic centres to provide jobs growth
b. diversifying the range of activities in all centres
c. creating vibrant, safe places and quality public realm
d. focusing on a human-scale public realm and locally accessible open space
e. balancing the efficient movement of people and goods with supporting the liveability of places on the road network
f. improving the walkability within and to centres
g. completing and improving a safe and connected cycling network to and within centres
h. improving public transport services to all strategic centres
i. conserving and interpreting heritage significance
j. designing parking that can be adapted to future uses
k. providing for a diverse and vibrant night-time economy in a way that responds to potential negative impacts
l. creating the conditions for residential development within strategic centres and within walking distance (10 minutes), but not at the expense of the attraction and growth of jobs, retailing and services; where appropriate, strategic centres should define commercial cores informed by an assessment of their need.

Councils, other planning authorities and State agencies
 

39

Prioritise public transport investment to deliver the 30-minute city objective for strategic centres along the economic corridor.

Councils, other planning authorities and State agencies

40

Prioritise transport investments that enhance access to the economic corridor and between centres within the corridor.

Councils, other planning authorities and State agencies

41

Co-locate health, education, social and community facilities in strategic centres along the economic corridor.

Councils and other planning authorities

42

Create new centres in accordance with the Principles for Greater Sydney’s centres.

Councils and other planning authorities

43

Review the current planning controls and create capacity to achieve the job targets for each of the District’s strategic centres.

Councils and other planning authorities

44

Prioritise strategic land use and infrastructure plans for growing centres, particularly those with capacity for additional retail floor space.

Councils and other planning authorities
 

45

Encourage opportunities for new smart work hubs.

Councils and other planning authorities

46

Strengthen Bondi Junction through approaches that:

a.protect capacity for job targets and a diverse mix of uses to strengthen and reinforce the economic role of the centre
b.consider potential options for future public transport connections to the south east of the District to accommodate forecast population and employment growth, and better connect the District
c.expand the centre’s function and type of land uses, and knowledge-intensive jobs
d.improve access from the centre of Bondi Junction to nearby open space and recreation facilities such as Queens Park, Centennial Park, Moore Park and Bondi Beach
e.recognise the centre’s health attributes to support the Randwick health and education precinct and mechanisms for increasing floor space for health uses, including a health-focused business incubator
f.investigate opportunities to improve and diversify night-time economy offerings
g.promote place making initiatives to improve the quality of public spaces.

Waverley Council, other planning authorities and State agencies

47

Strengthen Burwood through approaches that:

a. protect capacity for job targets and a diverse mix of uses to strengthen and reinforce the economic role of the centre
b. consider development initiatives that encourage the development of large floorplate mixed use buildings
c. improve connections across the centre, including permeability of the rail line
d. expand the function and type of land uses in the centre
e. investigate opportunities to improve and diversify night time economy offerings
f. promote place-making initiatives to improve the quality of public spaces.

Burwood Council, other planning authorities and State agencies

48

Strengthen Eastgardens-Maroubra Junction through approaches that:

a. protect capacity for job targets and a diverse mix of users to strengthen and reinforce the economic role of the centre
b. extend and investigate additional economic activities to connect Eastgardens and Maroubra Junction and complement the existing activities
c. leverage future public transport connections in the south east and west of the District
d. encourage provision of affordable housing to support the nearby health and education facilities and employment lands e. promote place making initiatives to improve the quality and supply of public spaces, promote walking and cycling connections and integrate with the Green Grid
f. improve public transport connections, and walking and cycling between Eastgardens-Maroubra Junction and Randwick

Bayside Council, Randwick City Council, other planning authorities and State agencies

49

Strengthen Green-Square Mascot through approaches that:

a. protect capacity for job targets and a diverse mix of uses to strengthen and reinforce the economic role of the centre
b. retain and manage surrounding employment, industrial and urban services lands and their role in supporting the Harbour CBD, trade gateways and other strategic centres
c. continue to address road and public transport network congestion and avoid development that generates high road traffic volumes such as large-scale retail
d. continue reviews to remove barriers to cultural and creative uses
e. provide for safe walking and cycling throughout the centre and from Mascot Station to Sydney Airport
f. plan for the provision of social infrastructure within Mascot
g. Council of the City of Sydney and Bayside Council work together to strengthen and diversify the centre.

Bayside Council, Council of the City of Sydney, other planning authorities and State agencies

50

50. Strengthen Rhodes through approaches that:

a. protect capacity for job targets and a diverse mix of uses to strengthen and reinforce the economic role of the centre
b. protect employment generating capacity at Rhodes Business Park
c. improve links to the GPOP area
d. enhance links with the Concord Health Precinct
e. promote place-making initiatives to improve the quality of public spaces
f. develop opportunities to provide sustainable utility infrastructure
g. create a connected walking and cycling network within the precinct, to regional links and where possible along river foreshores
h. plan for growth that is supported by public transport.

City of Canada Bay, other planning authorities and State agencies

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Eastern City District Plan
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Productivity
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Jobs and skills for the city
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