St Leonards South - History

Background (July 2012 - February 2016)

Council resolved to undertake a master planning process for the precinct in St Leonards bounded by the Pacific Highway to the north, the railway line to the east, River Road to the south and Greenwich Road to the west. Council officers developed a Brief for the St Leonards Strategy, to be undertaken in two parts:

  • Stage 1 Precinct Report; and
  • Stage 2 Growth Scenarios Report.

Stage 1 (2012 – 2014)

Consultants David Lock and Associates (DLA) were engaged to complete Stage 1 of the St Leonards Strategy. The Precinct Report includes:-

  • Consideration of the current State, metropolitan and local strategic planning context;
  • A summary of existing conditions such as land use, demographic profile, urban structure and built form, public domain and natural features, vehicular and pedestrian access and movement, and physical infrastructure;
  • A summary of the community consultation undertaken as part of Stage 1; and
  • An analysis of issues and opportunities for the precinct, including that the area "is well located for potential urban consolidation opportunities".

Community consultation was also undertaken as part of this process which included the establishment of a website and a Community Consultation report on Stage 1.

Stage 2 (2014 – 2015)

In response to technical and community feedback received through a series of community sessions and workshops, a Draft Master Plan and supporting documents were prepared by urban planning consultants and endorsed by Council on 8 December 2014 for public exhibition.

The Draft Plan discussed potential changes to the zoning and scale of areas in the precinct as well as the provision of community facilities, open space and other matters. It also discussed:-

  • Density Potential
  • Financial Viability
  • Sustainable Urban Design & Amenity
  • Infrastructure
  • Staging and Transition Management

These plans were publicly exhibited from December 2014 to May 2015 and Council held numerous information days, workshops, and drop-in sessions. Details of Stage 2 (including Master Plan, community presentations and Council reports) were available on Council's website.

Stage 3 (2015 – 2016)

On 13 July 2015 Council resolved to adopt the Draft St Leonards South Master Plan with the addition of the area up to Park Road east side, subject to the B3 Commercial Core zone west of Canberra Avenue remaining as currently zoned (see map below).

St Leonards South area.jpg  

The next phase of the planning process identified the exact location of public parks, community facilities, east-west links and roads– all to promote a liveable residential precinct. This involved translating the Master Plan into:

  • a draft Local Environment Plan (LEP) containing various legal mechanisms (zones; building heights; FSR; etc);
  • a draft Development Control Plan (setbacks; open space; transitions; parking; etc);
  • a draft Development Contributions Plan (which will include a suitable provision for Key Worker Housing); and
  • a draft Landscape Master Plan (to be incorporated into the DCP).

Progress Report was presented to the 15 February 2016 Council meeting updating the status of the Draft LEP amendments and other documents. 

Draft LEP Amendments (May 2016 - July 2019)

The Draft LEP amendments were submitted to NSW Department of Planning and Environment in February and May 2016. The Draft LEP amendments (Planning Proposal) was granted a conditional Gateway Determination in September 2016. Community Information Sessions were held in November 2016 to provide this update to owners and residents in the St Leonards South area – this was reported to the November 2016 Council meeting along with the presentation.

Council formally responded to the Gateway conditions in September 2017 and the other supporting documents were reported to the October 2017 Council meeting and endorsed for public exhibition.

Draft LEP Amendments

The proposed LEP amendments for the St Leonards South Residential Precinct (bounded by Canberra Avenue, Marshall Avenue, Park Road and River Road) sought to:-

  • Increase the residential density of much of the site from R2 Low Density Residential to R4 High Density Residential
  • Increase the building height limits for the area from 9.5 metres to the various building heights
  • To amend the maximum permissible floor space ratio (FSR) for the area from 0.5/ 0.6:1 to various floor space ratios
  • Support the provision of public open space throughout the precinct commensurate with the planned intensity of development in St Leonards South
  • Support the provision of Community facilities throughout the precinct commensurate with the planned intensity of development in St Leonards South
  • Ensure landscape design within both the public and private domain is of a uniformly high standard
  • Support ease of pedestrian/ cycle circulation throughout the precinct
  • To support the provision of efficient traffic routes in St Leonards South


Consultation on the draft LEP amendments and other supporting studies ran from 30 October 2017 to 5 January 2018. A copy of the submissions received during this consultation period is available.

The exhibition material included:-

  • A Planning Proposal which seeks to amend LEP 2009 to implement new site-specific planning controls (including zoning, building heights, floor space ratios, lot sizes and land reservation acquisition) which will control development in the St Leonards South Precinct. Ministerial delegation was not issued to Council for this proposal.
  • A Draft Development Control Plan that details development controls for the precinct.
  • A Draft Landscape Master Plan that details designs for public and private domain areas and the overall streetscape.
  • A Draft Section 94 Contributions Plan that provides a means for funding local infrastructure required as a result of the new development.

Other information and supporting documents, including Supplementary Design Report; Heritage Study; Cumulative Transport and Accessibility Study; Cumulative Traffic Study; St Leonards South Master Plan – December 2014; Independent Economic Review; HillPDA advice on Affordable Housing; S94 Open Space Contribution; and Community Facilities uplift.

Community Drop In Sessions were held throughout November and December 2017. Both these sessions involved the display of information panels outlining the scheme and staff were on hand to answer any questions.

To view all the exhibition material in full please see the Related Documents below.

Related Documents

Other Supporting documents

Proposed LEP maps

Gateway Determination

* confirmed as satisfactory by NSW Planning & Environment in advice to Council on 20 October 2017.

Council Reports

  • Council Report – St Leonards South Master Plan - 13 July 2015 
  • Council Resolution – St Leonards South Master Plan - 13 July 2015 
  • Council Report – St Leonards South – Draft Development Control Plan, Draft Landscape Master Plan and Draft Section 94 Plan – 23 October 2017 
  • Council Resolution - St Leonards South – Draft Development Control Plan, Draft Landscape Master Plan and Draft Section 94 Plan – 23 October 2017

What happened next?

At its meeting held on the 19 March 2018, Council resolved to write to Minister Anthony Roberts MP to request:-

  1. An extension of time for Council to complete the St Leonards South Planning Proposal to allow for the public release and consideration of the St Leonards / Crows Nest Planned Precinct Draft Land Use Infrastructure and Implementation Plan; and
  2. Confirmation that if the Planning Proposal proceeds and given the recent rezonings in St Leonards east of the railway line, these rezonings satisfy Council's housing supply targets to 2026.

This was to allow the community and Councillors to understand and consider the Government's plans for the Precinct, particularly in relation to the provision of infrastructure, prior to further considering the Planning Proposal. Once this was released, two (2) additional community consultation sessions were to be organised to outline the plan to the community. A 12 month extension was subsequently granted.

Greater Sydney Commission

Council also sought clarity and a commitment that if the St Leonards South Planning Proposal proceeds and given the recent rezonings in St Leonards east of the railway line, these rezonings will satisfy Council's housing supply targets to 2026. Council has received correspondence from the Greater Sydney Commission which acknowledges, in two key sentences:-

"Based on Council's estimates of capacity created via planning strategies currently being considered and Council's 2009 LEP, the LGA has the potential to exceed a 6-10 year (2021-2026 target)......."

"In this regard we recognise that the additional capacity you are creating now through your local planning will be counted towards your achievement of a 10 year target."

Based on the letter and discussions with the Greater Sydney Commission, to bring this into effect Council can develop a 10 year Housing Strategy (as all councils are required to do once the target is known), based on the St Leonards East and South precincts only.

Updates (August 2019 - April 2022)

August 2019

Council at its meeting on Monday 19 August 2019 resolved that:

  1. Council receive and note the advice of the Independent Planning Commission (IPC);
  2. Council advise the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, that the NSW Government should review and respond to the IPC's advice and recommend that:-

a) Council participates in the process and provides all necessary information and resources as required;

b) In conducting the review, although it is appropriate for Council to participate, the findings should be delivered by the Government;

c) As a number of the issues raised by the IPC also apply to the remainder of the St Leonards / Crown Nest 2036 study area, the NSW Chief Planner be involved in the review in addition to the Government Architect; and

d) Dr Deborah Dearing from the Greater Sydney Commission also be included in the review; and

3. That the review also consider:-

a) Reducing the 41% growth target for Lane Cove to 2036 to a more realistic rate in line with neighbouring Councils such as Mosman (6%) and Hunters Hill (9%) rather than our larger neighbours (such as North Sydney 27%, Willoughby 21% and Ryde 45%);

b) Contributing to the provision of more open space in the St Leonards South precinct given that Council's proposed contribution through the draft Master Plan is already $30 million (over and above existing s7.11 contributions) and a higher amount will be needed to purchase more open space;

c) Overshadowing concerns, particularly facing River Road;

d) The need to provide accessible pathways for pedestrians and cyclists;

e) The need to provide local community facilities; and

f) The overall financial feasibility of the plan.

September 2019

On 10 September 2019, Council wrote to the Minister Stokes seeking his involvement to ensure the review is adequately resourced.

The General Manager had met with representatives of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to better understand the proposed process. The Department had set a 2 month indicative timeframe to undertake the strategic review of the scheme having regard to the IPC's advice. Once the review is complete, depending on the scale of change, community consultation would then be undertaken. At the conclusion of the consultation process Council would be in a position to consider such amendments in the finalisation of the Planning Proposal.

October 2019

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment advised that they intend to release the timetable and terms of reference for the strategic review of the St Leonards South scheme by 25 October 2019. 

Two Planning Proposals lodged in the St Leonards South Precinct were refused by Council and Sydney North Planning Panel as they were inconsistent with the Master Plan and Draft LEP amendment.

November 2019

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment released the Terms of Reference for the strategic review of the St Leonards South Planning Proposal and announced the review included a Charette (where experts were gathered to review the scheme) was conducted on 11 November 2019. Participants included the Government Architect, a representative of the Greater Sydney Commission and a team of design and urban planning specialists. When complete it is intended that an outcome report would be produced and provided to Council in 2019.

February 2020

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment released its Strategic Review of the St Leonards South Planning Proposal which included a Charette (where experts were gathered to review the scheme)  conducted on 11 November 2019.   The report concludes "Specifically, the planning proposal should be reviewed to consider:

  1. Creation of a new central park – the proposed open space should be relocated to sit centrally within the St Leonards South precinct in order to maximise opportunities with active and passive recreation and make effective use of strategically co-located community uses.
  2. Consolidation of public open space – pocket parks referenced at Holdsworth Avenue, Marshall Avenue and Berry Road should be consolidated into one central open space. This will maximise useability of open space for both passive and active recreation activities.
  3. Creation of new east-west links – an amended block layout should be explored with additional east-west links to establish a grid pattern in the precinct. This will achieve improved pedestrian permeability and activate public open space connections.
  4. Reorientation of density in the precinct – in order to maintain solar access to public open space, density should be reorientated to the north-east portion of the precinct.
  5. Minimising traffic movements – by minimising on-street parking, closing the intersection at Canberra Avenue and River Road, and introducing maximum car parking rates for the precinct. These measures will assist in delivering a pedestrianised environment reflective of the precinct's proximity to active transport".


May 2020

On 11 May 2020, Council held an Extraordinary Meeting to respond to the State Government's Design Charrette, Independent Planning Commission advice and all submissions received during the public consultation process on St Leonards South.

Council resolved to amend the draft plans to reduce the overall density of the plan, increase the amount of open space and key worker housing and include other measures related to design guidance/excellence and sustainability. A further resolution was passed on 18 May 2020 to provide further clarification on some points. Please see the 'Council Agendas and Minutes' section for all details.

Council forwarded the amended Planning Proposal to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment.

September 2020 - Finalisation of St Leonards South Planning Proposal

The St Leonards South Planning Proposal (Planning Proposal 25) was finalised by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, consistent with Council's resolution of 11 May 2020. This included a reduction in the height of buildings along Canberra Ave and Park Rd and comes into effect from 1 November, 2020. In the interim, the LEP wording and associated maps, including the incentive height of buildings map can be viewed on the LEPs Online website - Determination Documents tab.

The Gazetted LEP amendment reflects the height changes between the exhibited draft Incentive Height of Buildings Map and final Incentive Height of Buildings Map. The number of storeys permitted within the height controls is regulated in the Development Control Plan (DCP) for the area which is being updated to reflect the controls shown in Figure 13 included in the Supplementary Report adopted by Council. A consolidated DCP reflecting this as well as other amendments from the 11 May Council Meeting were submitted to the October 2020 Council Meeting.

Please note: The recently finalised St Leonards Crows Nest 2036 Plan shows a different diagram compared to Figure 13. However, DPIE has confirmed the finalised LEP overrides any such references within the St Leonards Crows Nest 2036 Plan.

October 2020

The final Development Control Plan and Landscape Master Plan for St Leonards South were adopted by Council at the 19 October 2020 meeting and took effect from that date. Copies of the documents can be found below: 

April 2021

Council considered the post-consultation St Leonards South draft Section 7.11 Plan at its April 2021 meeting. The plan (including Appendix B -Detailed Cost Estimates Mitchell Brandtman Report from March 2021) were forwarded to IPART for review and assessment. Visit the IPART website for the status of their assessment.

December 2021

IPART has completed its assessment of the contributions that Lane Cove Council can levy developers in the St Leonards South precinct.

IPART's assessment ensures that developers pay the reasonable cost of providing local infrastructure required by new developments in the St Leonards South precinct.

Developers in the St Leonards South precinct would provide around $44 million to deliver a new local park, expansion of Newlands Park and pocket parks. A further $9 million will pay for stormwater and road upgrades.

IPART's main findings and recommendations were:

  • Council should investigate funding the new local park earlier in the development timeline, before incorporating changes in the next review of SLS CP in 3 years' time.
  • Remove the cost of shared paths which will be delivered via conditions of consent.

The Final Report on IPART's review of St Leonards South Precinct Section 7.11 Contributions Plan is available to view on IPART's website.

The Final Report is inclusive of:

April 2022

At its Ordinary meeting of 19 April 2022, Council adopted the St Leonards South Section 7.11 Contributions Plan as an IPART reviewed contributions plan. 

This plan came into force on 20 April 2022 by being published on Council's website. 

The adopted site-specific & LGA-wide Plan are available to review online.