Proposed Extension of Newlands Park
Proposed Extension of Newlands Park by the Partial Closure of Canberra Avenue
Since 2020, Council has planned to extend Newlands Park by the partial closure of Canberra Avenue. The proposed expansion of Newlands Park will result in more than 4,000m2 of open space which will increase the current area of Newlands Park from 10,120m2 to over 14,120m2, creating the largest passive open space park in the Local Government Area.
The construction works associated with the closure of Canberra Avenue will take place near the River Road end of Canberra Avenue which is due to be completed in late 2025. It includes a cul-de-sac, a conversion of the road to park lands, and a shared user path. To ensure that Newlands Park caters for the needs of the community, a more detailed Master Plan for Newlands Park will be developed.
As part of the proposal, Council is also proposing the provision of a roundabout at the intersection of Duntroon Avenue and Canberra Avenue. There will be a loss of on-street parking along the western side of Canberra Avenue, along the closed section of Canberra Avenue. However, it is anticipated that all parking for residents and their visitors will be accommodated within the new developments.
The following provides a chronology and summary of the decisions the Council has taken in relation to the proposal to close part of Canberra Avenue.
- May 2020 - Council when adopting the St Leonards South LEP, Council confirmed “ its intention to create additional open space through the closure of Canberra Avenue South and incorporation into Newlands Park, subject to the appropriate consultation on the closure of Canberra Avenue South, and should the closure proceed, Council seek to rezone the land , RE1 Public Open Space and classify it as Community Land, under the Local Government Act”;
- July 2021 - Topspring lodged a DA for their project based on Council’s resolution that the road would be closed and their design of their development reflects this.
- Feb 2022 - Council following a Notice of Motion (NoM) resolved that no action will be taken by Council at this time to commence the process to close Canberra Avenue between River Road and its intersection with Duntroon Avenue.
- March 2022 - the Topspring Development was approved with a design based on the road being closed which included condition “A.8P. Condition A.8.P of the development consent requires Top Spring to submit plans for the public domain works (this includes road works associated with closure including construction of the cul-de-sac and stormwater) to Council for approval prior to the Construction Certificate being granted”.
- April 2022 - Council staff recommended in a report to Council that a report come forward to progress the closure, Council resolved to reaffirm deferral of closure pending submission of reports requested in the Feb 2022 NoM.
- July 2022 - Council staff submitted the information requested in Feb/April. Council resolved the closure of Canberra Avenue be deferred until after construction of the development had commenced.
- June 2023 - Council was notified by Topspring that they need Council to confirm whether or not Canberra Avenue is closed so they can develop a design for approval by Council to comply with their Construction Certificate perquisite in Condition A.8.P. Top Spring developed their plans for the public domain works based on the development consent.
- July 2023 - Council resolved to undertake consultation on the proposed partial closure of Canberra Avenue.
- August 2023 Council staff issued a letter of consent to the design consistent with Council’s original May 2020 resolution. The s138 consent under the Roads Act was issued only to facilitate the Topsprings development being able to obtain a Construction Certificate. Staff did so on the basis that s140 of the Act provides the consent can be revoked at any time without limitation. The section provides as follows:-
“140 Revocation of consents
A roads authority may at any time and for any reason revoke a consent under this Division (other than a street vending consent) by notice in writing served on the holder of the consent.”
Topspring were advised of this when they were provided with the s138 consent. The issue of the s138 consent is not considered to be a factor in the elected Council’s decision making process as the s138 consent is subservient to the road closure process. If the road is not approved for closure, the s138 approved works cannot be implemented, and so the s138 consent will be revoked via s140.
- October 2023 – Council confirmed its intention to formally part of Canberra Avenue between with public vehicle access to be retained until at least 1 November 2025, refer the proposed closure and roundabout at the Canberra Avenue/Duntroon Avenue intersection to the Lane Cove Traffic Committee for comment and develop a Masterplan for the upgrade of Newlands Park which considers the possible widening of Duntroon Avenue to improve the access for two-way traffic.
- November 2023 - The Lane Cove Traffic Committee recommended to Council to approve the traffic management plan for the proposed closure and the plans for the roundabout.
- December 2023 – Council will consider the Lane Cove Traffic Committee recommendation and determine whether to proceed with the closure proposal.
Council has endeavoured to advance the road closure in keeping with the 2020 resolution and while there have been a number of deferrals of the matter, to date there has been no reversal in Council's strategic intent.
While Council has facilitated Topspring's progress in obtaining their Construction Certificate based on the expectation of a road closure, any final determination on the closure by the Council may necessitate a reversal of the public domain works design for Topspring. This action would utilise the authority granted by section 140 of the Roads Act.
The consultation process has by no means been compromised nor has it bound Council to an irrevocable decision; the ability to instruct Topspring concerning the public domain works design remains intact should the Council ultimately decide against the road closure.
Council remains fully committed to considering the opinions and insights gathered from the consultation with the objectivity and due diligence they deserve. These will be fully considered in the Council's ultimate decision regarding the road closure.
Duntroon Avenue, St Leonards 2065 View Map