The struggle to stop more homes in one of Sydney’s richest areas

Housing targets to cater for Sydney’s growing population have been controversial, with some councils last year trying to reduce the number of new homes due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Nearby City Council will absorb more homes than Woollahra in the next five years, with the Waverley Council agreeing to build up to 1,350 new homes, while the City of Sydney will absorb up to 15,000 new homes between 2021 and 2026.

But the Mosman Council will only house 250-300 new homes, and Hunters Hill is, according to the planning department, only required to meet a housing target of 150-200.

“Each council plays a fundamental role in planning their suburbs to ensure there are enough homes for different types and price levels supported by the right infrastructure to contribute to Sydney’s future housing supply,” said a spokeswoman for the department.

Plans to build towers up to 89 meters high in Edgecliff have also attracted criticism from some councilors, resident groups and Sydney MP Alex Greenwich.

The long-running debate also attracted the attention of Federal Liberal MP Dave Sharma, who in May called for the abolition of the housing goals for Woollahra.

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“The area is close to capacity in terms of the number of homes and population it can accommodate with the current infrastructure and facilities,” he said at the time.

Sharma said residents often contacted him with complaints about the pressure on roads, schools and parking caused by population growth.

Bruce Bland, vice president of the Rose Bay Residents Association, said successive state governments had failed to build new infrastructure over the past three decades.

“It is common knowledge that Woollahra residents believe that Woollahra is full and do not want further increase in development unless it is accompanied by appropriate infrastructure,” he said in an email to city council members.

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Bland said he believed Liberal council members who voted to build more homes were “married to the state Liberal Party”.

The president of the Double Bay Residents Association, Anthony Tregoning, reiterated Mr Bland’s concerns, arguing that Liberal councilors were reluctant to put residents’ interests ahead of their ambitions.

“We want the Council to withdraw [state] the government’s autocratic approach to planning, ”he said. “We need our council to take residents’ frustration more seriously.”

Cr Wynne rejected allegations that Liberal councilors did not look after the interests of their residents. “I know my Left colleagues very well, and not one of them supports overdevelopment,” she said.

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