Northern Beaches

Planning Our Sustainable Future

January 2019

Message from the Mayor

Technology is rapidly changing the way we live, the way we get around, how and where we work and even how we spend our leisure time. It’s hard to imagine what the world will look like when baby born today enters the workforce twenty years from now.

And yet as a community, it’s imperative we do turn our attention to the Sydney of the future because the decisions we make today will have an impact on that baby’s quality of life as they enter adulthood.

Good planning is all about looking ahead and ensuring we have the housing, infrastructure, services and environment to support our lives now, and for the future. Our aim is to do this while protecting and enriching the characteristics that make living here so special.

Sydney is growing. By the end of 2036, it is estimated Sydney’s population will grow by 1.7 million people to reach an overall population of 6.4 million people.The Northern Beaches will have to take our share. By current trends, we will need to house and service around 45,000 more people over the next 20 years. And like the rest of Sydney, the Northern Beaches has been challenged to become a “30-minute city”. That means we will need to commit to great planning to take us there.

We need to think about how we will do that now, including the infrastructure needed to support this change.

We know that’s no easy feat. Planning our local area of the future involves many moving parts. And it’s not just about making our suburbs bigger or smaller or making trips in and out of the Beaches quicker. It’s about changing how our places are planned and built, from today and years from now.

We have a great opportunity, as one new large Council, to create a single planning vision for the Northern Beaches as a whole - a roadmap for managing the way our area evolves, in a consistent, sustainable and coordinated way.

That means taking our four current Local Environmental Plans (LEPs) and workingwith our community and other stakeholders to create one new plan. Our newLEP, and the Development Control Plan that supports it, must be consistent withthe themes and regional directions set by the Greater Sydney Commission inthe North District Plan, and it must also respond to what our community told uswhen we developed our Community Strategic Plan.

We’ll start the process by creating a ‘local strategic planning statement’.This new planning document will outline our vision for the future, setting priorities and actions to achieve planning principles. It will confirm our commitment to a sustainable future and signal to the world where the Northern Beaches is headed.

We know our community is passionate about the Northern Beaches and want any future development to be in keeping with our lifestyle, environment, local character and changing community needs. This is already reflected in the strategies set out in the Community Strategic Plan, to “effectively plan for future growth by balancing regional priorities with local values”.

I look forward to engaging with our community as we take on this important project together and create a place we will be proud to hand on to our children and their children.

Michael Regan


Council needs to develop a new approach to planning for the Northern Beaches and we need your help to ensure that what we end up with genuinely reflects our community.

This page aims to help our community understand changes to the way we will manage planning on the Northern Beaches and more broadly across Sydney.

These changes respond to the way our community is evolving and reflect our priorities set out in Shape 2028 Community Strategic Plan and the actions tasked to us in the North District Plan. The North District includes the Northern Beaches and is one of five districts that make up ‘Greater Sydney’.

The first step in this process was completing a ‘health check’, which involved looking at all our existing local environmental plans against the North District Plan and the Greater Sydney Regional Plan. The next step will be establishing a ‘local strategic planning statement’ which is our road map for planning in our area over the next 20 years.

Reaching a vision to guide future growth will involve broad community engagement. We have already started talking with some community groups about planning in their local areas. We now want to hear from as many people as possible.

How you can help

We can all play a role influencing how growth happens. Over the next three years, Council will provide a number of opportunities - both online and in person - where the community can get involved, give feedback, share ideas and contribute to the development of a single planning framework.

We need to hear from as many people as possible, across every demographic and every suburb. We’ll be asking your thoughts on several topics - like housing, employment, social, infrastructure and environmental issues - so that what we end up with is a plan that works for you, our community and our places of the future.

The North District Plan sets out planning priorities and actions for improving the quality of life for residents as the District grows and changes
…effectively plan for the future growth by balancing regional priorities with local values

Planning our future

To address the changes in our community, be consistent with the North District Plan and accommodate our housing and job targets, we will be developing a new approach to planning on the Northern Beaches.

Currently, we have four Local Environmental Plans (LEPs) and Development Control Plans (DCP). One for former Manly (MLEP 2013) and Pittwater (PLEP2014); and two for the former Warringah (WLEP 2000 and WLEP 2011), each with their own Development Control Plan (DCP).

Working towards a new approach will involve a number of strategies and plans:

  • Local strategic planning statement
  • Local Environmental Plan (LEP)
  • Development Control Plan (DCP)
  • Local housing strategy

A new LEP and DCP, supported by an local strategic planning statement and local housing strategy, means we will have a consistent, sustainable and coordinated approach to planning for the entire Northern Beaches that also recognises the uniqueness of our area. This will be our roadmap for managing the way the Northern Beaches changes over the next 20 years and beyond, as a local area and a broader Northern District.

The bigger picture

Our local planning is driven by what is happening on a global, national, state and regional level.

The local strategic planning statement, DCP, LEP and the local housing strategy will guide future development. The overall goal of these plans is to make people’s lives better by making the places they live, work and spend time the best they can be, now and for future generations.

When planning for growth, we look at projections, trends and state government targets, consider environment and heritage impacts, consider planning opportunites and constraints and we consult with our community to come up with the best options for our area. We also have to address state, regional and district plans when planning at a local level.

Planning is:

  • future orientated
  • sustainability-focused
  • about balancing people, the economy and the environment
  • about our children and their children

We are growing and through great strategic planning we can influence how it happens.

Our new planning framework

There are many components to planning for the future. The North District Plan is our guiding plan and every effort we make to plan for the future needs to speak back to it.

What is a ‘local strategic planning statement’?

The statement is a new document that sets the land use vision, priorities and actions for NSW councils next for the 20 years. It is a strategic planning tool that will shape how development controls will evolve over time to meet the community’s needs. Our statement is called ‘Towards 2040’.

What is a Local Environmental Plan (LEP)?

This plan guides planning decisions for local government areas. It does this through zoning and standards, which provide a framework for the way land can be used.

What is a Development Control Plan (DCP)?

This plan provides detailed local planning and development controls, that are tailored to local places to protect and enhance what is important to us.

There are many cogs in the wheel

We need to consider many different elements when we plan for the future.



Open space


Water and waste efficiency

Hazard resiliency

Infrastructure & collaboration

Partnering with the NSW Government to deliver improvements to transport

Electricity, gas, water


Social and community facilities (schools, hospitals, community centres etc.)

Community and culture


Public spaces





Business and economy



As we grow our community profile will change, and our needs will be different to what they are today. It’s through good planning that we will be equipped to cater for this change.

Looking forward

Our population is expected to grow by 45,000 in the next 20 years. This is significant yet well below the growth estimated for a majority of Sydney councils.

What’s happening?

We need to understand population projections and trends on the Northern Beaches to best plan for the housing, infrastructure and employment needs of the future.
What we know about us:
Sources: Australian Bureau of statistics, 2016 and 2006

Housing targets

Sydney and the Northern Beaches are growing. To accommodate this growth,the State Government has set us housing targets.

The State Government sets housing targets for each local government area based on projected population growth. For the Northern Beaches, we must plan for 3,400 more homes by 2021. This is not inconsistent with our previous growth and targets, and is less than the 3861 built between 2011 and 2016.

Future housing that will contribute to achieving this target includes:

  • capacity in existing zoned areas (such as Dee Why Town Centre)
  • Warriewood Valley
  • Frenchs Forest Planned Precinct

The State Government also requires Council to provide a 10 and 20-year housing target. To do this we will develop a Local Housing Strategy (LHS) in consultation with the community. This LHS strategy responds to the changing needs of our community and helps align our housing growth with infrastructure and services to support our population.

Job targets

The State Government has set Council job targets for each of our strategic centres that need to be reached by 2036.

We need to reach these additional jobs targets:

  • Frenchs Forest - 2,700 to 3,700 jobs
  • Dee Why/Brookvale - 3,000 to 6,000 jobs
  • Mona Vale - 700 to 1,700 jobs
  • Manly - 1,000 to 1,500 jobs

Council will be undertaking an employment study to determine howto best meet these targets and provide for the needs of our community.

Land for jobs is in short supply and we must protect it.

Planning for future job growth will help:

  • provide jobs that match the skill sets of our community
  • attract and retain young people
  • strengthen the role of our centres
  • help people live and work in the area long term.

The Northern Beaches aims to become a 30-minute city which meansmore people will be living and working locally.

How will we approach sustainable planning?

Our special bushland, coastal environment, transport links and strategic centres result in a unique set of considerations.


Council will develop a set of planning principles to help guide decision sabout future change. These need to be based on directions from the NSW Government as set out in the North District Plan and our Community Strategic Plan. They are fundamentally based on good planning.

Our community will have the opportunity to help determine the planning principles for the Northern Beaches through the development of the local strategic planning statement.

Examples of good planning principles include:

  • Develop our built environment in line with best practice sustainability principles
  • Support the growth of jobs that match the skills of local residents
  • Support new development with appropriate infrastructure
  • Protect our natural environment from the impacts of development
  • Prioritise jobs growth in existing centres
  • Improve housing choice and affordability
  • Preserve rural lands for rural purposes
  • Create great public places
  • Avoid development in hazardous areas e.g. flood prone land
  • Improve accessibility to community services and facilities
  • Promote safe and healthy communities
  • Retain and manage industrial lands
  • Support innovation and economic growth

Planning our unique area

We must deal with a range of factors when planning for the future.


These maps demonstrate some of the factors that will need to be considered when we plan for our future. They are examples only.

We will consider many other constraints and opportunities when planning for the future.


What does this all mean to me?

Why do we have to plan for growth? Can’t we say ‘no more’?

The population of Sydney is naturally growing. If we don’t plan for growth and change now we will have serious issues to deal with in the future (more congestion,not enough houses, poor services and facilities etc).

This is about setting the plan in place now so that the future of the Northern Beaches is sustainable and our quality of life is the best it can be.

The District Plan will guide growth on the Northern Beaches alongside the rest of Sydney.

Will every part of the Northern Beaches see growth?

Many areas of the Northern Beaches are simply not suitable to accommodate any growth.

Considerations will include housing and access to public transport, employment,and other services;constraints like bushland and flood prone areas and considerations for environmental and heritage protection.

Won’t we hit our targets with all the growth in Dee Why and Frenchs Forest?

There are likely enough homes being built across the Northern Beaches to reach our 5 year housing target but we still need to plan for the projected growth over the next 20 years and beyond.

If we don’t consider it now in a strategic way it means we won’t have an area that is sustainable and functions well in the future.

Does the community get a say or is this all dictated by the State Government?

The State Government sets the housing and job targets for each local government area in Sydney in order to accommodate growth projections but Council and the community will plan the best way to meet those targets.

We will ensure everyone has a chance to have a say.

The job ahead

We will be conducting a number of studies to give us the information and guidance needed to make decisions about growth and change.
At each and every stage we will look to the community for feedback and ideas.

Get involved

Planning for our future is important and we want you to be involved.
Extensive community engagement will be at the heart of each stage of this process.
There are many steps in the process and we’ll be asking our community for feedback in a range of ways over the next three years as we work toward a final Local Environmental Plan for the whole Northern Beaches. We’ll start with the local strategic planning statement.

Local strategic planning statement process:

Stage 1 Early 2019
  • Learn more about the project
  • Register to get involved
  • Share your initial feedback and ask questions
  • Sign-up for chance to attend the focus groups
Stage 2 Early to Mid 2019
  • Help set the vision and direction of local strategic planning statement
  • Complete online survey
  • Strategic Reference Group workshop
  • Community focus groups
  • Submit your Q&As
Stage 3 Mid 2019
  • Draft local strategic planning statement on public exhibition
  • Provide your feedback
Stage 4 Late 2019
  • Council finalises and adopts the local strategic planning statement
  • LEP process commences
To register your interest in the project now visit
Your Say or email