The battle to stop more homes in one of Sydney’s wealthiest areas

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

Nearby councils will absorb more homes than Woollahra in the next five years, with Waverley Council agreeing to build up to 1350 new homes while the City of Sydney will absorb up to 15,000 new dwellings between 2021 and 2026.

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

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

Plans to build towers up to 89 metres high in Edgecliff have also attracted criticism from some councillors, residents’ 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 repeal of the housing targets set for Woollahra.

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

Mr Sharma said residents frequently 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 don’t want any further increase in development unless it is accompanied by appropriate infrastructure,” he said in an email to councillors.

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

Double Bay Residents Association president Anthony Tregoning echoed Mr Bland’s concerns and claimed Liberal councillors were reluctant to place residents’ interests before their ambitions.

“We’d like the council to push back against the [state] government’s autocratic approach to planning,” he said. “We need our council to take residents’ frustration more seriously.”

Cr Wynne rejected claims Liberal councillors were not looking after their residents’ best interests. “I know my Liberal colleagues very well and not one of them supports overdevelopment,” she said.

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