The Association’s principal role is to advocate for residents’ interests with Woollahra Municipal Council and other government bodies. This involves monitoring the Council’s meeting agendas and drafting submissions on issues likely to affect residents. We retain the services of a qualified town planner who assists with drafting submissions on development applications and occasionally representing the DBRA at hearings.


In the 12 months before the Association’s 2023 annual general meeting, we challenged 15 development applications. We also wrote submissions on 13 other issues including excavation controls, active transport, late night noise from a bar, and the rezoning of the Double Bay Bowling Club.


Our main focus during the year was the Council’s draft Double Bay Centre Planning and Urban Design Strategy which proposed six-storey buildings, with greater bulk, throughout the centre. The Council invited residents’ comments, and we distributed 8,000 flyers encouraging them to consider the strategy carefully and, if they disagreed with it, submit an objection.


The draft strategy attracted objections by 209 residents. The top five issues raised were:

  1. Building height (146)
  2. Village character and over-development (134)
  3. Amenity impacts – solar, wind, views (86)
  4. Traffic and congestion (79)
  5. Parking (74)

As a result of community opposition, the strategy was revised at the end of 2023, with six storeys reduced to five in several streets and deletion of a restriction of vehicles turning right into Kiaora Road. 


This is one of many issues on which the DBRA has had an impact during the past 30 years. Other examples are:

  • We were part of a successful fight in 2009 to stop two 14-storey towers being built in Cross Street.
  • We spent several years in negotiation with the Council on the Kiaora Lands development to minimise its impact on residents while helping to revitalise Double Bay.
  • We lobbied the state government successfully for a clearway along New South Head Road from Rushcutters Bay, improving traffic flow.
  • We were instrumental in reducing the hours when traffic can use Kiaora Lane, improving pedestrian safety.


We continue to lobby the Council on issues which concern our members, holding regular meetings with the Mayor, General Manager and councillors. Our next major concern is the proposed redevelopment of the Cross Street car park, on which the Council has held secret meetings over several years, never consulting ratepayers who own the building. 


We understand that the Council is negotiating a 99-year lease with a developer, effectively transferring ownership of this valuable asset. While details remain secret, we understand the plan includes excavation for four levels of basement parking and additional storeys of apartments on the top. The plan for basement parking ignores an engineer’s report commissioned by the Council in 2021 which highlighted the danger of excavation in Double Bay because of its shallow water table.


The following questions we’ve asked remain unanswered:

  • What will be the impact on Double Bay businesses while the car park is being built? Where will their customers and employees park?
  • The car park is often full now; how many additional spaces will be available for public use?
  • What will be the hydrogeological implications for surrounding properties from the proposed excavation?
  • What exposure will ratepayers have to any claims for compensation for damage resulting from excavation?
  • Which buildings in the Double Bay centre and the surrounding amphitheatre will lose views due to additional storeys?
  • What will be the impact of additional traffic from proposed apartments on the dangerous Cross Street/New South Head Road junction?
  • Why has the Council ignored the report DBRA commissioned from a structural engineer which stated that the current car park is structurally sound?


We continue to be guided by our members’ concerns as Double Bay evolves, and we encourage them to advise us of issues on which they would like us to advocate. We encourage all Double Bay residents to consider joining the DBRA to ensure your voice is heard.


Double Bay Residents' Association