Council turns a deaf ear to 500 local residents’ petition on the unavailability of on-street parking

One of the frustrations endured by Double Bay residents is the ever-worsening availability of on-street parking. Many households have a car more in the family than they have garaging for and all have at times visitors whether they be friends or tradesmen who need to find a parking spot close to where they live. It has become so bad in our area that the only day my wife goes shopping is on Sunday morning that being the only day she can be reasonably sure of finding a parking spot in our street on her return.

For those of us living in the streets south of the Double Bay Centre we witness a daily flotilla of cars (presumably driven by those who work in Double Bay) cruising our streets searching for a spot to park.

Against this background it is absurd that the Woollahra Development Control Plan does not require developers of residential flat buildings to provide a minimum number of on-site spaces to cater for the parking generated by that development. Illogically it requires developers of commercial developments to provide minimum numbers of parking spaces but not residential developments.

This led to absurd results such as a recent approval granted by the Woollahra Local Planning Panel for a development of 11 two-bedroom apartments and 4 shops on the corner of New South Head Road and Manning Road without requiring the developer to provide a single on-site parking spot! When the DBRA Committee member who had addressed the Panel opposing consent afterwards asked the Chair of the Panel how they could have done this, the Chairman told him that the absence of any minimum parking rates in the DCP would have meant their decision would have been reversed by the Court on appeal.

Accordingly, DBRA drafted a petition to Woollahra Council early in 2019 which some 500 of you residents signed (see attached). In it you asked “Council to introduce into its controls specific and realistic minimum parking rates for new apartments in both the Double Bay Centre and residential zones”. On 29 April 2019 the petition was formally presented to the Council meeting by Cr Jarvis.

At the same meeting Crs Jarvis and Silcocks put forward a motion which modestly proposed that a staff report be prepared into the merit and practicality of what was proposed in our petition, mentioning a possible exception for sites close to major transport nodes such as Edgecliff and Bondi Junction stations. It was defeated with Crs Cullen, Price, Regan and Silcocks (all Residents First) and Jarvis (Lib) voting for the motion and Crs Cavanagh, Marano, Shapiro, Shields, Wynne and Zeltzer (all Lib), McEwin (Green) and Elsing (RF) voting against.

We find it incredible that of the six councillors whose wards embrace Double Bay five were not even prepared to countenance a staff report into what 500 of the residents they represent were petitioning them to do. Only Mark Silcocks (RF) supported us in our attempt to relieve this worsening street parking situation.