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It STILL Blocks the Rocks!

Updated: Feb 9

The exhibition period for the amended Barangaroo Central MOD 9 proposal has been extended by 14 days to provide more time for the community and agencies to review the material and make a submission. The exhibition will now end on Wednesday 21 February 2024.

For more information on the latest proposal and to OBJECT, please click here: Barangaroo Concept Plan (Mod 9) | Department of Planning Housing and Infrastructure (


Dear Members of the Community


  • The developer of Central Barangaroo seeks to double the size of the approved concept plan (from 45,000 to 104,000 m2), despite offering a negligible improvement in public good. It takes much and delivers little.

  • The heritage sightlines from public open spaces to the opposing foreshore from Observatory Hill and the State Heritage listed Millers Point and Dawes Point precinct are lost under the new proposal.

  • The modified proposal reduces the size of Hickson Park and reduces the amount of community space from 28,000 to 2,800 m2.

  • The new proposal seeks to build 150 luxury apartments and a new hotel on Sydney Harbour foreshore previously allocated to be the ‘civic heart’ of Barangaroo.

  • It still blocks the historical views from Balmain and Pyrmont to the heritage listed Millers Point and Dawes Point precinct.


Once again the community needs to hold the NSW Government to account. Apart from our previous substantive grounds for objection to the last Mod 9 proposal in 2022 (excessive bulk and scale, heritage impact on Sydney’s oldest residential suburb, impact on Observatory Hill vista, etc), there are a number of significant changes of concern:

  • The developers have doubled-down on the argument that the views below a 35 metre height (higher than the Langham Hotel) west of the site (all of High Street, Kent Street, parts of Observatory Hill) were lost when Modification 2 did not approve the development block controls back in 2008 – completely at odds with the Conditions of Consent that these views must be retained.

  • The applicant has ignored requests to represent the original concept plan in visual assessments despite requests from the Government Architect, suggesting such analysis would be “meaningless”.

  • The application has changed from a mixed use retail, office and residential proposal to a primarily (up to 75%) residential development which fails to deliver against the key principal of being the civic heart of Barangaroo and failing to capitalise on the amenity of the metro station.

  • The important pedestrian links between neighbouring Millers Point and Central Barangaroo (characterised by the Sydney Steps in previous proposals) don’t form part of the proposal.

  • A cornerstone planning principle for the Barangaroo precinct has been ignored – that heights gradually reduce as the development moves north towards the Headland Park.

  • The “approved concept plan” promulgated by Aqualand and Infrastructure NSW is based on legal technicalities not the established planning principles and original block development controls for Barangaroo (modulated building heights respecting the High St sandstone wall cutting and terraces above). 

  • The Department of Planning and the Government Architect have not declared what the “approved concept plan” as a base line is.

We fear that the new NSW Government has adopted  a narrow commercial “just get it done” view of this development (jobs, economy, previous delays, bias to action and progress, less concern about heritage attitude, etc) rather than important consideration of the unique nature of this place (unlike any other Metro Station): Harbour side setting (the last remaining harbour setting able to be developed from scratch) and its adjacency to the Millers Point Heritage Conservation Area, and the unreplaceable public vistas that would be seriously compromised.

It was astonishing to read in the 12 January (a day after the modified proposal was lodged) in the Sydney Morning Herald quoting Lands and Property Minister Steve Kamper:

“Central Barangaroo will become the cultural and civic heart of the Barangaroo precinct. Central Barangaroo will also be the major stepping off point for the new Barangaroo Metro station, transporting thousands of workers, visitors and residents in and out of the precinct every day. The revised proposal prepared by Aqualand presents a mixed-use development that showcases residential, community, tourism and retail uses for the community.

..and on the Aqualand website: The design has been backed by Minister for Lands and Property Steve Kamper, who said “the refined design prepared by Aqualand delivers a world class mixed-use development of residential, commercial, community and cultural uses, while balancing the views of the local community”.

We have requested an extension of the exhibition period beyond the 7th February deadline but in the meantime our community must respond by objecting to this proposal. We awaiting a response from the Planning Minister on our request for an extension of time for the making of submissions.

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