Planning Strategies

1. Overview

Council has a number of documents which provide a framework for strategic land use planning in the city.

2. Community Strategic Plan - Our Future Willoughby 2028

What is Council’s Community Strategy Plan, Our Future Willoughby 2028?

Our Future Willoughby 2028 is the community’s long-term vision and priorities for the future of the City.

Read more

3. Willoughby Local Strategic Planning Statement

In March 2018, amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (the EP&A Act) introduced a new requirement for local councils to prepare and make a Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS). The LSPS sets out the 20 year vision for land use in the local area.  The LSPS responds to land use questions for the Local Government Area and gives effect to A Metropolis of Three Cities and the North District Plan produced by the Greater Sydney Commission. The LSPS also informs amendments to Willoughby Local Environmental Plan 2012 and Willoughby Development Control Plan

In the context of the Willoughby LGA, the LSPS also provides information on the following:

  • The existing and future character of Willoughby.
  • Future housing, jobs and services.
  • Future infrastructure requirements such as community facilities and transport initiatives.
  • Protection of the environment and heritage values, areas and items.

A draft LSPS was publically exhibited from15 August 2019 to 27 September 2019.   Following exhibition, a draft final LSPS was reported to and adopted by Council on 10 February 2020.  Assurance of the adopted LSPS is required from the Greater Sydney Commission and a letter of support(PDF, 456KB) was received by Council on 20 March 2020.

4. Willoughby Planning Strategy

Sydney is growing and Willoughby is growing. Willoughby Council needs to plan for this growth through strategic planning. This planning will be guided by the community as well as by State strategic priorities and objectives.

There are four streams of strategic planning underway, which will culminate in the Willoughby Planning Strategy. Each stream has a different focus in order to provide a complete plan for Willoughby’s future.

The four streams are discussed in the following documents.

5. Chatswood CBD Planning and Urban Design Strategy 2036

The Chatswood CBD Strategy outlines changes relating to planning controls and the design of buildings and the public domain which will position Chatswood to capitalise on growth and the arrival of the Sydney Metro Rail.

It promotes new office/retail employment in the core of Chatswood, with surrounding mixed use development around the core and within the CBD boundary. The Strategy also seeks to enhance the centre's amenity and design to strengthen its diverse and vibrant character.

6. Willoughby Housing Strategy

  • The Greater Sydney Commission’s North District Plan sets Willoughby’s 5 year housing target to 2021 at 1,250 dwellings.
  • Population forecasts indicate we will need between 6,000 – 6,700 additional dwellings by 2036.
  • One focus is to ensure our existing medium and high density residential zones achieve their potential.
  • Another focus is increasing housing in a new mixed zone in Chatswood CBD.
  • A third focus is examining the potential for housing and employment in local centres.

Willoughby Housing Strategy(PDF, 17MB)

7. Local Centres Strategy

  • The health and vitality of Willoughy’s local centres are critical for the local economy and the health and amenity of residents.
  • The Local Centres was adopted by Council on 9 December 2019.  It provides the future planning control framework for seven local centres across Willoughby.
  • Principles adopted for this work aim to:
    - reinforce the importance of local centres as meeting places and for shopping and socialising
    - enhance local character and public amenity to promote healthy communities
    - stimulate economic investment for housing and jobs growth

Local Centres Strategy(PDF, 13MB)

8. Industrial Lands in Willoughby

Willoughby's industrial lands play an important role in providing and sustaining diverse employment opportunities. They are regularly the subject of proposals for other uses such as retail and residential.

Council is resisting these changes and aims to protect industrial lands to provide local employment and urban services.

A Position Statement was published in 2017 outlining the situation in relation to Willoughby's Industrial lands, together with suggested principles for the future. This was followed by a Draft Industrial lands Strategy which was recently on exhibition during 2020. Submissions were considered and a final Strategy has now been endorsed by Council which will inform current work on Council's new LEP and DCP. 

9. Have Your Say

Consultation to have a say on the draft Housing and Local centres strategy documents has occurred in three phases and over a 2 year period. This third phase of consultation was held between 5 February and 16 April 2019 and included opportunities to participate in surveys or attend local Drop-In sessions or Roundtable consultation activities to view the plans or talk about the proposals in more detail.

All submissions were reviewed and an Independent report on feedback was released in August 2019. Previous reports are located further below. 

The report was prepared by engage2 and was submitted for Council to note at the Meeting of 12 August 2019.

Final versions of both Strategies were considered by Council in December 2019.

See above for the latest  version of the Willoughby Housing Strategy and the final Willoughby Local Centres Strategy.

It is the intention to prepare final Housing and Local Centres Strategies (informed by the feedback received) to be considered by Council in December 2019.

10. Willoughby Integrated Transport Strategy 

Willoughby Integrated Transport Strategy (ITS) 2036(PDF, 6MB) is Council’s overarching strategic framework for transport planning and initiatives across the Willoughby local government area (LGA) to 2036.


The ITS has been aligned with the five Outcomes of Our Future Willoughby 2028 – Council’s Community Strategic Plan (CSP). The five Outcomes of the CSP have been translated into five ITS Strategic Directions as follows:

  1. Our transport system will be sustainable and promote greater levels of walking and cycling
  2. Our transport system will provide excellent local and regional connectivity and be accessible to all
  3. Our transport system will contribute to the development of vibrant, liveable and safe places
  4. Our transport system will support our local economy by efficiently managing congestion and parking demand
  5. Our transport system will embrace smart technology and respond to community needs

The ITS is accompanied by the Appendix Table of Actions, which are grouped into ten broad focus areas. These Actions define Council’s transport and mobility-related initiatives over the short, medium and long term.

Background and Community Engagement

Community consultation and feedback formed an integral part of the process to create the ITS. After being the subject of an internal working group (including Councillors) in 2019, a draft version of the ITS was created.

This draft document was placed on public exhibition from 3 February to 3 April 2020. During this period, council received more than 60 submissions via ‘Have Your Say’ or directly via email from members of the community and key stakeholders such as Transport for NSW.

The feedback was generally supportive of draft document, the Strategic Directions and various Actions. Nevertheless, changes were made to address key points raised in the community feedback, including improving the readability and presentation of the document. Following this revision, a final version of the document was created and this was officially endorsed by Council at its general meeting of 10 August 2020.

Where to from here

Transport, traffic and parking have long been key areas of concern for our community. With major transport projects under construction or planned across our region (e.g. Sydney Metro City & Southwest, Beaches Link) and continued growth in population and employment, it is clear that an integrated approach is required to better plan for and manage these issues.

Willoughby ITS 2036 provides this framework. Now that the ITS has been adopted, Council will continue to work with residents, businesses and the many other stakeholders in the transport system to implement the various Actions. In doing so, ultimately Council aims to maintain and enhance the sustainability, liveability and prosperity of our LGA.

11. St Leonards Strategy

The Department of Planning & Environment approved the St Leonards and Crows Nest 2036 Plan in August 2020.

The Plan covers three Council areas (Willoughby, North Sydney and Lane Cove) and is intended to facilitate the urban renewal of St Leonards and Crows Nest for expanding employment centre and growing residential community.

The Plan can be viewed at the Department of Planning & Environment’s website.

12. NSROC Planning

The NSROC group of Councils have produced a Sub-Regional Strategic Plan to guide each member council's planning to achieve the strategies of the group across the region.

13. Additional Studies

Chatswood CBD

Willoughby Local Centres Strategy – Traffic and Transport Plan (Cardno)

Review of Parking Rates report – Willoughby Development Control Plan (Cardno)