CBD Public Domain Strategy

North Sydney Council is working to create a more engaging and pedestrian focused CBD that offers a greater range of activities and unique public spaces for workers, residents, students and visitors.

As part of this work, Council has developed the CBD Public Domain Strategy.

The strategy was adopted by Council at its meeting on 28 September 2020. It will inform and guide any public domain works across the CBD.

By 2036, there will be 80,000 workers in the CBD.

In the morning peak hour, 16,000 workers will access the new Victoria Cross Metro Station. An additional 9,000 workers will access North Sydney Train Station. Our streets, laneways and public spaces need to support this growth. 

The North Sydney CBD Public Domain Strategy prioritises urban life, community gathering and pedestrian safety. It identifies a range of projects that will create a strong, connected network of public urban spaces in the CBD and outlines a timeline and framework to deliver these projects.

Specifically, the strategy:

  • Outlines a vision and a series of goals for the CBD.

  • Recognises necessary access improvements that prioritise walking, public transport and cycling and moves regional traffic away from the centre.

  • Establishes a strong pedestrian corridor from North Sydney station to St Leonard’s Park and a series of east-west laneway connections.

  • Identifies opportunities for new and upgraded public space.

  • Outlines the process and funding arrangements to deliver the projects.

The strategy will be used to align both public and private investment in the CBD. It will inform:

  • Statutory and strategic planning decisions.

  • Future capital works programs.

  • Discussions with state agencies, the development industry and the community. 

To achieve the vision for North Sydney CBD, state and local government, the community and landowners need to work together. Through genuine collaboration, we can address the needs of the growing population.


How will we achieve more public space?

The strategy responds to the under supply of public open space in the North Sydney CBD. The centre currently supports only 46,000m2 of publicly accessible space, including footpaths, equating to 0.75m2 per worker (by comparison, Barangaroo has 2m2 per worker). With 20,000 new workers expected by 2036, to maintain this current ratio, an additional 16,000m2 of public space is needed.

The strategy identifies 19 projects that:

  • reinforce Miller Street as the main, civic spine of North Sydney

  • deliver over 17,000m2 of new parks and plazas

  • create a new and upgraded network of laneways and improve pedestrian safety and amenity within the CBD

Key projects include:

  • Miller Place: a new 7,450m2 public plaza outside the Metro Station achieved through the closure of Miller St between Berry St and the Pacific Hwy.

  • Post Office Square: an intimate new 1,675m2 plaza outside the iconic North Sydney Post Office.

  • Tramway Park: convert the under-utilised deck of the tramway viaduct into a 4,650m2 active recreation space.

  • Central Laneways: turn Denison, Mount, Hill, Spring and Little Spring Streets into pedestrian areas or shared zones.

  • Warringah Land Bridge: an ambitious, long-term project that reconnects North Sydney over the Warringah Freeway and reclaims unused space for the community.


Planning Context

The North District Plan identifies North Sydney CBD as part of the Harbour CBD and sets an ambitious target of between 15,400 and 21,100 additional jobs by 2036 (Greater Sydney Commission 2018). To support this jobs growth, the plan also directs Council to:

  • Action 24(f) - Provide a variety of high quality civic and public spaces befitting a globally-oriented CBD.

To implement the directions of the District Plan, the Greater Sydney Commission required Council to prepare a Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS). North Sydney’s LSPS was adopted by Council and had a letter of assurance issued by the Greater Sydney Commission in March 2020.

The LSPS sets out Council’s land use vision, planning principles, priorities, and actions for the next 20 years. The LSPS priorities include:

  • Priority I1 – Provide infrastructure and assets that support growth and change. 

  • Priority L2 – Provide a range of community facilities and services to support a healthy, creative, diverse and socially connected North Sydney community. 

  • Priority S2 – Provide a high quality, well-connected and integrated urban greenspace system.

The Public Domain Strategy addresses these three priorities.


Collaboration with State Agencies - Transport

Council has also been participating in the North Sydney Integrated Transport Program (NSITP) with relevant state agencies to address the impact of the metro arrival and proposed public space, transport and traffic changes.

The process has been a collaborative one with placemaking and city building for the North Sydney CBD being key considerations and drivers for the program.

However, the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link project proposes an entry portal that will be accessed from Berry Street. This presents significant challenges to achieving key elements of the PDS including the creation of Miller Place. Council will continue to work with state agencies through the NSITP to achieve a good outcome for the CBD.

For more information regarding the Western Harbour Tunnel and its impacts on North Sydney please refer to:

Council submission to the Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Freeway Upgrade EIS (10MB)


CBD Public Domain Strategy Documentation

Public Domain Strategy 2020 (29MB) - September 2020

Place Book - Stage 1 (51MB) - May 2019

Public Domain Review (16MB) - 2015


Enquiries may be directed to Caitlin Summers of Strategic Planning on 9936 8100.


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