Bays Precinct

December 2022 - Update

Rezoning of Stage 1 – White Bay Power Station and Metro is now finalised. This is the first of the 10 sub-precincts in Bays West to undergo master planning and rezoning. Further details are available here.


Stage 1 - intended outcomes

The Stage 1 rezoning proposals aims to deliver:

  • 78,000sqm of commercial floor space (5,412 jobs) including office and retail premises 
  • 23,900sqm residential floor space (250 dwellings)
  • 41,650sqm of new public open and green space
  • The revitalisation and protection of heritage-listed White Bay Power Station
  • Supporting social infrastructure including a district multi-purpose community/library hub
  • Improved public and active transport, including cycleways.


Land use zones

The resulting scheme includes four land use zones:

  • E2 - Commercial Centre
  • MU1 - Mixed Use
  • RE1 – Public Recreation
  • SP1 – Special Activities.
  • Affordable housing

The Inner West Local Environmental Plan 2022 is amended to include a clause, specifically relating to the Stage 1 sub-precinct and will allow the Council to impose a 7.5% affordable housing contribution in accordance with the Bays West Affordable Housing Program.  

Next Steps

Future Stages of the Bay West, including Roberts Street Sub-Precinct, which Council recommended be removed from this Stage, will undergo a similar program of master planning and rezoning over time.  At this time, no specific dates are proposed. 

The process so far

The Bays Precinct is divided into East and West areas. 

  • East Bays Precinct sits within the City of Sydney and comprises Sydney Fish Markets and Blackwattle Bay.
  • West Bays Precinct sits within the Inner West Council area and comprises several sub-precincts as detailed below.

Bays Precinct

The Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) finalised the Bays West Place Strategy in November 2021. 

The Place Strategy builds upon previous urban renewal work in the wider Bays Precinct and creates a long-term vision for Bays West to be delivered over time. This is a vision for a connected and vibrant precinct that is an innovative and sustainable new place for living, working and recreation.

In May 2022, DPE exhibited a draft Masterplan for Stage 1 – White Bay Power Station (and Metro) and Robert Street sub-precincts. Inner West Council responded to the exhibition with a formal submission that is available here (PDF 1.9MB).

In September 2022, DPE exhibited a draft Rezoning Package for Stage 1 – White Bay Power Station (and Metro).  Inner West Council responded to the exhibition with a formal submission that is available here (PDF 1.1MB).

Council's position

Council's priorities for the Bays Precinct are:

  • World class public transport access
  • Reopening of the Glebe Island Bridge to pedestrians and cyclists
  • Public access to foreshore
  • Up to 30 per cent of all new housing to be not for profit, as all the Government’s expert advisors have recommended
  • New recreational facilities including an indoor sports centre and multiple outdoor sporting grounds

Read Council's Guiding Principles for the Bays Precinct for further details about Council's position on the Bays Precinct.

Additional information

The Bays Precinct has been the subject of many NSW Government planning activities over the past decade. Here is a summary of this work.

Transformation Plan for the Bays Precinct (2015)

In October 2015 Urban Growth released its Transformation Plan for the Bays Precinct.

The plan outlined 7 Key Actions for the Bays Precinct as follows and shown in the plan below:

  1. Divide the Bays Precinct into eight distinct but linked Destinations
  2. Introduce the Bays Waterfront Promenade
  3. Recover and re-purpose the White Bay Power Station
  4. Create the Bays Market District incorporating a rejuvenated Sydney Fish Market
  5. Include Wentworth Park in the Program Area
  6. Work towards re-purposing the Glebe Island Bridge
  7. Introduce water quality initiatives in the Bays Waterways

Urban Growth also released its Call for Great Idea Compendium in October 2015 which is, a summary of the workshop outcomes from the July 2015 Call for Great Ideas Workshop.

In late 2016 Urban Growth sought RFPs for the White Bay Power Station site and a total of 13 proposals were received.

Urban Renewal Summit

The Government held a two-day summit in Sydney to draw on the expertise of global, national and local urban renewal specialists to inform the renewal of The Bays Precinct. The summit was held on the 19 and 20 of November 2014.

Read the NSW Treasurer's Speaking Notes - Bays Summit

Council requested that the NSW Government provide the following information regarding the proposed Bays Precinct summit:

  • The terms of reference for the summit
  • Relevant details of all participants who will be invited to the summit
  • Details of how input might be made to the summit
  • Details of which areas and sites are to be discussed
  • The timetable for all discussions and any proposed consultation with
  • Council and the communities of the Bays Precinct area
  • Council will also request that a delegation - which includes nominated Councillors, Council staff and local community representatives - from the Leichhardt Municipality be invited to attend the summit.

After the Summit Urban Growth produced a Statement of Guiding Principles that was developed as a result of the summit.

Statement of Guiding Principles Bay Precinct (PDF 7.8MB)

Then NSW Treasurer Andrew Constance in his statement before the summit revealed plans for 16,000 new dwellings for the Bays Precinct. Council believed that the planning outcomes for this area were a done deal and that decisions had already been made behind closed doors without real consultation with the affected communities.

Sixteen thousand dwellings in the Bays Precinct would effectively turn the former Leichhardt Council area into the most densely populated in Australia.

Council believed that:

  • any Master plan should be based on an open, transparent and evidence based approach and should:
    • acknowledge the importance, size, location and unique circumstances of the site 
    • be climate positive by using decentralised energy and water cycle management 
    • respond to existing geography including built form patterns, headlands, views and vistas 
    • manage the transition from existing urban areas  
    • address traffic, parking and transport 
    • address integration of active and public transport 
    • address opportunities to establish pedestrian and cyclist connections between suburbs 
    • include integrated passive and active recreation spaces, including the need for foreshore access and access to water sports 
    • consider both working/non-working harbour land uses 
    • promote high quality public domain 
    • provision of affordable housing for key workers and public housing 
    • facilitate the adaptive reuse of heritage buildings including retention, restoration and utilisation of White Bay Power Station and Glebe Island Bridge 
    • ensure that future land use reflect the need to protect the amenity of existing residential areas 
    • improve biodiversity and protect and enhance indigenous heritage 

Investigation Reports

The City of Sydney has commissioned reports from Elton Consulting and SGS Economics Planning. These reports were made available to the community to assist in their broader understanding of the project.

Bays Precinct Taskforce Report

The Bays Precinct Taskforce released the Bays Precinct Strategic Framework Report on 26 March 2013. It included:

Taskforce report key findings

The key findings of the report were:

  • 1. There is a need to retain essential port shipping and maritime services in the Harbour.
  • 2. There is a need to retain publicly owned lands and waterways and manage the lease terms of operators to ensure long term flexibility of the assets.
  • 3. Given the location of the Precinct in relation to Sydney and wider metropolitan transport networks, the Rozelle Rail Yards have strategic potential to support the future M4 extension.
  • 4. Where findings 1 and 3 do not conflict, new development and adaptive re-use of vacant and underutilised sites (including White Bay Power Station and Rozelle Rail Yard) is supported.
  • 5. Improve the opportunity for public access to the foreshore areas, create shared access links and improved public domain within and around the Precinct. (The Government could consider opening the port and maritime lands for public access).
  • 6. Consolidate port and industrial type uses that are not commensurate with public access to Glebe Island for improved operation efficiencies and to open new development and access opportunities elsewhere within the Precinct.
  • 7. There is a need for certainty to future development with a management approach by Government with partnership with stakeholders.

Council's Position on the Taskforce Report

In April 2013 Council resolved the need for in relation to the Taskforce Report:

  • an independent cost benefit analysis for the retention of the Glebe Island Bridge
  • provision of open space and recreation areas, including sporting fields
  • at least 50% of any housing to be developed for affordable housing
  • separation of port traffic from other traffic
  • increased public transport, particularly light rail and new ferry stops
  • pedestrian and cycle access and across the Bays Precinct
  • access to the foreshore
  • a masterplan for the entire Bays Precinct
  • consistency in decision making by government departments and authorities in relation to projects and land use in the Bays Precinct
  • Leichhardt Council representation on the Implementation Committee.

Meetings held

Community Meetings about the Bays Precinct have been held as follows:

13 July 2015
Call for Great Ideas Workshop

16 and 17 May 2015
Bays Sydneysiders Summit
The Sydneysiders Summit was open to everyone, and held by Urban Growth to enable people from across the city to join other Sydneysiders in contributing to the transformation of The Bays Precinct.

19/20 November 2014
Bays Precinct International Summit
Invitation Only Event 
Read the NSW Treasurer's Speaking Notes - Bays Summit

16 November 2014
Community meeting hosted by the City of Sydney - find out more information here.
3pm - 5pm
Glebe Town Hall, 160 St Johns Road, Glebe

The following documents, made available by the City of Sydney, provide background information about the planning process to date in relation to the Bays Precinct as well as a review of 'best practice' urban renewal projects:

Bays Precinct Urban Renewal Program: Planning Processes and Consultation Review Report (PDF 5.9MB)
Bays Precinct Urban Renewal Program: Planning Processes and Consultation Review Report Appendices (PDF 5MB)
Best Practice Urban Renewal: Input in Bays Precinct Forum (PDF 3.5MB)
Mega Projects - Global review of best practice (PDF 1.8MB)

5 November 2014, 6.30pm
Leichhardt Council Public Meeting
Balmain Town Hall  
370 Darling Street, Balmain
Read the Meeting Presentation from 5 November 2014 (PDF 2.6MB)

5 November 2014, 6.30pm
Festival of Urbanism Talk - The Future of the Bays Precinct with Professor Stephen Cairns on 'open city' design 
Lower Town Hall, Sydney Town Hall, 
483 George Street (entry via Druitt Street) Sydney 2000 
Find out more about the Festival of Urbanism

5 August 2014 Glebe Town Hall, to discuss the NSW July State Government Announcement.

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Page last updated: 14 Dec 2022