Court Win for Thirdi, Toohey Miller’s Potts Point Plans

Sydney developer Thirdi has been given the green light for its joint venture Potts Point residential project by the Land and Environment Court.

The MUSE Potts Point development on Brougham Street will deliver 13 boutique residential one, two and three-bedroom apartments under plans submitted last year.

But the process proved to be more challenging than first imagined after the City of Sydney Council and planning committees failed to make a determination.

In March, Thirdi and development partners Toohey Miller filed an appeal in the Land and Environment Court.

While they have now been successful, Thirdi co-founder and director Luke Berry was candid about the challenges the team faced.

“From our point of view it was about respecting and integrating the heritage component of Potts Point within the development,” he told The Urban Developer.

“From the council’s point of view, due to a small but vocal community group against development in the area, it was obvious they were going to be under pressure to let our DA run a normal process of review and approval, even with our proposal being a compliant one in terms of height and scale. 

“At times you could tell the council felt torn between providing direction based on good design and how they would manage the local objections which would have severely impacted the best outcome for the site.”

As a result of the consultation and court process, the developers made revisions including a reduction in the size of the apartment block which would improve view sharing, particularly for The Butler restaurant on Victoria Street, which faced losing its city view as a result of the development. 

“While we were always going to ensure fair and reasonable view sharing for neighbouring properties, it was difficult to cut through the mis-information of the community groups just wanting to stop the development when they knew this was never going to happen,” Berry said. 

“All the design revisions were to ensure that the local community was considered, the heritage of the location was respected all without impacting the design intent of the development.

“We hope the community will see how we addressed their concerns in the final designs.”

Thirdi experienced a difficult and frustrating process with the Land and Environment Court.

“Thirdi always believes that the best and most productive process would be to try and work with the council and community to achieve a positive outcome for the development,” Berry said. 

“We are just grateful that there is a process that development like this one can follow to secure approval.

“The commissioner did an extraordinary job at balancing everyone’s opinions and concerns, and the outcome is a great result for all involved.”

Areas such as Brougham Street at Potts Point have aging and non-compliant buildings, said Berry, and these issues will have to be played out more often. 

“The reality is that areas like Potts Point…need to have a pathway through planning to ensure new housing is delivered in this area.” 

Despite the challenges, Berry is looking forward to the future of the development.

“We are excited to reveal these views to future residents when we launch MUSE in late 2023…can’t wait to start construction later this year,” Berry said.

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