Royal Sydney Golf Club has received consent from the NSW Land and Environment Court to proceed with it’s Championship Course development after an exhausting conciliation process with Woollahra Council.
The Club confirmed today that the New South Wales Land and Environment Court (the Court) has upheld the Club’s appeal concerning its Development Application (DA), following the completion of the conciliation processes with Council established under Section 34 of the Land and Environment Court Act. Development consent has been granted by the Court.
The Club has worked very closely with Woolharha Council over the last six months, and made several changes to its Championship Course DA to incorporate Council and the Woollahra Community’s feedback on the landscape and ecological aspects of its golf course restoration project.
With the benefit of these changes, the DA clearly identifies how biodiversity across the course will be vastly improved by the enhanced course restoration plans and provides further details on important water management and drainage solution improvements (which are not possible under the current course set-up).
The DA offers the opportunity to implement a native landscape restoration program , complementing its new Championship Course design, which will transform Royal Sydney into one of the most important sanctuaries of native flora and fauna in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs – a previously unimaginable outcome.
The new plans will more than triple the Club’s current floral diversity to over 100 different native species, as well as increase the total number of trees onsite by nearly 1,600. Some 14 hectares of fertilised mown turf will be restored as areas of natural coastal heath, endangered Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub and naturalised native grasslands, allowing the Club to reduce annual water usage by 20 percent.
Royal Sydney President, Chris Chapman, said while the DA process had been lengthy, its comprehensiveness had ultimately delivered a very positive outcome for the community.
“In working extensively with Woollahra Council and heeding the feedback of the local community since the original DA lodgement in late 2019, we have produced what can be considered the most exhaustively detailed golf course renovation plans in Australian history,” Mr Chapman said.
“At more than 1,000 pages and including numerous expert reports on matters ranging from ecology and horticulture to flood planning and the extensive civil works involved, no stone has been left unturned and absolutely nothing has been left to chance – nor will it be. Given the comprehensive nature of the DA, all the environmental benefits promised by the restoration will be delivered.”
Mr Chapman accepted that the extremely rigorous process was absolutely critical, given the important role the Club serves in the local community and ‘the lungs’ that the course acreage represents.
“In addition to being a social and sporting club and a host for local and international sporting events, we recognise that we are custodians of the largest area of managed landscape in the Woollahra municipality,” he said.
“That is why a clear objective of the landscape restoration has always been to make the Royal Sydney property a most vital haven of native flora and fauna in the area. By planting a wide diversity of native plants, some rare and endangered, we will act as a wildlife corridor for birds, insects and other fauna, and intend to act as a seedbank for wider native restoration programs throughout the eastern suburbs community over the longer term.”
“In putting to one side all the additional time and costs involved, Royal Sydney has led by example in taking the most environmentally beneficial and sustainable approach to golf course management and tree and ecology master planning.”
Royal Sydney plans to commence the renovation of the Championship Course in early 2024, which will be overseen by its designer, the world-renowned Golf Course Architect, Gil Hanse, assisted by our Landscape Architect, Harley Kruse.