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West Ryde Town Centre Masterplan Frequently Asked Questions

Draft Masterplan Options

What is a masterplan?

A masterplan is a high-level, long-term planning document that sets out objectives and principles to guide future growth and development. It provides a conceptual layout that helps determine the land uses, built form, scale, connection, public and private spaces, and their relationship. It also helps define the desired future character for different parts of the study area, and provides direction on how its character can be maintained and enhanced. It also defines the desired future character for different parts of the study area and provides direction on how its character can be maintained, improved and enhanced. 

A masterplan is not...

a definitive statutory planning document. 

A masterplan, even once finalised, does not legally change the planning controls applying to development in West Ryde. The masterplan instead provides the evidence base for reviewing and making future changes to the Ryde Local Environment Plan 2014 (RLEP 2014) and for the assessment of any Planning Proposals (i.e. applications to change the planning controls). It also helps other government agencies to assess what infrastructure they need to investigate and program to support future housing growth in Ryde.

Why do a masterplan in West Ryde?

Despite its central location on a heavy rail line and proximity to employment and education opportunities, West Ryde is in a state of stagnation. The town centre has lagged behind other centres during a period of strong growth across the City of Ryde and there is visible evidence of economic stress such as vacant sites, poor building maintenance, lack of retail activity and blank façades.

While the town centre has potential, the low feasibility of the existing planning controls, fragmented landownership, and its bisection by Victoria Road has resulted in limited renewal and redevelopment. The incentive for landowners to redevelop their private landholdings to help stimulate place improvements is currently low due to the market conditions. There is a very real risk that this stagnation will continue and result in a declining town centre. West Ryde could start to mimic parts of Parramatta Road unless Council intervenes with a masterplan to guide the preparation of new planning controls to incentivise and drive change.

The masterplan will provide a framework to help guide decision making, promote coordinated development, improve place-marking and the streetscape, and help Council and other government agencies to assess what infrastructure needs to be investigated and programmed to support any future change.

How can a masterplan influence change?

While a masterplan will not directly approve any new development or change any development rules such as height limits in West Ryde (see ‘What is a Masterplan?’ and ‘A masterplan is not…’), it will help manage growth and ensure any future re-zonings or changes to the building heights are evidence based. Without a masterplan, there is no framework to assess changes to the planning controls.

During the preparation of a masterplan, the intended vision and desired outcome for the area is considered, and what are the requirements (or pre-conditions) needed to deliver on this vision via the planning controls. The planning controls within the RLEP 2014 is the primary ‘lever’ Council has to influence the level and type of change across the West Ryde Town Centre.  

During the preparation of a masterplan, the intended vision and desired outcome for the area is considered, and what are the requirements (or pre-conditions) needed to deliver on this vision via the planning controls. The planning controls within the RLEP 2014 is the primary ‘lever’ Council has to influence the level and type of change across the West Ryde Town Centre.  

Council has heard from the community as part of the Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS) and draft West Ryde Revitalisation Strategy preparation that the following ideas are important to prevent the further decline of the town centre and to promote revitalisation:

  • Improve pedestrian and cycle connections.
  • Provide more and improved public space to promote social and cultural events and opportunities.
  • Provide more trees and improve connections to surrounding open space.
  • Create activated laneways and preserving the heritage and fine-grain character.
  • Improve traffic, transport, and parking.
  • Provide diversity in housing options, affordability, and built form.

Council has made significant investment in its assets and public domain in West Ryde in efforts to encourage revitalisation. This includes improvements to Graf Avenue, West Ryde Library, Plaza, Community Centre, and recent works planned for Ryedale Road. However, as Council owns limited land within the town centre, its opportunity to generate significant change is challenging and restricted. Further public domain and Council investment is not the answer to solve the problem.

The delivery of the community’s key aspirations for West Ryde relies on several landowners redeveloping their private landholdings in line with a masterplan that promotes these ideas for a vibrant, attractive and liveable centre. As shown by the lack of redevelopment in the town centre, the current planning controls are not viable enough to encourage private landowners to redevelop.

To deliver widespread revitalisation across the West Ryde Town Centre, Council needs to encourage landowners to redevelop their private land with buildings of an appropriate scale via the planning controls in the RLEP 2014 to deliver on community aspirations and address the fear that the centre will continue to stagnate and risk decline.

How were the draft masterplan options prepared?

Council as part of its Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS) process consulted with the community on the draft West Ryde Revitalisation Strategy (draft Strategy). The West Ryde Town Centre Masterplan process investigated the ideas from the draft Strategy and considered the land use and urban design changes that may need to be made to the planning controls to help encourage renewal.

Based on the draft Strategy, a number of structure plans were created to help inform the desired outcome for movement, activity, open space and built form to help guide the preparation of the masterplan options and respond to the community aspirations for West Ryde. The structure plans present the desired outcome for West Ryde and inform what the draft masterplan options aspire to deliver across the town centre.

The draft Strategy included two development scenarios. The masterplan process has further explored these scenarios in more detail and has taken the following key factors into consideration:

  • Previous community feedback (including the community aspirations for place improvements and the strong opposition to high-rise development), 
  • Traffic and transport movements,
  • Infrastructure provision, and
  • Other planning matters (such as economic feasibility)

These factors all influence renewal opportunities in the West Ryde Town Centre.

Two draft masterplan options have been prepared which consider the opportunities and constraints of redevelopment within the West Ryde Town Centre and have used the scenarios in the draft Strategy as the starting point. Further analysis and testing have driven the height of buildings shown in the draft options. In addition, the options take into consideration the community feedback from previous consultation and the preparation of the Local Strategic Planning Statement, traffic and transport movements, infrastructure, and other planning matters (such as economic feasibility).

Each option presents a different scale of development (and associated public benefit and place improvements) to be delivered across different timelines. The two options have responded to the community’s feedback to not ‘overdevelop’ West Ryde with high-rise across the town centre. As the planning controls (i.e. building heights) are the primary ‘lever’ Council has to deliver renewal and redevelopment, this serves as a significant constraint to renewal as the market feasibility analysis carried out indicates that increases in building heights and density are needed to incentivise or encourage private landowners to redevelop their land to stimulate change.

The ‘economics of revitalisation’ mean the masterplan options prepared based on the community’s desire to keep a low-scale of development at West Ryde are unlikely to deliver on all the community aspirations for place improvements across the town centre. In order to deliver on the community aspirations in a shorter time span, more significant increases in height and density are needed to respond to the current development feasibility of West Ryde, and maturity of the current market. 

Where can I see the draft masterplan options?

Option 1 - Key Sites Only
Option 1 builds on the Baseline Scenario in the draft Strategy. Option 1 focuses on the delivery of change within the West Ryde Town Centre from the redevelopment of a few key sites that are likely to be redeveloped (or ‘turn over’) in the short-medium term as the site conditions (i.e. size, location, street frontage, and dimensions), ownership, and costs make it more viable for development. It would likely result in limited and sporadic redevelopment over an uncertain and extended timeframe. However, this option responds to the community’s feedback to limit high-rise and overdevelopment, while still allowing some change and some limited place improvements (i.e. through street improvements associated with the pedestrian infrastructure adjoining the development sites). 

This option is comparable to the current state of West Ryde (whilst integrating lessons learnt from the recent past) with a few larger sites (e.g. the Coles development) redeveloping on an ad hoc basis and delivering some public benefit in the town centre.

Whilst Council is aware of the community’s sentiment towards the scale and built form of the Coles site, its redevelopment resulted in the delivery of the community centre and community hall on 3-5 Anthony Road, West Ryde. The preparation of a masterplan can help Council ensure that the height and scale of buildings are better managed, whilst still encouraging some redevelopment. 

Option 2 - Long Term Change

Option 2 translates and builds on the Incentivised Scenario in the draft Strategy. Option 2 proposes to deliver gradual change resulting in a consistent built form over the long term across the West Ryde Town Centre. This option proposes to deliver some increase in height and density on select sites to encourage greater growth and public benefit across the town centre. Due to the current development market and feasibility of development in West Ryde, it is anticipated that redevelopment would occur gradually over a long timeframe.

Under this option, development would likely first occur on the outer areas of the study area (i.e. east of the railway line) to deliver the critical mass (i.e. population) needed to trigger the redevelopment of sites within the core of the town centre. As sites slowly redevelop one by one, this will encourage change on other sites, enabling them to become feasible and further instigate growth and revitalisation of the town centre. ‘Long term’ in this option means that the masterplan would encourage some development each year over 10+ years. The result would be a more self-sufficient and vibrant Town Centre, less reliant on customers driving longer distances to the center, and less susceptible to competition from other nearby centers. 

Like Option 1, this option also responds to the community’s feedback to limit high-rise and overdevelopment. This option will allow more change and place improvements than Option 1, however it would also occur over an extended timeframe. Some place improvements may not be delivered for a number of decades until the market conditions change and this scale of development is feasible to encourage renewal.

As a comparison of how a masterplan can result in development over this timescale, the masterplan undertaken in Gladesville has resulted in some sites within the Gladesville Town Centre and corridor being developed in the 10+ years since those planning controls within the masterplan were implemented. This ensured that the building stock in the area has seen some renewal, and also has funded and delivered local infrastructure upgrades such as street tree planting along Victoria Road, undergrounding of powerlines, granite paving, the small plaza at Wharf Road, the repair and renewal of the heritage clocktower, and the significant upgrade of the laneway between Coulter Street and Trim Place. This creates a critical mass over time that potentially improves development feasibility of some of the sites not initially feasible when the masterplan was first released over a decade ago.

A comparison has also been prepared of the two options.

How will the town centre look based on these options?

Each masterplan option has indicative building heights in storeys and the general building and development type (i.e. typology) which is residential, mixed use or commercial.

In order to understand what this would look like and the scale of likely future development, photos of existing buildings in other town centres have been provided to help show the likely outcomes of these typologies in West Ryde.

We recommend we look at the Section 6.3 Built Form Typologies with the draft masterplan options.


Other Frequently Asked Questions

What is the West Ryde Town Centre?

The West Ryde Town Centre Masterplan will take into consideration not only the town centre core but also its surrounding area. This includes both sides of the railway station, with the boundary shown using the red line. 


The Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) is managing a separate masterplan process for the Meadowbank Education and Employment Precinct (MEEP). The MEEP masterplan investigates ways to improve connectivity to industry and local employment, connectivity open spaces, the location of industry and business in and around the precinct, and infrastructure to support the precinct. The MEEP masterplan has a core boundary area made up of the NSW TAFE and school site, Sydney Water Pumping Station, and the industrial land between Hermitage Road and Mellor Street. More information about the masterplan for the MEEP can be view here on the GSC website. 

Who is preparing the West Ryde masterplan?

Council has engaged the consultant team of SGS Planning and Economics, SJB, and Cred Consulting to prepare the masterplan in close collaboration with Council and the community. The community consultation will help inform the preferred masterplan. 

What is the vision?

The draft West Ryde Town Centre Revitalisation Strategy presented ideas for future investigation to revitalise the town centre with the vision to:

“Rejuvenate West Ryde Town Centre into a distinctive, vibrant and attractive ‘Local Centre’. The future Town Centre will continue to be a go-to place for people’s daily needs and provide local employment opportunities but will also allow the community to connect with each other and provide pleasant places for people of different ages to meet, stay and connect.”

The masterplan process further builds on the ideas and vision of the draft Strategy, and the ideas and aspirations of the community. 

How does the masterplan get implemented?

The final masterplan endorsed by Council will form the strategic planning framework (or ‘evidence’ base) to guide any future changes to the Ryde Local Environmental Plan 2014 (RLEP 2014). The final masterplan will not change the zoning, heights or floorspace ratios for land within the West Ryde Town Centre. A Planning Proposal (i.e. an application to change the planning controls in the RLEP 2014) is needed to update the zoning, height, or floorspace ratio controls. Any Planning Proposals will need to be consistent with the vision of the masterplan and this will form part of its assessment. The community will have the opportunity to comment on any future Planning Proposals in West Ryde before any changes to the planning controls are made. 

Whilst a Planning Proposal process is needed to implement changes to zoning, height and floorspace ratio controls in the RLEP 2014, the more detailed urban design and built form controls required to implement the vision of the masterplan will inform an update to the Ryde Development Control Plan 2014 (RDCP 2014) for West Ryde Town Centre. This will likely include design considerations such as building setbacks, public domain treatment, public art, landscaping, environmental sensitive design, and outdoor dining.  

What is a Planning Proposal?

A Planning Proposal is an application to change the land use planning controls that are found in a Local Environmental Plan (LEP). Controls in an LEP include such things as land use zones, building heights, floor space ratios, parking rates, flood risk management controls and also heritage protections. A Planning Proposal outlines how the controls are proposed to change and the justification for those changes. For example, changing the zoning of land to allow for additional uses to be allowed in a particular area.

More information on Planning Proposals can be found here on the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s website. 

Does the masterplan rezone land?

No. A masterplan is a high-level, non-statutory planning document that sets out objectives and principles to guide future growth and development. A Planning Proposal is needed to change the planning controls in the Ryde Local Environmental Plan 2014 (see A masterplan is not…)

What is a 'catalyst' or 'key' site?

A ‘catalyst' or 'key' site is a development site that is likely to be redeveloped (or ‘turn over’) in the short term as the site conditions (i.e. size, location, street frontage, and dimensions), ownership, and costs make it more viable for development. For example, a large corner site with two street frontages and single ownership may be considered a ‘catalyst' or 'key' site as the conditions make the site more viable for redevelopment compared to an area that has small, narrow lots with multiple landowners that would require significant consolidation to produce a development site that is big enough to make redevelopment worth the investment.

‘Catalyst' or 'key' sites often trigger or stimulate renewal across an area and improve the critical mass of people and jobs, which are required to encourage or incentivise the redevelopment of smaller, more constrained sites.  

How is traffic being managed?

A traffic and parking study is concurrently being prepared to inform the final preferred masterplan. The two draft options are being tested to understand the traffic implications and any mitigation measures required to support the network. This will feed into the final preferred masterplan. 


How can I have my say?

Have Your Say

You can Have Your Say on the West Ryde Town Centre draft Masterplan options in a number of ways including online, email, post or at one of our community workshops.

Community Workshops

You are invited to attend a workshop where you can hear about the draft Masterplan options and ask any questions you may have for the project team. 

The workshop will be held at the West Ryde Community Hall at 3-5 Anthony Road, West Ryde as per the schedule below: 

  • Thursday 29 April 2021 | 5.30 to 7.00 pm (English only)
  • Tuesday 4 May 2021 | 6.00 to 7.30 pm (Korean translation available)
  • Thursday 6 May 2021 | 6.00 to 7.30 pm (Mandarin and Cantonese translation available) 

The workshops will be run by Cred Consulting. In response to COVID-19 social distancing requirements, we require you to register for a workshop. To secure your attendance, please click here to register for your preferred workshop.


Submissions can be sent:

Written submissions must be clearly marked as ‘West Ryde Town Centre Masterplan’ and must be received by Friday 14 May 2021.

Personal information collected from you is held and used by Council under the provisions of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998. The supply of information is voluntary, however if you cannot provide, or do not wish to provide the information sought, Council may be unable to consider your submission.
Please note that the exchange of information between the public and Council may be accessed by others and could be made publicly available under the Government Information Public Access Act 2009 (GIPA Act). Any person making a submission, or any associate of that person, under the provisions of s10.4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, must disclose any political donations and gifts made within the previous two years made to any Councillor or employee of City of Ryde Council via the Disclosure Statement. 

Last updated on 1 December 2021