On first glance, Brookvale appears to be the industrial and commercial mecca of the Northern Beaches. And whilst this is undoubtedly a prominent feature of the suburb, diving a little deeper exposes a rich and thriving arts and entertainment community with a growing cluster of micro-breweries, artisans, coffee producers and more. But 'Brookie' (as it's known to the locals) is looking a little tired and in need of some love, which is why Northern Beaches Council has released a new development proposal for the area. In this article, we dive into the 'new Brookie' with Andrew Pigott, Northern Beaches Council’s Executive Manager of the Strategic & Place Planning Team. We take a look at the vision for the area and what it will mean in terms of jobs, homes, industry and open spaces for people on the Peninsular.
Andrew, can you start by giving us an overview of Brookvale?
Sure. Back in the1960s, Brookvale was a market garden suburb but more recently it transitioned to a light industrial area. Today, it is the largest area of industrial floorspace in Northern Sydney. It’s fair to say that Brookvale is the growth engine of this area, particularly in terms of employment.
On the Eastern side of the suburb, there is light industrial properties whilst there are bigger floor-plates to the West. Along Pittwater Road, we have a mixture of small retail, offices, car showrooms and restaurants along. Of course at the centre of the suburb is Warringah Mall – the home of retail on the Beaches.
What are some of the newer industries to open up in Brookvale?
Over the last five to ten years, we’ve seen a lot of micro breweries and artisan food providers set up in the area and they’ve been amazingly successful. They’ve given the local community an alternative place to go.
There has also been an increase in recreation businesses such as gyms, climbing centres, skating and biking facilities, which are proving very popular with locals.
Council has big plans for the area – what is the vision for the next 10 to 15 years?
Right now, we’re working on a draft structure plan that sets out the 15-year vision for Brookvale. The goal is to retain the uniqueness of the area whilst improving its look and feel, supporting businesses to grow and developing and creating more housing.
The footprint is limited, so we need to look at opportunities to increase building heights in the area and incentivise landowners to develop in that way.
What about green space?
Green space is very important to the plan. We are focused on delivering up to 5000 square meters of open space in the core area, adjacent to the B-Line bus stop. This will form part of the focal point for the new suburb centre and add outdoor space to an area that is quite built up.
How many jobs and houses do you think the development will create?
We’re anticipating 975 new jobs across a range of industries, including in the industrial area and commercial office spaces.
In particular, we envisage the commercial space supporting the large number of self employed people on the Northern Beaches who work from home. Providing more commercial space enables them to move out of the home office and potentially employ more people.
In terms of housing, we anticipate between 1200 and 1300 new dwellings in and around the Pittwater Road corridor. This will include up to 5% of affordable housing for our teachers, nurses, police officers and other essential workers.
Who do you see as the core target market for the new dwellings?
The new housing stock will be apartments so we’re expecting it will appeal to younger couples and also to down-sizers who will be attracted to the facilities, services, retail and transport links that Brookvale offers. There are plans to put in new pedestrian and bike pathways in the area which will make places like Curl Curl Beach more easily accessible.
Can you take us through the five sub-precincts proposed for the area?
The core precinct is near the B-Line bus stop and Warringah Mall. This will become the focal point for the suburb and will include large open space, retail on the ground floor and office space above for people to grow their businesses. We also want to include community floorspace such as community meeting rooms and a library.
Precinct 2 is either side of Roger Street, which currently has a light industrial feel. The focus here will be providing space for these businesses to grow but also with some residential spaces throughout the area.
The third precinct is the Pittwater Road corridor. Here we are wanting to introduce some landscaping and bigger setbacks in order to create better pedestrian areas either side of the busy road. Building heights will also be increased to incentivise redevelopment with retail at the street level and residential up above.
Finally, precincts 4 and 5, are allowing for higher buildings so that businesses can expand and stay in the area rather than moving to places like Macquarie Park.
How can people have their say about the development?
The proposed redevelopment is on exhibition right now. People can head to https://yoursay.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/brookvale-structure-plan to provide their feedback.
After the exhibition period, we review all the feedback and make changes to the plan as needed. There are various stages that follow and then landowners can apply to redevelop their land in accordance with the new parameters.
The exhibition period closes 28 February 2023.