Are Unley Council and their residents working together to design the future?

Are Unley Council and their residents working together to design the future or not? I trust and hope that they still are. We will find out during the next month or so.

Council has been working on a series of Development Plan Amendments (DPAs) over the last 10 years or so. These DPAs have systematically been working through changes to our development plan to accommodate the State Governments 30-year plan.

Legislation requires us to develop and adopt development plans that are in accord with the State’s overarching development plan. If we fail to do this the Government, through the Planning Minister, can do it for us.

Throughout the 10 years we have consulted widely with our ratepayers. When the process began we and our community where clearly of one mind. That was to prevent our heritage conservation zones and our streetscape zones from being highjacked in the name of development by the Government. We were also of the same mind in avoiding wholesale 2 for 1 development throughout our suburbs.

My understanding is that our community understood that there was a price to pay for these protections. I was not on Coucnil back then. The price was that there would be high rise development potential made possible in the major corridors and in what we call Unley Central.

We won those protections. The State Government is therefore placing their trust in us to deliver as promised. To date our commitment has been partly met. The development plan now caters for higher development in the two main corridors. That is namely Unley Road and Greenhill Road.

Unley Central

The next step is to deliver on Unley Central. Are Unley Council and their residents working together on Unley Central?

I implore our community to remember if the Government is not satisfied with our recommendation they can amend the plan. They will do that in a manner of their choosing. We won’t get a say in it.

That could be to not change the unlimited heights possible now and simply facilitate development by allowing mixed use. Mixed use I suggest is the element that has probably prevented any redevelopment in this area to date.

No-one other than the Government (oh and developers) would want this option to win the day.

During March, Council will have three meetings at which the Unley Central DPA will be discussed. All three will be open to the public to attend and watch us go through our deliberations. Watch as we power our way through the results of a recent public consultation to determine what recommendations we put to the minister and his government.

Without pre-empting the result, I am sure that Council have listened. Adjustments are bound to be made to the draft plan. Heights will surely be reduced in some areas.

Whatever changes are or are not made I trust our community will respect what we do.


  1. Cathy Chua   •  

    May I ask what is happening to the Le Cornu site on Leader St, an obvious target for medium density development of the type which has, I gather been insisted upon.

    I was also curious to know why Unley Rd rather than Goodwood Rd is the ‘main corridor’. There is at least one large empty eyesore opposite the Showgrounds that looks like an obvious target of medium density development too.

    • Don Palmer   •     Author

      The LeCornu site and Goodwood Road are both the subject of a DPA Cathy. Both will be managed by the State Government as will be southern end of Unley Road. We have respectfully requested the Government to allow us to conduct the Goodwood Central area to ensure our empathy with the area is utilized.

      For those who have concerns about the various DPAs we have conducted will be thankful we ran them because in my opinion those most affected will NOT get a say if what I believe is the Government’s approach prevails.

      The site opposite the showgrounds has a development approval under the current development plan but work has ceased as they try to get a more significant development. It is therefore a commercial development and not mixed use. I presume the upgrade they seek is still only a commercial development.

      Dont’ know where this is going but I would expect, if they are alert to the DPA processes that they might hold off until they can increase the density of their development with upper level residential.

      • Cathy Chua   •  

        Do you necessarily think that the State Govt will do a bad and unsympathetic job? In principle I expect local council to do better, but that’s only intuitive, not based on any knowledge.

        • Don Palmer   •     Author

          They dont have the empathy that a Council has for its local area. Governments can tend to, and I see it with the current government, a one size fits all approach.

  2. Rob   •  


    Hardly anyone wants 120 apartment development on the Unley Green …why would we even contemplate ruining essentially the heart of Unley by pursing this poorly conceived concept …

    Anyway, if anyone did the maths there simply isn’t enough margin in 120 apartments to pay for a $15-20 million dollar new council chamber + make a builder a decent return, it will never get off the ground .

    Lets keep the area for future generations, least we can do ..


    • Don Palmer   •     Author

      I respect your opinion and right to put it forward Rob.

      I can’t agree that we know the result before we explore it. Sorry but where I come from you don’t dismiss anything outright before examining it properly. At the end of the day you may well be right. I repeat what I have said to many. It would be irresponsible for us to not examine it.

      It is curious too to say this is ill conceived. Many who agree with you believe the Le Cornu site to be a better development site. Outside of the fact that it too is the subject of a DPA and will likely attract developer interest those who suggest it to be a better site than Unley Central do not appreciate what ingredients are needed for such a development.

      • Cathy Chua   •  

        “Many who agree with you believe the Le Cornu site to be a better development site. Outside of the fact that it too is the subject of a DPA and will likely attract developer interest those who suggest it to be a better site than Unley Central do not appreciate what ingredients are needed for such a development.”

        Okay, I’m ignorant! Could you please explain what is needed and why Le Cornu won’t provide it?

        • Don Palmer   •     Author

          The Le Cornu site will be a site that can provide accommodation that will provide within walking distance two of the needs of a society. One is access to health facilities and to public transport.

          What it won’t provide is within walking distance to groceries and other shopping, to schools, to green open space, to community centres.

          With dense living it is crucial as I see it to have as much as possible that residents will need on a daily basis within walking distance.

          Within the City of Unley the Unley Central area provides way more of these essentials. It is an area that can improve on this too with new development.

          • Cathy Chua   •  

            Okay, it doesn’t just have ‘access to public transport’: it has fantastic access to public transport, it’s hard to imagine better in Adelaide (or maybe elsewhere), lots of good bus lines, go zone, tram and train all close to hand. Schools I can see a small amount of travel being necessary, though it is so close to the Goodwood primary school, surely most students who attend that school aren’t closer?

            But for supermarket/food shopping, surely this would be the sort of thing that would be part of a mixed residential/business development on the site. Especially since it seems obvious there are other industrial sites in the area which will go the same way. And that’s quite aside from the fact that it is a pleasant 15 minute walk to the Goodwood Rd shopping area. It is next to the Sunday Wayville Market, which would surely benefit and might be able to expand. As it is, we walk (30 minutes) or bus to that market every Sunday and although we shop at the Central Market too, we find that we get almost everything we want at Wayville. It’s a huge asset for the area. Let’s hope that the management of the Showgrounds don’t mess it up as they have the idea of the secondhand market there.

            It seems like a nobrainer to me. But I must have a different definition of what ‘walkable’ is 🙂

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