Castlecrag Community










Property and Development

Many of Castlecrag's residents have worked very hard over the years to conserve the unique character and heritage of their suburb. Fortunately, as outlined below, the national, state and local governments, along with heritage organisations, are increasingly recognising the significance of Castlecrag and placing controls over its management and development. Property owners and potential developers should be aware that existing and proposed planning instruments mean that property development, building extensions, streetscape alterations and landscaping are frequently more stringently constrained in Castlecrag than in most other suburbs.




Grant House, 8 The Parapet, Castlecrag

The Griffin-designed Grant House at 8 The Parapet.
Walter and Marion Griffin lived in this house from 1925
until Walter's departure for India in 1935,
so it is the building most closely associated with the Griffins.




Heritage listings

Walter Burley Griffin described himself as a "landscape architect". His genius, backed by the artistic talents of his architect wife, Marion Mahony Griffin, created much of Castlecrag's heritage. In the 1920s he developed the Castlecrag Estate, on the southern side of Edinburgh Road, as a "model suburb". Buildings were to be kept subservient to the landscape and the natural bushland and topography were emphasised and preserved.

This Estate is the core of Castlecrag, but Griffin's philosophies, which protect the natural landscape character and preserve open space, the bushland and water views, are increasingly influencing the development of the built environment in the entire suburb and beyond. In 1976 the National Trust listed the Griffin Estate, accelerating recognition of the international significance Griffin's urban design at Castlecrag.

Recently there has been increased interest in the Griffins and their work by academics, architects and conservations architects, both in Australia and overseas. Consequently, the Australian Heritage Commission, the National Trust of NSW and Willoughby City Council have listed a number of buildings by Griffin and his partner Eric Nicholls. These listings can affect proposed developments nearby. Click here for a list of Heritage Listings in Castlecrag.

Legal and Planning Controls

All development applications in Castlecrag are reviewed against a variety of controls.

In 1987 Council adopted Development Control Plan No.3 - Castlecrag (DCP3) to protect the character and heritage of the entire suburb.

In 1993 Council designated the Castlecrag Conservation Area under Draft DCP No.73 Heritage and Conservation.

    Its objective, which is influential across the entire suburb was to:
  • retain the original subdivision pattern and linked system of public reserves and walkways
  • permit new development which blends in with and preserves the natural landscape, its remnant bushland and rocky terrain
  • restrict the height, scale, bulk, mass and proportion, site cover, location and visibility of new development using DCP3 controls so that it does not dominate the landscape, and ensure that garages and fences are designed and suited to retain the unique character of the roadways.

In 1995 Council adopted Willoughby Local Environment Plan (LEP95), listing the Conservation Area as having State heritage significance. Through Council's DCP19 - Heritage and Conservation, buildings in LEP95 are subject to planning controls on their scale, setting, form and materials.

In 1997 a Plan of Management was developed for the reserves, walkways and traffic islands of the Griffin Estate. This plan is now being implemented with community input. New residents and property owners intending to lodge Development Applications are encouraged to familiarise themselves not only with the detailed requirements of Council's planning instruments, but also with the spirit and intention of the community's conservation efforts. This is best done before briefing an architect or builder. Copies of the relevant documents are available from Council.



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