It’s all systems go for the $649 million redevelopment of Sydney’s Cockle Bay Wharf despite critics saying another skyscraper will overshadow the proposed Town Hall Square nearby.

The NSW Independent Planning Commission on Monday announced it had approved the project – which includes shops, bars, restaurants and a commercial office tower up to 183 metres – despite objections from the City of Sydney council and members of the public.

“Giving the green light to developers to overshadow Town Hall Square is a great pity and can never be reversed,” one person told the commission in March.

The council has for many years been acquiring properties around Town Hall for a new public square.

The City of Sydney argues the project, on the southeastern side of Darling Harbour, will overshadow the square and create wind impacts while being inconsistent with the draft central Sydney planning strategy.

But the commission on Monday found any additional overshadowing of the square would be “outside of the time the space will experience peak utilisation such as lunchtime”.


The height of the commercial office tower has been reduced to a maximum 183m, the commission said, and the building envelope has been reconfigured to limit overshadowing.

“A result of these amendments has been the reduction of overshadowing days, and on days where an impact is anticipated, this would be limited to a maximum of 30 minutes on two days of the year, between 4pm and 4.30pm,” the commission said in a statement.

The revitalised wharf would also have reasonable and acceptable impacts on view loss and overshadowing for the Astoria Tower and Millennium Tower on nearby Sussex Street.

Additional open space and improved connectivity between the eastern side of Darling Harbour and the CBD are among the project’s foreseen benefits, the commission said.

The concept proposal – by DPT Operator and DPPT Operator – includes the demolition of some existing buildings and pedestrian bridges and the addition of new shops, bars, restaurants and publicly accessible open space of between 5500 and 12,000 square metres.

WSFM 101.7 Sydney