Double Bay, New South Wales, Australia: Future of Roof-Top Cinema Still Up in the Air

A ROOFTOP cinema planned for Double Bay has hit its first hurdle, meeting with a split vote at the Development Control Committee at Woollahra Council on Monday night.

The cinema, which the Fivex company wants to open on the roof of 376-382 New South Head Road, would have acoustic shielding and seat 150 people, all of whom would be provided with headphones. More than 600 people signed a petition supporting the plan; just ten wrote to council to speak against it.

However, council staff recommended it be refused, saying it exceeded floor space ratio restrictions, and the acoustic shielding, privacy screens, cinema screen and amenities would overlook residential properties next door at the Cosmopolitan Centre. The staff recommendation noted that while the cinema would have a benefit to the area, this would be overshadowed by its detrimental impacts.

At the committee meeting, Mayor Andrew Petrie, a longtime supporter of the project, voted for it to be passed, along with Crs Isabelle Schapiro, Chris Howe and Toni Zeltzer. In favour of its refusal were Crs Lucienne Edelman, Malcolm Young, Nicola Grieve and Susan Wynne.

Cr Wynne said that while she supported a cinema in Double Bay, it had been hard to ignore the staff recommendations.

I think a cinema in Double Bay would be fantastic but the imposition on neighbours, it's too great to overlook, she said.

The applicant can now make changes before the plan goes before the full council on Monday.

I'd love to come to council and see something different because I think Double Bay is desperate for something like this, she said. When I saw the staff recommendation I was disappointed, but just because its something a lot of people are saying they want, doesn't mean we should overlook our planning controls.

Jennifer Bennett


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