Move 03
Transition URPP
to Construction

Urban Renewal Pilot Program

The URPP has reached the construction phase, so there is a need to transition from project development to also include project construction.

Transition to construction phases in addition to ongoing planning for the Urban Renewal Pilot Program

The objective of Big Move 3 is to have progressed the URPP to a point that its original objectives have been demonstrated and confidence is generated in the URPP approach.

Establish Urban Renewal Pilot Program of Specified Projects for priority development

Growth Corporation established the URPP in 2020, in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Group (SDG) and with the approval of Standing Committee.
The aims of the URPP are to:

  • accelerate development on existing church sites to materialise ministry/evangelism plans into built form.
  • provide high quality master planning, a feasible funding strategy and seed funding to enable parishes to complete the Development Application (DA) process.
  • arrange long-term leases for integrated social infrastructure development, when a funding partner is needed.
  • provide a parish with new ministry/evangelism infrastructure, retain ownership of land, generate an ongoing income source to finance debt and then generate income stream shared between parish and wider Diocese
  • enhance ministry/evangelism facilities and cause interfaces or “accidental collisions” with the non-church community
  • create a sustainable funding source for new churches and existing churches for utilisation by the next generation of Christians.

Growth Corporation has favoured social infrastructure over commercial and residential because of its missional value as well as its financial returns. Provision of relevant social infrastructure enables the Diocese to demonstrate care and compassion for sectors of the community who can be overlooked or marginalised.

The types of social infrastructure considered for inclusion at URPP sites include:

  • Affordable housing
  • Youth recreation facilities
  • Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)
  • Crisis accommodation
  • Student housing
  • Key worker accommodation
  • Aged care/seniors living
  • Shared office space
  • Childcare
  • Ministry housing

At the start of 2023, the URPP consisted of 10 projects at various stages of planning with a further 85 parishes interested in joining the program. 2023 represents the year where a number of projects in planning will progress to commencement of construction.

This requires Growth Corporation and SDG to transition projects to construction phase while still bringing new projects through the planning process.

Share examples of what ‘good’ Ministry Plans look like

It is important that any property development is linked to a strong and well-thought-out ministry/evangelism plan. Without this, it is irresponsible of the Growth Corporation to support the investment of limited finances.

The Growth Corporation is working with the Bishops and parishes to identify ministry and evangelism plans that have been developed and implemented and have been associated with real growth. The aim is to share these across the Diocese so that any parish considering property enhancements will know what “good” looks like in terms of ministry / evangelism planning.

Provide robust assessments of whether the level of investment in a parish matches the Ministry Plan

As a result of the above, the Growth Corporation will provide advice to Standing Committee on whether the quality and likely outcomes of the ministry/evangelism plans are commensurate with the type and scale of investment proposed for property development. The Growth Corporation will provide advice to Standing Committee on the strategic value of properties for the purposes of implementing the Diocesan Mission with a focus on the wider strategic value to the Diocese and with a preference for developing existing property to enable it to fulfil its potential for ministry, rather than selling.

Revise property development guidelines for churches and provide as an interactive project management flowchart

The Growth Corporation has received feedback that the current guidelines for property development are too cumbersome and difficult to understand for wardens and lay people. To assist with understanding, Diocesan property staff have held workshops with parishes which have been effective, but there is potential to amend the current guidelines to make them more user-friendly and interactive. This is an initiative the Growth Corporation will undertake following the development of the Greenfields and Urban Renewal Strategic Plans.

Work with State and Local Govt to develop a sustainable heritage strategy for church properties

The issue of heritage buildings is both a blessing and a curse for the Sydney Diocese.  The blessing is that we can celebrate the strong heritage and influence our ancestors have had on Sydney for over 200 years. The curse is that planning agencies list our buildings and sites as being of significant heritage value, but provide no assistance in maintaining these “assets”.

The Growth Corporation will take a strategic approach, negotiating a position with State Government and relevant Local Governments to provide greater flexibility for managing these buildings and properties.  We will also push for the provision of grants to assist in the upkeep of heritage buildings that are no longer appropriate for ministry. The Growth Corporation at first instance will negotiate a position with State Government in relation to churches listed as heritage items under the Heritage Act 1977 (State listings).  The Growth Corporation will also assist parishes with local heritage items on an item by item basis when development or change of use is proposed.