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Bronte RSL Redevelopment: To Farm Or Not To Farm?

By Sarah Healey on October 30, 2012 in News

They say a change is as good as a holiday, but that all depends on the nature of the change (and possibly the destination of the holiday). If you ask most Bronte locals, they’ll tell you that the proposed redevelopment of the Bronte RSL site will inevitably morph their quiet village environment into a smaller version of Bondi Junction. The proposal by developers Winston Langley includes 28 apartments, a car park, room for a new RSL and ‘retail space’, which Harris Farm Markets are apparently waiting in the wings to nab.

Some residents are justifiably concerned that having a Harris Farm move onto their turf will create a traffic congestion nightmare along Macpherson Street and down Chesterfield Lane (where deliveries are likely to take place), prove a potential hazard to children from Clovelly Public School and Bronte Childcare Centre as trucks juggernaut past, and prevent opportunities for small businesses to flourish. There’s also the argument that with an established Harris Farm up the road at Bondi Junction, a mere five minutes drive from Bronte, is there really a need for another one?

These community anxieties are being passionately posted on the Facebook page ‘NO Harris Farm in Bronte’, with its creator Keri Spooner determined to garner as much awareness about the project as possible.

“This is a matter of serious concern to local residents and to all those people who would hope to protect the character of our suburban localities. The Bronte shopping centre is quickly and sadly losing its distinctive character. It will mean the end for the small family businesses in the area,” Spooner told The Beast.

Winston Langley’s executive director David Hynes confirmed that the Harris family is very interested in opening up at the Bronte location and that he had been party to long-term discussions with them.

“In my view there are 30,000 people living in Bronte and the surrounding areas. It’s the third most densely populated part of Sydney. Every single person in that area has to leave Bronte to do their shopping,” David said.

“It’s not going to be this huge destination for everybody that lives in the Eastern Suburbs – it’s going to be for the Bronte/Clovelly community. I understand there are people that have concerns, but I have also spoken to others who think it’s a fantastic proposal. We are keen to present our proposal to the community so they can look at it objectively.”

Former president of the Bronte RSL Duncan Horscroft agrees there needs to be a thorough investigation of the proposal to answer people’s concerns, but is not entirely against the changes.

“Harris Farm Markets would be beneficial because most of the people around the Bronte area would use it. It’s not so much the issue of having the fruit market there, it’s the issue of supplying the fruit market,” Horscroft said.

According to a Waverley Council spokesperson, “A DA has not been submitted to Council for the Bronte RSL site, but the developer has advised Council of their desire to redevelop the site, and is running an information session on their proposal on Thursday, November 1 at Bronte RSL between 6:30pm and 8:30pm.”

Mayor Sally Betts urged the community to wait until Site-Specific Controls are established before making a judgement and raising their concerns.

“As soon as we start the consultation of the controls we will make sure the community is involved in the process, and that everyone has a chance to have their say. Then when a DA comes in it will be addressed against that,” she said.

Despite contacting Harris Farm numerous times, they declined to respond via their Facebook page or their media advisor. For further information on the proposal you can contact David Hynes on 9817 0244, email or visit


  1. This development is what happens when corner/local delis, bakeries, butchers, etc get replaced by cafes, cafes, and more cafes (and Botox salons)! Where else are locals supposed to shop. And, as to the hazard to children attending Bronte Childcare and Clovelly Primary – illegally parking parents doing drop off in their 4wds already present a danger. And, where’s the outcry over the parking chaos that will be cause by the opening of Zumbos in Arden St? The joys of yuppie genetrification!

    Posted by: Pearlie | October 30, 2012, 12:50 PM |

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    • Oh Pearl. Lots of us have been in the area for 20+ years and totally agree with your sentiments on the dangerous SUVs/4WDs and the crazy driving habits that go with them. This new development won’t make things better. The silver trucks will increase. And rather than jam up Bondi Junction, the Clovelly and north Bronte vehicles will head to Macpherson Street. Who goes to the supermarket on foot? You should read the developers’ traffic “study”! Never seen so much rubbish in all my life! They think an extra 40 parking spaces will relieve congestion on Macpherson Street. And that 16 delivery vehicles, plus residents for 30 apartments, will actually be less traffic on Chesterfield Parade and Lane than there is now. Talk about stretching the truth. Ah well. Let’s just turn Bronte shops into another Coogee Bay Road and then we’ll all be happy! Especially people who own run-down buildings on the strip just waiting for a rezoning so they can cash in too. And believe me, it’ll be more cafes and hairdressers. Not more corner shops!

      Posted by: JS | November 5, 2012, 10:18 PM |

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      • Yes, alas, walking to the supermarket isn’t a “must do” activity for the yummy mummy fashionista set. They might actually work up a sweat which would ruin that pristine look which must take hours to cultivate in front of the mirror. All we need is a trendy gym or yoga studio (full of The Lulemon-clad) next to a row of cafes, hair salons and Botox clinics to make Bronte a complete “village” with that gentrified feel!

        Posted by: Pearlie | November 10, 2012, 7:14 PM |

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  2. Something I just don’t get.

    Remember the old saying: “this statement is false” and other paradoxes (my fave being “what if there were no hypothetical questions?”)

    My paradox of the week is, that, there are “no stopping” zones because it is dangerous (apparently) to have a car located there. So, the police, and certainly Waverley Parking Rangers, park in no stopping zones to book people who are not legally parked. I’m very confused.

    Posted by: Gary Kurzer | November 7, 2012, 10:04 AM |

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