In the 1940s, the ‘Greater Sydney Scheme’ was proposed limiting the number of councils in the County of Cumberland to 16. Under this plan, it was proposed that Strathfield would be merged with Ashfield, Auburn, Burwood, Concord, Drummoyne, Enfield and Lidcombe.
Strathfield Council survived this challenge but Homebush Council opted to merge with Strathfield in May 1947 and Enfield Council ceased in December 1948 with new arrangements in place from 1 January 1949, where the west ward was transferred to Strathfield and central and east wards transferred to Burwood Council. Lidcombe Council is now part of Auburn Council, whereas Concord and Drummoyne merged in 2000.
The Local Government (Town and County Planning) Act of 1945 provided for a comprehensive town planning scheme for the County of Cumberland. At this time involved 67 councils and shires in and around the Sydney area. The Legislative Council amended the bill to include a fourth tier of government between local and state government; the Cumberland County Council, to develop the planning scheme. This was finally gazetted in 1951.
The Cumberland County Council introduced land use zoning, suburban employment zones, open space acquisitions, an early version of the ‘green belt’ for greater Sydney and a main roads network. An impetus of the scheme was to provide housing for rapid postwar growth as housing shortages and supplies were acute following World War II, as home building virtually ceased during the war years.
If any of this is sounding familiar or you can see some current parallels between council amalgamations and metropolitan planning schemes……….