21 Feb 2024

Changes to planning development


The NSW Government is proposing radical changes to the current planning system. These changes are in response to issues in the supply of housing and are intended to create a better planning system for the future. The proposed reforms are radical because they will transform the landscape by increasing the density of housing in well-located areas, across six regions in NSW. There will be provisions in the reform legislation that will in effect by-pass the authority of local councils who have played a role in policing developments on zoning or environmental grounds.

In this blog post, we outline the key facts relating to these proposed reforms.

What are the proposed reforms?

The proposed reforms will make amendments to State Environmental Planning Policy to apply “non-refusal standards” to these zones:

  • Allow terraces, townhouses and 2 storey apartment blocks in R2 Low Density Residential zones within station and town centre precincts.
  • Allow residential flat buildings up to 21 metres in height on land within the inner part (0-400m) of the station and town centre precinct including land that is zoned R3 Medium Density Residential
  • Allow residential flat buildings up to 16 metres in height on land zoned R3 Medium Density Residential within the outer part (400-800m) of the station and town centre precinct.

Where are the ‘station and town centre precincts’?

The station and town centre precints are proposed to be:

  • Within the Six Cities Region (made up of Lower Hunter and Greater Newcastle City, Central Coast City, Illawarra-Shoalhaven City, Western Parkland City, Central River City, Eastern Harbour City)
  • 800m walking distance of a heavy rail, metro or light rail stations; or
  • 800m walking distance of land zoned E2 Commercial Centre or SP6 Metropolitan Centre; or
  • 800m walking distance of land zoned E1 Local Centre or MU1 Mixed Use, but only if the zone contains a wide range of frequently used goods and services including full ine supermarkets, shops and restaurants.

Does the general public have any say in these reforms?

Yes. The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has released a document titled The Explanation of Intended Effect: Changes to create low- and mid-rise housing. This document was on public exhibition for feedback submissions between 15 December 2023 and 23 February 2024.

The government is now considering all feedback and approaches to ensure the reforms are applied in the right areas and support the development of more low and mid-rise housing where people want to live. It will continue work with the local councils and other stakeholders to ensure ‘[we] have the settings right before finalising the reforms’.

When will the reforms take place?

The reforms are expected to take place by mid-2024 through changes to planning legislation.

How will SF Capital respond to these reforms?

The team is working on a new piece which will address these highly contentious reforms and the potential impact on residents in certain council areas. Please stay tuned!