Media release - Medium Density Planning Pause Extended

28 June 2019

A further three-months planning pause for medium density housing is a sensible step in helping ensuring measured, future-focused planning which will determine neighbourhoods for decades to come, Local Government NSW (LGNSW) said today.

LGNSW President Linda Scott said the delay, granted by the NSW Government following extensive lobbying by the peak body, will allow councils to finalise their local planning rules in time to help prevent shoddy design and builds of low rise apartment buildings and terrace-style homes.

“On behalf of NSW councils, I’d like to thank Housing Minister Rob Stokes for recognising a range of concerns and acting to help prevent any unintended consequences of this code,” Clr Scott said.

“Councils strongly support the need for sufficient housing stock to accommodate our growing population.

“We must ensure NSW Planning system is delivering quality housing, and that’s just as important for low-rise buildings as it is for high rise.

“Our core concern is that the Code removes planning powers from Councils, which risks poor quality dwellings to be built and alienates communities from the development process.

Clr Scott said local council planning instruments helped ensure neighbours had input into the process, and that issues such as privacy and access to natural light for adjoining homes were properly taken into account.

“Councils want to ensure medium density housing is done well,” she said.

“That means sufficient time to get the right local planning instruments in place – a critical planning base to which councils need more involvement.”

Clr Scott said the process was more complex for some councils, particularly those that already faced real challenges of providing sufficient local infrastructure to support high housing density.

“So far 78 NSW councils have been able to introduce the Code, while Armidale Regional, Ballina Shire, Lane Cove and Narromine Shire councils have told us they are planning to introduce the Code from July 1.

“That leaves 45 councils who will benefit from the three-month extension, and unsurprisingly the vast majority of these are in areas experiencing rapid development.”

The Government has announced a short review of the Code by UTS academic Roberta Ryan, and there will be further consultation with councils and other stakeholders.

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to invest this time to ensure the planning process improves quality of life for everyone,” Clr Scott said.

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