New planning rules can make a real difference in approval times

New planning rules can make a real difference in approval times
New planning rules can make a real difference in approval times


Yesterday's announcement by NSW Minister for Planning, Rob Stokes, that new planning rules to expedite the approval process for medium density housing across NSW is good news.

The release of a draft policy and Medium Density Housing Code today will encourage greater choice for home buyers looking for alternatives to freestanding homes and apartments.

Increasingly homeowners are looking towards the middle ground for their housing needs and this means townhouses, terraces and dual occupancies. 

The Medium Density Design Guide will facilitate a higher standard of housing design and ensure development is both appropriate and consistent with community expectations.

The Design Guide will provide a consistent set of rules for anyone designing these types of low rise homes, making it easier for the building designer and builders.

Most importantly enabling this form of housing to be ‘approved’ as Complying Development will open up a faster approval pathway than the development application which takes months and usually results in a design being approved by council with few, or no, changes.

The pressure on land prices and housing supply in Sydney means a new generation of homebuyers could have a much larger choice of housing types in the future, if this Code and the changes to the approval process can be supported by councils, industry and the community.

The design guide will promote better quality medium density housing to be built, in the same way that the apartment design code released many years ago now has improved the design of high rise apartments.

We hope that councils will recognise that medium density housing is a desirable form of housing in Sydney but only accounts for 10 percent of all approvals granted. For medium density houses to be approved as complying development they must meet the specific design standards set out in the design guide, which will ensure the size and scale of low rise development fits into the established streetscapes.

HIA looks forward to reviewing the full details of the new draft planning rules and working with the Department of Planning and Environment to implement these changes.

David Bare is HIA executive director, NSW, and can be contacted here.

Sydney Housing Density

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