New Low-rise medium density housing code comes into effect in NSW

New Low-rise medium density housing code comes into effect in NSW
New Low-rise medium density housing code comes into effect in NSW

New housing codes for greenfield and low-rise medium-density homes came into effect on July 6th and the NSW Department of Planning and Environment says delivery of new homes in greenfields and in-fill scenarios will be sped up, saving buyers money in the process.

The low-rise medium-density housing code 'seeks to encourage well-designed, dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces to be built under a fast track complying development approval' according to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.

The code only applies in areas where councils have permitted medium density housing to be built under the local environment plans.

Councils were eligible to apply for the low-rise medium-density housing code implementation date to be deferred to 1 July 2019 - many metropolitan councils have gone down this path - but many councils now see the new code in effect.

The City of North Sydney is one of the councils where the new housing code is now in effect.  See below for a zone map from the council's 2013 LEP, the low-rise medium-density housing code will apply to land zoned with medium density residential (R3).

New Low-rise medium density housing code comes into effect in NSW
City of North Sydney zoning map. North Sydney LEP 2013

A spokesperson from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment said the new code will facilitate faster housing supply.

Low-rise medium density housing is the missing part of the NSW housing stock between traditional free-standing homes and strata-titled apartments.

Medium density housing promotes greater housing choice, diversity and affordability.

It allows for seniors to downsize as well as being a more affordable option for young people.

Alison Frame, Deputy Secretary of Policy and Strategy

Two new design guides have been released for complying development and another for development applicants that will aid in planning assessment.

Like the low-rise medium-density housing code, the greenfield housing code is set to allow complying developments which feature one and two storey homes, renovations and extensions to be carried out under a fast-track approval.  The department also says the new code will ensure new residential suburbs are leafier and more environmentally friendly.

A simplified and tailored Greenfield Housing Code will promote faster housing approvals in new release areas, saving time and money.

The complying development standards, such as building heights, setbacks and landscaping, have been tailored to ensure homes are designed to protect the privacy and amenity of neighbourhoods.

Alison Frame

The Sydney Metropolitan councils which have deferred implementation of the low-rise medium-density housing code to July 1 2019 are listed below.

  • Bayside
  • Burwood
  • Camden
  • Campbelltown
  • Canada Bay
  • Canterbury-Bankstown
  • Cumberland
  • Georges River
  • Hawkesbury
  • Hornsby
  • Hunter's Hill
  • Inner West
  • Lane Cove
  • Liverpool
  • Mosman
  • Northern Beaches
  • Parramatta
  • Penrith
  • Randwick
  • Ryde
  • Strathfield
  • Sutherland Shire
  • Sydney
  • The Hills Shire
  • Willoughby
  • Woollahra

Developer lobby group Urban Taskforce Australia said its baffling that so many councils were allowed to shirk their responsibility to promote a diverse range of housing types.

This is a sad day for future generations looking to live an affordable lifestyle in a diverse range of housing types.

All the ‘Missing Middle’ Low-Rise Medium Density Housing Code did was provide a faster approval process for medium density housing types where councils already permitted this type of development in their local government area.

To see this over reaction and backlash against two storey town houses and terrace houses by councils demonstrates just how out of touch they are with young families and other demographic groups looking for somewhere to live.

Chris Johnson, CEO Urban Taskforce Australia

Community group Your Northern Beaches worries about a lack of future consultation on development applications.

If you thought our area had problems with boarding houses popping up in inappropriate areas, wait until you see the State Govt's new "low rise medium density housing code" which will come into effect 6 July, 2018!

The new Low Rise Medium Density Housing code will apply where Councils already allow this type of development under the local LEP. Everywhere that currently permits dual occupancy will have this new law apply.

So whats the catch then? Well, even though this has a great opportunity to create a more diverse housing stock for our area, this will remove protections that a Council DA process currently supplies and hand straight to a Private Certifier.

You will not be consulted. 

Your Northern Beaches

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.

Sydney Planning Reform


Be the first one to comment on this article
What would you like to say about this project?