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4 May, 2021
Developers Fear Planning Reforms Add Complexity
Experts are questioning if proposed changes to the NSW Design and Place State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) will have the intended effect.
The new Design and Place SEPP is intended to replace State Environmental Planning Policy No 65—Design Quality of Residential Apartment Development, and the existing State Environmental Planning Policy.
It’s intention is to simplify low-impact, complying developments in business or industrial areas. Managing Director of St Trinity Property Group, Nicholas El-Khoury, is one of many who has the view that the changes will only further confuse what is already a complex labyrinth of policies and rules.
Mr El-Khoury agrees that “designers, planners and architects are already having difficulty navigating building codes to achieve both a commercial outcome, and the desired design and community impact. Adding additional subjective elements to the SEPP could cause further delays for our development applications”
“Another pressure point will be the imposition of new definitions of design skills and qualifications for consultants. Such new definitions are bound to increase costs and timelines for submitting designs.”
Mr El-Khoury said “It is a struggle to get predictable outcomes and time frames with existing instruments,” and the proposed Design and Place SEPP was lacking clarity and may be in conflict with existing planning instruments.
According to Mr El-Khoury, the Apartment Design Guide (ADG) instrument was an example. Only being six years old, it has “already added significant cost and design restrictions to the industry.”
“The ADG was intended as a guide, but councils have transformed it by stealth into a requirement of strict adherence.” What isn’t clear, is how the ADG will be replaced.
Another area of concern for Mr El-Khoury is how the proposed SEPP will interact with existing planning controls under complying development certificates. It is “unclear which instrument to follow and which one supersedes the other.”
“Many existing instruments are not up-to-date with community, design and urban requirements,” he said.
A number of builders, developers and designers are saying that any new instruments should “strike a balance between developers’ commercial realities and improving design outcomes in the built environment.”
Builders, developers and designers need consolidation and simplification of instruments, rather than additional layers of complexity. To have the confidence to manage other risks and build successful developments, we must receive certainty in the outcome from the original phase of design and planning.
Interested in partnering with St Trinity Property Group on your next development? Contact us directly on 0478 171 717 or enquire below.
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