Another piece in the planning puzzle: NSW councils release draft local Strategic Planning Statements for public comment

18 Jul 2019

Twelve local councils in the Greater Sydney Region have now released their draft Local Strategic Planning Statements on public exhibition and are inviting submissions, with the period for comment closing soon for many of them – and more are to follow.

As Local Strategic Planning Statements will create a 20 year vision for development and change at a local level, and shape new planning controls, developers should get involved now and consider making a submission.

The Local Strategic Planning Statements already released for public exhibition

  • Campbelltown City Council: 22 July 2019
  • Canada Bay Council: 22 July 2019
  • Cumberland Council: 30 August 2019
  • Fairfield City Council: 23 August 2019
  • Georges River Council: 7 August 2019
  • Ku-ring-gai Council: 12 August 2019
  • Liverpool City Council: 9 August 2019
  • Mosman Council: 7 August 2019
  • North Sydney Council: 15 August 2019
  • Ryde Council: 12 August 2019
  • The Hills Shire Council: 9 August 2019
  • Waverley Council: 2 August 2019

More councils in the Greater Sydney region will release their draft Statements in the coming weeks to meet the deadline of 1 October 2019. While drafts must be exhibited by this date, Greater Sydney councils will have until 31 March 2020 to make a final Statement. Regional councils will have until 1 July 2020.

Local Strategic Planning Statements as part of a broader review of NSW planning instruments

These Statements represent a significant piece in NSW’s strategic planning framework since they were first introduced as part of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) reforms which commenced in March 2018. Their release is a key step for Councils charged with the responsibility to make and implement these Statements. However, they are but one part of a broader project currently being undertaken by councils to review their local environmental plans (LEP).

The Statements have been prepared following the earlier release of the regional strategic plan for Greater Sydney: The Greater Sydney Region Plan, A Metropolis of Three Cities and the five district strategic plans finalised by the Greater Sydney Commission in March 2018.  The Department has also prepared nine regional plans that cover regional NSW. The Statements will ultimately give effect to these broader regional and district strategic plans at the local level. Indeed they cannot be formally made by the Greater Sydney Councils unless the Greater Sydney Commission agrees that they do reflect these regional and district plans.

The Statements will:

  • Outline a 20 year vision for land use in the local area
  • Identify the special characteristics that contribute to local identity
  • Identify the shared community values to be maintained
  • Set out how growth and change will be measured and managed in the future.

In setting out the 20 year vision Councils will build on the 10 year vision outlined in their Community Strategic Plans made under the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW).

Why you need to consider a submission on Local Strategic Planning Statements

The Statement is an important document that will direct development in the near future and beyond. The planning priorities outlined in the Statement will inform Councils’ review of their LEPs and development control plans; planning proposals must indicate whether the proposed LEP will give effect to the Statement. Whether a planning proposal respects the Statement will become a relevant consideration for the Minister in determining if a planning proposal has the strategic merit to proceed past the gateway process. While the Statement does not contain detailed and technical planning controls it will clarify the future character of an area and with it, compatible and incompatible uses. 

Those invested in the development of a site, or in a local government area more generally, should consider the draft Statements and participate now by making a submission. Feedback provided may impact the final form of the Statement and potentially influence the preparation of detailed planning controls as part of Councils’ LEP review. Consistent with its focus on streamlined strategic planning, the Department has indicated that once a council has made its LEP consistent with its Statement, spot rezonings will become less frequent. This is all the more reason for developers and residents to get involved now.

If you would like to discuss a draft Statement or need assistance preparing a submission in respect of a draft Statement please get in touch.

Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.