Proposals by the NSW Minister for Planning to improve the planning system seem to be driven by getting communities involved before lodgement of plans, but clear rules are a better way to ensure housing supply, says the Urban Taskforce.
“The Minister’s objective of having incremental change to the planning system is understandable after the failure of previous reforms,” says Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson.
“We are concerned however that the Minister’s media statements seems to be telling communities that they can set the rules in discussion with an applicant. This is like encouraging drivers to decide through discussion on which side of the road to drive on.”
“Planning needs clear rules that give an investor confidence to spend considerable amounts of money on a proposal. To begin by holding discussions with affected neighbours is likely to build up resistance to new development from the beginning. Most communities don’t like change but if Sydney is going to double the number of homes over the next 40 years, change is inevitable.”
“The Minister has also suggested raising the threshold for projects that go to Planning Panels from the current $20 million so that more projects go back to councils for determination. The Urban Taskforce is most concerned that this will slow down decision making on regionally important projects.”
“Proposals to have more independent assessment for local development is supported as long as Independent Panels have suitably qualified assesses.”
“Proposals to strengthen the focus on good design are supported but this should not be through style manuals that instruct applicants.”
“It is unfortunate that extending the use of complying development is not being pursued as this is a good way to give certainty to all parties and therefore remove the element of surprise.”
“The Urban Taskforce is keen to work with the NSW Government on improvements to the planning system and we encourage the opposition to play a constructive role for the benefit of a sustainable future.”