Property and Infrastructure Specialists
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New approach to planning for precincts

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) have announced a new approach to strategic planning for 51 precincts across Greater Sydney.

The planning processes associated with the previous State-Government led Priority Precincts (or Planned Precincts) has been reviewed by DPIE in collaboration with the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) and Government Architect. The review has resulted in a new approach comprising four strategic pathways detailed as follows:

State-led strategic planning

These projects will involve early investigations and high-level strategic planning work led by DPIE in collaboration with Councils, State agencies and communities to inform future rezoning processes. Whilst many of these precincts or release areas already exist, there is more strategic work for government to undertake to support housing and job growth.  Some of the precincts identified include Greater Penrith to Eastern Creek, Western Sydney Employment Area, Macquarie Park, Westmead, Sydenham to Bankstown and Greater Macarthur.

Collaborative planning between the State and Councils 

In these precincts DPIE will play a coordination role to facilitate collaborative partnerships between DPIE and Councils to resolve complex issues involving other State agencies. Subsequent rezonings will generally be implemented by the relevant Council, although in certain cases they could become State-led. Some of the precincts identified include South Creek West (sub-precincts), Camellia and Seven Hills.

State-led rezoning 

State-led rezonings under the new approach will be focussed on where there is a strategic imperative for DPIE to lead, including places with current or future city-shaping infrastructure and investment and where the State has the opportunity to create great public spaces. The key difference here is that DPIE will actually lead and undertake the rezoning of lands in these precincts, as opposed to facilitating or being collaborative in higher-level precinct planning. Some of the precincts identified include Wilton Town Centre, Crows Nest, Central Station SSP, and Marsden Park North.

Council-led rezoning

Rezoning of certain existing precincts will now be solely led and undertaken by Councils instead of DPIE. These areas are those where councils are best placed to deliver the detailed planning within their communities. These precincts are at the neighbourhood or town centre scale and include the likes of Leppington Town Centre, Riverstone West, Schofields and Marsden Park Town Centres and Riverwood.

The full list of announced precincts is provided in the DPIE release Priority Growth Areas and Precincts.

New approach to planning for precincts
New approach to planning for precincts
New approach to planning for precincts
New approach to planning for precincts
New approach to planning for precincts

Key implications for the industry and 'communities'

The announcement has broad-reaching implications (both potentially positive and adverse) for the property and development industries as well as local communities within and around the identified precincts. Below is a summary of five key talking points:

Planning Powers Back to Councils

At first glance, State Government are relinquishing certain planning powers back to local Councils in smaller-scale precincts where the need still exists to properly plan for future localised growth and community infrastructure. Where Councils are proactive, this has the potential to unlock and speed-up rezoning processes to facilitate future redevelopment in strategic town centres. Examples include, Marsden Park and the Leppington Town Centre where residents and businesses have been patiently waiting for action by Government. The announcement provides some certainty around responsibilities; however, it will be interesting to see how precinct-planning work undertaken by DPIE to date is transferred to and reinterpreted by Councils in finalising rezonings, and how long these will now take.

More Collaboration between Government Agencies and Councils

Collaboration around the rezoning of precincts is not a new thing. For many of the precincts re-announced, including Macquarie Park, Westmead, Sydenham to Bankstown, Seven Hills and Camellia, DPIE, the GSC and Councils as well as the likes of Urban Growth have long been collaborating with leaders in the private sector. These precincts have been the subject of years of strategic planning work and this seems set to continue.

Involvement of the Private Sector in Rezonings

Participation by private sector planners, land owner and developer proponents in leading rezoning proposals is not mentioned. There remains a genuine uncertainty in this regard, with the Hon. Rob Stokes (Minister for Planning and Public Places) recently hinting against support for ‘spot-rezoning proposals’ and acknowledging a need for more collaborative precinct-wide approaches to rezoning; which we see reflected in this announcement.

Controversial Precincts back on the Agenda

On a positive note, many of the Planned Precincts and corridors previously thought to be abandoned in the face of political pressures have re-surfaced in the announcement. These include the likes of Crows Nest and St Leonards, Ingleside, Frenchs Forest and Riverwood which previously faced backlash from local communities due to proposed higher densities in established areas. The announcement is important in putting these precincts back on the government’s agenda, with many of these falling into the State-led or collaborative streams. It will be interesting to track the progress on these more controversial precincts.

Certainty of Rezoning Outcomes

Industry professionals, land owners and developers will be keen to understand how the announcement affects the progression of their projects, particularly those in the previously announced / released precincts. Some of these include the Western Sydney Employment Lands, South Creek and Lowes Creek Maryland, Greater Parramatta and Olympic Park and the North West and South West Growth Centres. Those precincts identified under the ‘strategic planning’ or ‘collaborative planning’ streams will undergo more high-level strategic planning over the next few years due to outstanding resolutions around land use and infrastructure. In contrast, those precincts identified under the State-led or Council-led streams may be closer to rezoning outcomes with many having undergone extensive precinct planning, infrastructure planning and public exhibition.

Keen to know more?

Our team are available to discuss the DPIE precincts announcement and what it means for you and your interests.

Urban Planning Team

Allison Smith - Executive Manager, Urban Development

Allison Smith - Executive Manager, Urban Development

Allison is an industry-leading provider of value-generating development services, constantly at the forefront of the rapidly evolving market. Contact Allison

Elise Crameri - Principal Planner

Elise Crameri - Principal Planner

Elise has expertise in all facets of planning, including the drafting of legislation and statutory instruments and the review and interpretation of policy and development control plans, as well as concept and master planning. Contact Elise

Josh Owen - Senior Associate Planner

Josh Owen - Senior Associate Planner

Josh provides expert advice to help landowners derive maximum value from their assets and specialises in scoping, identifying and creating new development projects. Contact Josh

Mark Raikhman - Urban Planner

Mark Raikhman - Urban Planner

Mark is an experienced urban planner. He always has the competing needs of the landowner and the community in mind as he strives for the best possible outcome on any given project. Contact Mark

Madison Winnel - Urban Planner

Madison Winnel - Urban Planner

Madison is an experienced urban planner with a range of expertise crossing all sectors of the industry. Contact Madison

Diana Khoury - Urban Planner

Diana Khoury - Urban Planner

Diana excels at strategic planning with particular strength in explaining complicated strategy and clarifying complex points for internal and external stakeholders. Contact Diana