Local Strategic Planning Statements (LSPS) - Why you need to have you say now
Now is the time for Landowners to think strategically about the amendments being made to planning controls in NSW via the Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS) process to ensure they align with the future vision for their property.
Every Council in NSW is in the process of preparing a LSPS. LSPSs will set out the future 20 year vision for the local government area and will influence how Council’s amend their planning controls in respect of land use and density. They will also form the basis for the strategic merit test for any future rezonings in the LGA. On finalization of the LSPS, councils with funding for acceleration will have until mid-2020 to amend their Local Environmental Plans and non-accelerated by 2021.
It is therefore critical that landowners review LSPSs now to ensure that they align with their future development plans. If they don’t align, now is the time to be making a submission to try and influence the strategic direction of Council and then ultimately the amendments to the local planning controls. These submissions should:
- be strategically placing precincts, key sites, centres or the like as being suitable for urban renewal;
- demonstrate how they are consistent with the priorities outlined in the Regional and District Plans; and
- be made now to inform the draft plans – not respond to them. Waiting for exhibition of a LEP amendment will be too late.
LSPSs on or soon to be on exhibition:
- Campbelltown Council: 12 June – 22 July 2019
- City of Canada Bay: 25 June to 23 July 2019
- Georges River Council: 26 June – 7 August 2019
- Ryde Council: 1 July – 12 August 2019
- Liverpool Council: July – date TBC
- Ku-ring-gai Council: July – date TBC
- Cumberland Council: July – date TBC
The Councils that have funding for acceleration of their LSPS and LEP amendments are:
Bayside, Blacktown (pending), Camden, Campbelltown, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Hornsby, Inner West, Liverpool, North Sydney, Hills, Parramatta, Penrith, Ryde, Wollondilly
What is a Local Strategic Planning Statement and why do they matter?
Source: Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
In March 2018, new requirements were introduced for councils to prepare and make LSPSs through amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. LSPSs will bridge the gap between the District Plans prepared by the Greater Sydney Commission and Local Environmental Plans (LEP) prepared by each council. They will set out the finer-grained detail of planning at the local, centre and neighbourhood scales and will include:
• The 20-year Planning Vision for land use in the local area – i.e. strategic land use, transport and environmental planning
• Strategic Context e.g. significant heritage, economic, social and environmental attributes that inform and/or require a response from local planning and shared community values to be maintained and enhanced
• Planning Priorities - the planning priorities for the area that are consistent with any strategic plan applying to the area and (subject to any such strategic plan) any applicable community strategic plan under section 402 of the Local Government Act
• Actions required to achieve the planning priorities how growth and change will be managed into the future. This will likely include identifying further studies to be undertaken
• A Monitoring and Reporting Program
Once the LSPS is finalised, the next step in the strategic planning process will be for Council’s to amend their LEP and DCP such that they are consistent with LSPS. LEPs control development in respect of both land use and density and therefore have a big influence on the value and development potential of a site.
Councils will be required to review their plans every five years and LSPS every seven years. So, if your development is not consistent with the LSPS or the LEP it will be a long time between amendments. A landowner should be thinking strategically what they want to do in the next five (5) years and be making a submission to council now to position their site as being suitable for urban renewal so that the development is on Council’s radar and provided for within the LSPS and planning controls.
Consideration of Local Strategic Planning Statements in Spot Rezonings
When a landowner wishes to rezone their land for an alternative land use or increased density, the onus is on the landowner to demonstrate that the proposal has strategic merit. To establish that a proposal has strategic merit, it must be demonstrated that the proposal is consistent with not only the relevant regional and district plans, but also any local strategy (i.e. the LSPS) that has been endorsed by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE).
“The key factor in determining whether a proposal should proceed to a Gateway determination should be its strategic merit. The Department has strengthened the Strategic Merit Test and proposals will now be assessed to determine if they are:
- Consistent with the relevant district plan or corridor/precinct plans applying to the site, including any draft regional, district or corridor/precinct plans released for public comment; or
- Consistent with a relevant local strategy that has been endorsed by the Department”
Source: Department of Planning and Environment – Planning Circular PS 16-004
If an applicant is unable to demonstrate consistency with the above documents, particularly if they have been prepared within the last five (5) years, it is unlikely that the proposal to amend an LEP will be successful. If the planning proposal is unsuccessful, the proponent will need to wait until Council reviews its LSPS and LEP to try and influence the strategic vision then. This is set to occur every five (5) years which is a long time in the development industry.
Opportunities for Spot Rezonings - likely to become harder so position your site now
With the NSW DPIE moving towards a more strategic-led planning framework, and the the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces outlining his desire to reduce the number of spot rezonings, it is likely that opportunities for spot rezonings in the future will either be reduced, or the strategic merit test will become significantly harder.
Without spot rezonings, the only opportunity for review of the relevant planning controls would be the five yearly review to be undertaken by Council. Five years is a long time to wait in the development industry between reviews. This could mean missing out on the opportunity to respond to market opportunities which are on the horizon now.
In order to avoid the need for a spot rezoning in the future, and the strategic merit test, now is the time for landowners to be making submissions to Council. A submission made in respect of the LSPS at the beginning of the planning process will have the most influence in how the eventual planning controls are drafted. For further information or assistance with preparing a submission please contact Jennie Buchanan or Tom Goode from Ethos Urban on 9956 6962 or email@example.com.