Plan­ning fail gives us dud sub­urbs

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - THE BIG SQUEEZE -

SYD­NEY SYD is get­ting sub-stan­dard dar sub­urbs with homes that are more ex­pen­sive than nec­es­sary nec be­cause ju­nior coun­cil cou of­fi­cers are be­ing swamped swa with com­plex plan­ning nnin pro­pos­als.

The T city’s un­prece­dented build­ing buil boom has cre­ated such suc a short­age in town plan­ners ner — the peo­ple who strate­gise egis how our sub­urbs look — that there has even been calls call to poach ex­pe­ri­enced hands han from in­ter­state.

A NSW par­lia­men­tary in­quiry quir heard the short­age is crip­pling crip plan­ning ef­fi­ciency, with one de­vel­oper said to have hav lost $485,000 a month on de­lays. d

Prop­erty P Coun­cil of NSW ex­ec­u­tive eexe di­rec­tor Jane Fitzger­ald gera said the short­age of ex­pe­ri­enced exp plan­ners at lo­cal coun­cils cou was cre­at­ing “sub­stan­dard stan out­comes”. In apart­ments, aapa for ex­am­ple, she said ju­nior plan­ners were rigidly stick­ing to the rules on SEPP 65 — the state gov­ern­ment’s blue­print for apart­ment de­sign.

“Hav­ing a kitchen op­po­site a toi­let is not the best out­come but ac­cord­ing to SEPP 65 it is tech­ni­cally cor­rect,” Ms Fitzger­ald said. “Not ev­ery site is per­fect for devel­op­ment so plan­ners need to re­spond to in­no­va­tion from de­vel­op­ers. In­ex­pe­ri­enced plan­ners might be gun shy with some­thing that is not ex­actly com­pli­ant with SEPP 65.”

The Land Re­lease and Hous­ing Sup­ply in NSW in­quiry also heard coun­cils don’t have ex­pe­ri­enced plan­ners avail­able to up­date their lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment plans.

This de­lay means coun­cils are tempted to make de­vel­op­ers pay for in­fra­struc­ture via vol­un­tary plan­ning agree­ments (VPAs) — a process that re­mains hid­den from the pub­lic. Plan­ning Min­is­ter An­thony Roberts has asked the Depart­ment of Plan­ning to re­form VPAs be­cause of their “opaque­ness”.

Ur­ban Task­force CEO Chris John­son said the de­lays end up in­creas­ing the price of hous­ing for con­sumers.

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