The New South Wales Government has finalised the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP), marking the completion of the first stage of the Transport Oriented Development (TOD) planning reforms. 

The new SEPP will amend planning controls around 37 well-located metro and rail stations, with 18 commencing immediately, helping to deliver more homes that are well designed and in well-located areas.

Over the next 15 years, this part of the TOD policy is estimated to deliver more than 170,000 new homes in mid-rise dwellings with new affordable homes, and apartment buildings that contain commercial space to create vibrant communities close to transport, services and jobs.

The SEPP is informed by consultation and feedback from councils and peak industry bodies on the proposed development standards contained in the SEPP.

The consultation resulted in the following planning controls:

  • Permissibility – Allowing residential flat buildings in residential zones and local centre zones, along with shop top housing in local and commercial zones
  • Floor space ratio (FSR) – A maximum FSR of 2.5:1 has been set. This allows for buildings of up to 6 storeys while providing for landscaping, setback, privacy and open space standards to be met
  • Building Height – A 22m height for residential flat buildings to maintain design standards and a maximum height of 24m for buildings containing shop top housing, to accommodate commercial ceiling height
  • Lot size and width – Introduction of a minimum lot width of 21m and no minimum lot size
  • Street frontages – The inclusion of a clause which applies to local and commercial centres to consider active street frontages of buildings at the ground floor 
  • Heritage – Applications involving heritage considerations will continue to be lodged with and assessed by councils. Councils are well placed to assess applications that might involve the removal of a non-contributory building to the heritage value of that area. Any new development needs to improve and enhance the heritage values of those locations
  • Affordable Housing – At least two per cent mandatory affordable housing contribution, delivered onsite and in perpetuity for developments with a minimum Gross Floor Area of 2,000m², managed by a Community Housing Provider. The rate will increase over time and will reflect market conditions
  • Apartment Design Guide (ADG) – The ADG will continue to be the principal guiding document for apartment development, including TOD developments.
    As part of this consultation, 27 briefings were conducted with all councils proposed to be included in the amending SEPP areas

Additionally, 14 industry peak bodies and advocacy groups were consulted in January and February 2024 and 13 provided a submission.

The SEPP was published on 29 April and included maps for the first 18 TOD locations.

For the remaining locations where time for additional local planning has been provided, should councils fail to undertake local planning, nor provide equal or greater housing than proposed, the TOD SEPP will come into effect.

The majority of the sites will be in effect by December 2024.

From 13 May 2024, development applications (DAs) can be lodged on the New South Wales Planning Portal for sites around the first 18 metro and rail stations.

Councils will retain their existing assessment powers for development applications, allowing them to apply a merit-based assessment. Guidance and support is being provided to assist councils with their assessment of TOD development.

New South Wales Minister for Planning and Public Space, Paul Scully, said that housing is the largest single cost of living issue facing the people of New South Wales.

“These reforms are a critical part of our plan to deliver more homes as we confront the housing crisis,” Mr Scully said. 

“Through this SEPP, there is the capacity to deliver an estimated 170,000 more well-located, well-designed and well-built homes throughout Sydney, the Illawarra, the Hunter and Central Coast.

“The extensive consultation has been an important part of developing the settings to help deliver more housing in well located areas, around transport hubs, close to services, jobs and amenities.

“I want to thank those councils who came to us with a plan to deliver more homes and look forward to seeing the plans as they evolve.”

Image credit: GrandWarszawski/

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