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Small scale developments to become easier

By Staff Reporter
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Investors looking to branch into small-scale developing may soon find it far easier under proposed changes to planning regulations, according to a potential government alteration.

New planning regulations may be put into place that will assist investors in altering, extending and building homes, a Green Paper for New South Wales from the state government’s Department of Planning and Infrastructure has outlined.

An extension of the ‘10-day code approval’ recommended in A New Planning System for NSW points to allowing a significantly reduced period of approval for townhouses, terrace housing, villas and housing on smaller lots.

The outline promises to push Development Applications through local councils quicker, and make the process simpler, along with several other recommendations.

One suggestion of the report is also a ‘Google-style’ viewer allowing investors to look over a suburb through an online government portal, and will then be given access to planning datasets relating to zoning, building codes and rules, heritage conservation areas, minimum lot sizes and similar.

“Housing completions in New South Wales have fallen to record lows, with impacts on house prices, population and economic growth,” the report states as one of the reasons current planning regulations need to be addressed.

It also slams the complexities of the current Act, which “requires an expert to navigate the relevant parts” for “something as basic as the construction of a new house.”

Part of the push is to increase the range of developments that can be exempt from approvals, with garages and swimming pools indicated as some parts of a property that will potentially be considered for the change.

This has the potential to streamline the way investors currently search for blocks available for subdivision, and small development sites.

The report also aims to overhaul the current 30-year-old Environmental Planning and Assessment act in order to not only increase the amount of affordable housing supply, but also to deliver infrastructure.

This may see an increase in supply as land capable of accommodating housing is rezoned in a ‘priority’ release.

The outline is currently on display for comment until 14 September 2012. 

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