Councils lose out to new guidelines on apartment sizes

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Revised development guides means councils across New South Wales will not be able to use size as a sole reason to reject proposals for apartment developments.

A review of State Environmental Planning Policy 65 Design Quality of Residential Apartment Development (SEPP65) led to the establishment of the Apartment Design Guide which will override council controls
such as Local Environment Plans and Development Control plans when it comes to allowable minimum apartment sizes.

“SEPP 65 sets a consistent policy direction for residential apartment development in NSW and provides a uniform state-wide framework for more detailed planning guidance,” the guide says.

“It has a statutory effect on development and as a consequence may modify or supplement the provisions of state environmental planning policies, local environmental plans (LEP) and development control plans (DCP).”

The guide sets down minimum apartment sizes for new apartment development at 35 square metres for studio apartments, 50 square metres for one bedroom apartments, 70 square metres for two bedroom apartments and 90 square metres for three bedroom apartments.

A fourth or any further additional bedrooms will increase the minimum allowable area by 12 square metres, while additional bathrooms will require an extra five square metres.

While councils won’t be able to use size as reason for rejection, they can still knock back or require changes to proposals due their overall design or amenity.

NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes said the aim of the Apartment Design Guide was to ensure the state can meet future demand for apartments, while providing liveable dwellings.

“The City of Sydney is expecting around 80 per cent of residents to be living in apartments by 2030,” he said.

“With this demand for apartment living growing, the design of this popular housing choice and its potential to improve liveability is more crucial than ever.”

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