The New South Wales (NSW) government postponed the implementation of two planning policies, signalling a decline in planning.

The NSW government delayed implementing the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code and producing a Draft Local Strategic Planning Statement; both were due 1 July.

The planning regulations changed to give 46 councils another four months to implement the code in their planning documents, according to the Urban Taskforce.

Once implemented, the code would allow well designed dual occupancies, manor houses, and terraces, up-to two storeys, to be carried out under a fast track complying development approval.

“It is likely that the 46 councils given another four months to implement the code will restrict areas (where) it can be applied. (We) believe the ‘Missing Middle’ code has generated a perception across Sydney’s councils that it could change the character of the suburbs, and we recommend that councils define significant, appropriate areas where a town house typology would be appropriate,” said Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson.

The NSW government also moved the deadline for councils to make a Draft Local Strategic Planning Statement by four months. The statement would be required by 1 October. The statements were originally due on 1 December, but these had been extended by four months to 31 March 2020.  

“The Urban Taskforce is concerned at the slowness of the implementation of these planning policies, as Planning Minister Rob Stokes has stated that his preference is to bed down the planning system so all parties have clear, fixed rules, but it seems the time span to do this is stretching out as the state government and councils try to drive outcomes,” said Johnson.