Approval times in Western Sydney could be slashed from an average 71 days to just 20 whilst home owners would be given trees in order to make their neighbourhoods more environmentally friendly under new rules for greenfield residential development which are being proposed by the NSW government.

Released by Planning Minister Anthony Roberts, the proposed new Greenfield Housing Code contains basic standards which if met will allow assessments for new development of single or double-storey housing within greenfield areas to be carried out under the streamlined complying development assessment process.

Essentially the standards include:

  • Maximum building heights (8.5 metres), upper level site coverage (between 30 and 50 per cent depending upon lot width) and front, side, rear, garage and secondary street setbacks (variable according to lot width).
  • Landscape requirements including minimum landscaped areas (according to lot width) along with the provision of at least one tree within both the front and rear-garden.
  • Minimum amenity standards including the disallowance of openings such as windows and doors on any wall which is less than 90 centimetres from a property boundary and minimum ceiling heights in living rooms (2.7 metres) and attics (2.4 metres).

In addition, Roberts said the government will provide one tree to owners of new homes which are approved under the complying development regime.

All new greenfield developments which meet Code requirements will be eligible for assessment under the streamlined complying development process, under which average approval decision times throughout New South Wales stand at 20 days as opposed to 71 days under regular processes.

In a statement, Roberts says this will save an average of around $150,000 off the cost of new homes and help to deliver much needed housing to greenfield areas.

 “Sydney will need an extra 725,000 new homes over the next 20 years to keep pace with demand and many homes will be built in new land release areas or greenfield sites,” he said. “This helps to grow the economy by providing a boost to the housing industry and the wider NSW economy, and contributes to greater housing supply and affordability.”

Roberts also says the landscape initiatives will help to improve tree canopy cover, help minimise urban heat and improve biodiversity habitats as well as oxygen production.

This in turn, he said, would in turn lead to better amenity, landscape and sense of place for residents.