With the recent council amalgamations 19 new councils have been formed.  I’ve been asked what happens with planning controls for the new councils?  This is an interesting question.

Generally, there are two types of Council planning instrument that affect DAs: Local Environmental Plans (LEPs) and Development Control Plans (DCPs).  Both types of instrument are written and administered by each local Council, but LEPs require the approval of the State Minister for Planning and must follow a strict planning framework, consistent throughout NSW.  DCPs are localised and are not subject to the Minister’s scrutiny.

Generally, councils have a single LEP and at least one DCP.  Some councils have separate DCPs for residential development, heritage, parking, etc. while others have combined everything into a single cover-all DCP.

Does council mergers result in multiple instruments contradicting each other?  Can I choose which LEP to use for my development?

Key to the answer of these questions lies in the instruments themselves.  All LEPs have Clause 1.3, “Land to which this Plan applies”.  It usually references a map, which is part of the instrument.  So, when two councils amalgamate the new council inherits the LEP from each.  The LEP that applies to your development is the one that applied to the site prior to amalgamation.  DCPs also have a similar clause and are affected the same way.  So the multiple instruments don’t contradict each other because each applies to different land, and you don’t get to choose which LEP applies.  Your development must comply with the LEP that applies to your land prior to amalgamation.

If you are planning to develop your site or home you will probably need development consent.  NPAA can help.  Contact us for more information.

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