On 16 May 2017 the Department of Planning and Environment (DP&E) released the draft North West Priority Growth Area Land Use and Infrastructure Implementation Plan, which is a ten-year plan to guide development and infrastructure delivery in the North West Growth Centre.
The Implementation Plan follows the North West Growth Centre Structure Plan 2006, which set the overall Growth Centre vision. The Implementation Plan is interactive, enabling easy access to updated information on the status of land use and development and planned infrastructure delivery. The DP&E website now includes an interactive mapping tool with summary information on the status of precincts and infrastructure, as well as other strategic actions. Links from the mapping tool provide access to detailed information, including Development Control Plans, background technical studies and the status of infrastructure projects.
As demonstrated below, the Implementation Plan substantially updates the North West Growth Centre Structure Plan 2006, accounting for work undertaken since 2006, and providing additional detail on the growth opportunities for additional areas in the North West Priority Growth Area.
The Implementation Plan proposes to rationalise existing statutory planning controls and facilitate transition from the Growth Centres State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP) to local plans, prioritise the delivery of infrastructure, urban development and open space through to 2027 and beyond. The plan also reflects updated strategic thinking throughout the Sydney Basin, referencing future directions guided by the updated A Plan for Growing Sydney, the Draft District Plans (we have previously discussed this in the article: Release of Draft District Plans for the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Region) and the Western Sydney Airport City (we have previously discussed this in the article:Looking Skywards for an Aerotropolis in Greater Western Sydney).
The Implementation Plan outlines eight key actions, which aim to guide the ongoing development of the North West Priority Growth Area.
Action 1 – Provide more land supply for new homes
Action 2 – Protect and plan for major transport corridors
Action 3 – Manage residential densities to align with infrastructure
Action 4 – Protect assets and plan for evacuation
Action 5 – Transfer more planning controls back to local councils
Action 6 – Simplify planning controls within the Blacktown precincts in the North West Priority Growth Area
Action 7 – Review infrastructure requirements and accelerate funding for capital works
Action 8 – Improve pedestrian, cycle and green connectivity
The Implementation Plan is a much needed refresh of the approach to planning for the North West Priority Growth Area. The proposed package of actions addresses both the strategic vision for development and infrastructure delivery, and the statutory mechanisms that control and enable development. Fundamentally, the Implementation Plan acknowledges that the drivers for growth have change over the last decade, and that the North West Priority Growth Area is emerging as a more urban, mixed use and higher density growth area than was envisaged when the Growth Centres was established in 2006. The Plan also reflects the clear direction the NSW Government is setting in relation to the delivery of essential infrastructure and the prioritisation of essential infrastructure over a ten year program. The plan will also give substantially more clarity to both the development industry and infrastructure agencies.
The Implementation Plan will be updated annually, providing ongoing opportunities to ensure that the plan retains relevance both in terms of consistency with other plans and policies, as well as with the evolving development market.
Proposals to limit residential densities through the introduction of maximum residential densities seek to deliver greater certainty for the NSW Government. However, the detail of proposed density caps requires further consideration to ensure that the development industry can deliver densities that are appropriate to the market, and which make the most of Government investment in major infrastructure projects like the Sydney Metro Northwest.
We look forward to the Department’s planned review of the Schofields Road corridor, as this is a substantial opportunity to deliver high amenity and highly accessible transit oriented development that will fundamentally change the character of the Priority Growth Area for the better.
The foreshadowed review of the Western Sydney Growth Areas Special Infrastructure Contribution is also a great opportunity to re-cast the framework for funding state infrastructure, recognising that higher density development must be supported by transport, education, regional open space and biodiversity offsets. Prioritising infrastructure projects and establishing a ten year delivery program will significantly increase transparency in the administration of the SIC levy, and deliver real benefits for new residents that have contributed funding towards essential infrastructure.
Similar strategies are anticipated by the draft District Plans for the South West Priority Growth Area and the Western Sydney Priority Growth Area. These plans will be central to implementing actions specifically targeted at these Priority Growth Areas in the District Plans, as they facilitate delivery of homes, jobs and infrastructure.