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Planning for schools

 

The SEPP will streamline and simplify the planning requirements for educational facilities across the State.

 

These reforms will make it much easier for public and non-government schools to implement a wide range of improvements and expansions to schools, such as upgrading sports fields, building a new library, and offering before and after school care services.

 

High quality design will be a key focus of the proposed planning improvements to ensure that new educational infrastructure enhances communities, delivers greater energy efficiency and contributes to healthy lifestyles for children.

Having access to quality early childhood education is vital for the development of our children and for the growth of the NSW economy.

 

These reforms will make it much easier for public and non-government schools to implement a wide range of improvements and expansions to schools such as, upgrading sports fields, building a new library, and offering before and after school care services.

The exempt development provisions for schools enable minor works to be undertaken within school grounds without planning approval provided that certain development standards are met.

 

Examples of works that may be permitted as exempt development include:

  • one storey portable classrooms and amenities buildings
  • out of school hours care in existing buildings for primary school children
  • removal of trees that pose a risk
  • landscaping and routine maintenance works
  • play equipment, sporting fields and courts, walking paths, seats, shelters and shade structures
  • demolition of certain buildings that are not a heritage buildings or in a heritage conservation area.

In order to install additional classrooms and educational facilities quickly, in response to increased student numbers, straightforward developments are permitted as complying development.

 

They will have fast track assessment process by an accredited certifier to determine if they meet pre-determined development standards.

 

The types of complying development will be permitted within the boundaries of an existing school include:

  • construction of buildings for educational uses such as classrooms, a library, administration, school hall, gymnasium, canteen or a child care facility
  • a covered outdoor learning area
  • a car park
  • demolition of a buildings that have an area no greater than 250 square metres
  • minor alterations or additions to existing buildings
  • restoration, replacement or repair of damaged facilities.

 

Schedule 2 of the SEPP lists the required development standards that must be complied with, including a maximum height limit of four storeys and 22m, minimum side and rear setbacks and requirements for landscaping.

 

There are also requirements for the design of schools and assessment of traffic impacts to be done before an application for a complying development certificate is lodged.

Quality design is a key focus of the planning improvements to ensure that new educational infrastructure enhances communities, delivers greater energy efficiency and contributes to healthy lifestyles for children. The SEPP introduces guidelines and design requirements for schools to ensure that facilities are well-designed, appropriately located, and fit for purpose.

 

The design quality principles in the SEPP aim to ensure that the design of school infrastructure responds appropriately to the character of the area, landscape setting and surrounding built form to ensure that schools and school building are an integral part of the community.

 

The NSW Government Architect has developed a Design Guide for Schools that supports the Design Quality Principles in the proposed SEPP and acts as a best practice manual to support the delivery of good school design across NSW.

 

The SEPP will permit development for the purpose of a school to be carried out with consent in prescribed zones.

 

All new schools and major expansions of existing schools with a project value of $20 million or more will require a State significant development (SSD) application, which is assessed and determined by the Minister for Planning. Other school developments with a value less than $20 million and that require consent will need a development application to be lodged with the relevant council.

Page last updated: 26/10/2017