The State Environmental Planning Policy 65 – Design Quality of Residential Flat Development (SEPP 65)
was introduced in 2002. It aims to improve the design quality of residential flat buildings in NSW. It contains principles for good design and provides guidance for evaluating the merit of design solutions. It requires that residential flat buildings are designed by registered architects and enables the Minister for Planning to form SEPP 65 design review panels to give independent advice on the design quality of residential flat building proposals.
Residential Flat Design Code
The Residential Flat Design Code
provides tools for improving the design of residential flat buildings and gives guidance on how the design quality principles provided under SEPP 65 can be applied to new developments.
Review of SEPP 65 and the Residential Flat Design Code
It is widely accepted that the design quality of residential flat buildings in NSW has improved since the introduction of SEPP 65 and the Residential Flat Design Code in 2002. However - the Department has still undertaken a comprehensive review of SEPP 65 and the Residential Flat Design Code to in order to:
- provide opportunities for a wide range of stakeholders to have input into the workings of the Policy; and
- update SEPP 65 and the Residential Flat Design Code to promote best practice in the planning and design of residential flat buildings in NSW.
The importance of good apartment design
Getting changes to the SEPP 65 policy right is important because:
- The NSW population is growing, both in Sydney and in regional centres. At the same time, population changes mean that a higher proportion of people are aged over 65 and households are getting smaller.
- With these changes taking place, it is important for both people living in apartments and for whole neighbourhoods that they are well designed and affordable, and located close to transport infrastructure and services.
Proposed changes to the SEPP 65 Policy
Our review found that the SEPP 65 policy and the design code are still relevant today. However, extensive stakeholder and community consultation highlighted that with some changes the policy has the potential to improve apartment design further and importantly, to make apartments more affordable.
A number of changes to the Policy, together with the new Apartment Design Guide - which replaces the Residential Flat Design Code - went on exhibition for public comment in September and October 2014. The proposed changes were designed to increase the supply of well designed, affordable apartments, to introduce greater consistency in the adoption of basic design principles, and to encourage more innovative design. During the exhibition period, we also held targeted technical sessions with councils and industry.
Read the exhibition material outlining the proposed changes
SEPP 65 Design review panels
Design review panels can be formed by the Minister to provide independent advice to councils about the design quality of residential flat development proposals and draft planning policy with regard to SEPP 65 design quality principles.
Design review panels thoroughly examine apartment proposals. This includes visiting sites and examining how proposed developments fit into their local areas. The panels also evaluate the design content of draft planning policy documents including: draft local environmental plans, draft development control plans, draft master or similar plans.
Under the proposed changes to the SEPP 65 policy, councils would be able to appoint design review panels and decide who sits on a panel.
Stakeholder and community consultation
To inform the changes that went on public exhibition in September and October 2014, we exhibited a discussion paper from 16 November 2011 to 24 February 2012. Submissions received were subsequently published and summarised. We also undertook technical research and conducted extensive, direct consultation with stakeholders.
Read the presentation given at the SEPP 65 technical briefing sessions in October 2014
We will now consider all submissions and feedback from the 2014 public exhibition to prepare final recommendations.
A final report will then be put to the Minister for Planning for a decision.
Any final changes will then be made to the SEPP 65 and the Apartment Design Guide and adopted for use.