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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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The NSW Government has responded to community concerns about the incremental creep of seniors’ housing developments in rural and semi-rural areas, including Terrey Hills and Dural, by amending the policy governing such developments.


Minister for Planning and Housing, Anthony Roberts, said the Government had introduced changes to the Seniors Housing State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) to keep the intrusive incremental creep of seniors’ housing developments in check.


“Developers can no longer increase the size of their development simply by applying for a new Site Compatibility Certificate (SCC) to include additional land unless they meet existing and new criteria,” Mr Roberts said.


“Australians are living longer, and the number of people aged 65 and over across NSW is expected to increase by 800,000 to more than 2 million over the next 20 years.


“We need to have a system that facilitates developers building fit for purpose accommodation for seniors, but at the same time protect the local character of an area”.


Mr Roberts said developers would now need to undertake and provide a ‘cumulative impact’ assessment as part of a SCC application if their proposed site was within one kilometre of two or more other sites covered by SCC applications or issued certificates.


“A study will need to be prepared that considers the impact of any new developments on existing and future infrastructure and services, including roads, water, sewerage and public transport.


“These changes reinforce the importance of local amenities for residents of new seniors’ housing and other requirements, including safe pedestrian links, access to public transport and parking for residents and visitors.


“The amendments will also transfer decision making on SCC applications to the Sydney and Regional Planning Panels from the Department of Planning and Environment”.


The Panels are made up of experts in planning matters including architecture, heritage, the environment, urban design, economics, law, and public and government administration.


They make independent and transparent determinations on projects that are significant to local communities.


Under State legislation, seniors’ development can occur on land adjoining areas zoned urban where an SCC is issued, and development approval is granted.


While Panels will be responsible for determining SCCs, the assessment and determination of development applications for seniors housing will remain with local councils or independent planning panels.


These changes came into effect on 1 October 2018. For more information, visit

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