A NSW Government website

Coastal design guidelines

The NSW coastline is an amazing natural resource, and we need to protect it. That’s why we are updating the NSW Coastal Design Guidelines. These will guide strategic planning decisions for coastal areas, such as determining planning proposals to rezone land.

The urban design guidance will inform more site-specific decisions such as master plans, coastal subdivisions and infrastructure development. Councils, government agencies, developers and other stakeholders should enlist urban design, architecture and landscape architecture professionals to make best use of the guidelines.

Public exhibition

We exhibited the draft guidelines for public comment from 29 July to 9 September 2022.

The feedback we received will inform the final NSW Coastal Design Guidelines.

Visit the Planning Portal to view the draft guidelines.

Frequently asked questions

Who should use the guidelines?
  • Landowners
  • Developers
  • Councils and plan making authorities
  • Designers, architects and landscape architects
Will the guidelines be mandatory?

Chapter 3 of the NSW Coastal Design Guidelines will apply to all planning proposals in the coastal zone. Chapter 4 relates to urban design and will be optional.

Why are we updating the guidelines?

Updating the guidelines is an action funded under initiative 2 of the NSW Marine Estate Management Strategy 2018-2028.

The update ensures the guidelines are consistent with the coastal management framework that commenced in 2016.

What will the updated guidelines do?
  • Reflect the coastal management framework that commenced in 2016
  • Focus planning on local needs
  • Provide clear guidance about planning proposals
  • Balance environmental, economic, social and cultural needs
  • Ensure land use and design begin with respect for Country and Aboriginal heritage
  • Guide planning for coastal hazards
Where do the guidelines apply?

The guidelines apply to the entire NSW coastal zone. The NSW coastal zone consists of the coastal wetlands and littoral rainforests area, coastal vulnerability area, coastal environment area and coastal use areas. You can view these areas on the department’s spatial viewer.

How will the guidelines support local communities?

The guidelines:

  • support a balance between environmental, economic, social and cultural needs
  • cater to growing communities and their changing needs
  • support coastal industries such as fishing, boating and tourism
  • support diverse housing supply in suitable locations.
How will the guidelines develop connections with Country?

Planners and designers must consider Country in their plans. The guidelines refer to the Connecting with Country Draft Framework, which develops connections with Country for built environment projects in NSW.

How does this relate to the urban design guidance from the NSW Government Architect?

The guidelines complement the NSW Government Architect’s Better Placed and Greener Places frameworks and provide more specific urban design guidance relevant to the coastal zone.