Low to mid rise housing changes by the NSW Government

Low to mid rise housing changes by the NSW Government
NSW Government housing plans to build more low and mid-rise housing and its impact on our City NSW Government housing plans to build more low and mid-rise housing and its impact on our City  
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​NSW Government plans to build more low and mid-rise housing and its impact on our City.

The NSW Government is proposing new housing rules which would override Council’s existing planning rules to encourage more low and mid-rise housing in our City. 
In December 2023, the NSW Government began consultation on its new planning controls, which will: 
  1. Allow low rise terraces, townhouses, manor houses (two storey apartment blocks) and 6 storey mid-rise apartments in neighbourhood areas around railway stations and possibly other shopping centres. 
  2. Allow dual occupancies (duplexes) in residential zones to have a minimum lot size of 450sqm and 12m wide frontage. The parking space requirement will be reduced for duplexes with three or more bedrooms from two spaces to one space per dwelling.


Have Your Say 

The NSW Government is seeking public feedback on its proposed plans until Friday 23 February. The changes are proposed to take effect in 2024 but no further advice has been provided.  
To make a submission on the new planning controls, you can visit the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure’s website. 

Where will the new planning controls apply? 

The planning controls will apply across a substantial portion of the City. Council has prepared an indicative map to show residents these changes.  
This map is based on an interpretation of the information provided by the NSW Government and should not be used to understand the impact on individual properties.

What rule changes are proposed for dual occupancies?

Currently, dual occupancies are permitted in suburban neighbourhoods subject to the following planning controls: 
​Controls
​Former Bankstown LGA(local government area) 
​Former Canterbury LGA(local government area) 
​Zone 
​R2 
​R2, R3, R4
​Minimum lot size 
​500sqm/15m width 
​600sqm/15m width 
​Maximum FSR 
​0.5:1
​0.5:1
​Maximum building height 
​9m 
​8.5m

The new planning controls will:
  • Reduce the minimum lot size requirement to 450sqm and 12m wide frontage
  • Increase the size of dual occupancies to a maximum 0.65:1 floor space ratio and 9.5m building height 
  • Reduce the parking requirement from 2 spaces per dwelling to 1 space per dwelling where there are three or more bedrooms

What do the changes mean for our City? 

These changes will allow dual occupancies on much smaller sites across more of the City than previously allowed. This growth is not supported by an increase in infrastructure spending like schools, parks, and healthcare facilities.  
The proposed minimum lot, frontage, floor space ratio, height and parking requirements are ‘non-refusal standards’, limiting Council’s ability to refuse development on these grounds.
There is potential for increased demand for on-street parking, with potentially less on-street parking available due to the development of narrower lots. This may reduce the capacity of our suburbs to provide landscaping, backyards, and trees. Council’s strategic planning intent has been for the protection of our suburban neighbourhoods from futher density increases.

What rule changes are proposed for low-rise townhouses, terraces and manor houses around railway stations and possibly other local centres?

Currently townhouses and terraces are not permitted in the R2 low density residential zone. 
The proposed changes below will apply within 800m walking distance of a railway station or certain local centres. A local centre may be considered suitable when it has a wide range of frequently needed goods and services such as a large supermarket, numerous shops, and/or restaurants. 
Within this 800m area the following can be built: 
  • On land in the R2 low density residential zone: terraces and townhouses up to 9.5m high at a floor space ratio of 0.7:1, plus manor houses up to 9.5m high and a floor space ratio 0.8:1.  
  • This will also apply with existing controls that allow these housing types in the R3 and R4 residential zones. 
  • Tree canopy targets of 20% of the site area. 

What do the changes mean for our City? 

These changes will allow more housing types that are currently not permitted in low density zones. This growth is not supported by an increase in infrastructure spending like schools, parks, and healthcare facilities.  
There is no clarity around what ‘centres’ will be included for growth – this may include centres with no railway access.
Two storey apartment blocks, manor homes, will be allowed in low density zones near centres.
The proposed minimum lot, frontage, floor space ratio, height and parking requirements are ‘non-refusal standards, meaning Council will not be able to refuse developments on these grounds.

What rule changes are proposed for mid-rise apartments around railway stations and possibly other local centres? 

Currently apartment buildings are not permitted in the R3 medium density residential zone. 
Like the low-rise changes, the below will apply within 800m walking distance of a railway station or certain local centres.  
Within 400m walking distance of these areas the following can be built: 
  • On land in the R3 and R4 residential zones: apartments up to 21m high at a floor space ratio of 3:1. 
  • On land in the B1 and B2 business zones: apartments with shops on the ground floor up to 21m high and at a floor space ratio of 3:1. 
Within 400-800m, the following can be built: 
  • On land in the R3 and R4 residential zones: apartments up to 16m high at a floor space ratio of 2:1. 
  • On land in the B1 and B2 business zones: apartments with shops on the ground floor up to 16m high and at a floor space ratio of 2:1. 
The following controls will apply to these developments: 
  • No minimum site area or site frontage required to develop a site. 
  • A minimum parking space requirement per apartment, but it has not yet been provided.  
  • Tree canopy targets will range from 7–50%. 


What do the changes mean for our City? 

These changes will allow apartment blocks across large parts of CBCity, particularly in areas zoned R3 Medium Density Residential – some of which are low scale, suburban neighbourhoods. Council currently mandate minimum lot size and frontage controls for these types of development to manage waste, driveways and access along streets.
This approach does not align with Council’s current strategic direction of place-based planning to accommodate diverse housing types in centres.
Like the low-rise developments, these housing types have not been linked to necessary infrastructure needs to support this increased density. 
The proposed minimum lot, frontage, floor space ratio, height, and parking requirements are ‘non-refusal standards’ meaning Council will not be able to refuse developments on these grounds.

What are the proposed new planning rules proposed for the Transport Oriented Development Program? 

The Transport Oriented Development (TOD) program, like the Low to Mid Rise Housing changes, will override Council’s local planning controls to increase housing supply.  
The TOD Program has two stages, the first stage will see Bankstown as one of eight ‘accelerated precincts’ rezoned by the NSW Government over a 1200m radius to increase housing supply. Council understands that the Government will use the Bankstown City Centre Master Plan to inform the changes, however this has not been formally confirmed. 
The second stage will see Canterbury and Wiley Park as two of 31 TOD Precincts. Within 400m of each of these stations, the following can be built: 
  • On land in R2, R3 and R4 residential zones: apartments up to 21m high at a floor space ratio of 3:1. 
  • On land in the B1 and B2 business zones: apartments with shops on the ground floor up to 21m high and at a floor space ratio of 3:1.  
There will a maximum parking rate, which has yet to be provided, and no minimum lot size or frontage requirement for these apartment blocks. 


What do the changes mean for our City? 

Council has been advised the proposed planning changes in Bankstown will be shared with the public in mid-2024 and they will then come into effect in November 2024. $540 million has been allocated for infrastructure in the eight accelerated precinct.
The TOD precincts changes to Canterbury and Wiley Park are expected to occur in April 2024. These changes cannot be removed until Council delivers a new master plan that either matches or exceeds the controls proposed.  
Like the low-rise changes, they have a series of non-refusal standards that means Council cannot refuse the development on these grounds. Council will need to consider implications on Canterbury and Wiley Park in terms of driveways, garages and garbage trucks being able to service these areas, as well as infrastructure delivery to support growth.
There will be no public consultation by the NSW Government on the TOD precinct changes, but Council will be making a formal submission following the February Council meeting. 
It is also important to note that Turrella has been identified as TOD Precinct. Whilst this centre is in the Bayside Council area – the 400-metre radius includes part of the southern parts of Earlwood, potentially allowing for development of up to 6 storeys in low density parts of the suburb adjacent to Wolli Creek.

Click here to see the Transport Oriented Development Program

What are the changes to affordable housing? 

On December 14, 2023, the NSW Government implemented an affordable housing bonus to encourage its uptake in apartment buildings, apartments with shops on the ground floor, dual occupancies, terraces, manor homes (two storey apartment blocks) and townhouses. 
These changes will apply across the whole of CBCity. 
Affordable housing is available for residents who earn between 50% to 120% of the Greater Sydney Median Household Income, which was $2077 per week as of the 2021 Census. The rent is set at no more than 30% of a household’s income. 
The change will provide a 20-30% floor space ratio and height bonus, respectively, for projects that provide 10-15% of their floor space for affordable housing. The height bonus is only available for apartments and apartments with shops on the ground floor. 

What do the changes mean for our City? 

An apartment block that receives the bonus, for example in a 400m radius of the Canterbury TOD site would be able to go from a max height of 21m to 27m. The affordable housing is required to be provided for 15 years. After that, it can be rented or sold at market price.  
These changes are already in effect. 

Click here to read about the Affordable Housing Bonus

What is Council’s view of the proposed changes? 

 Council considered a submission to TOD Program and Low to Mid Rise Housing Policy changes at its Ordinary Meeting on 27 February 2024. This submission can be viewed via the link below.

Background and discussion 

Council has been reviewing and analysing this policy to understand the implications on our City. Council has been planning for growth and change that aligns with its strategic plans and policies, and place based planning and design that focuses on the needs and aspirations of each individual place. Our programs also involve extensive community consultation and good principles of how density and growth should be delivered. The Government is proposing a ‘one-size fits all’ approach, contrary to Council’s strategic plans and the principles of good planning and design, including: 
  • Providing a mix of densities and land uses for vibrant neighbourhoods 
  • Focusing development around public transport and designing urban spaces around transit hubs 
  • Making neighbourhoods walkable and bikeable 
  • Incorporating greenspaces and public spaces into urban renewal areas to provide residents with open space, improve air quality and well being and assist in addressing urban heat effects 
  • Providing affordable housing 
  • Providing diversity in design and architecture of buildings and spaces to create character 
  • Investing in necessary infrastructure to support increased density – from transport to community and recreational infrastructure 
  • Engaging with the community to shape their centres and places 
  • Improving environmental sustainability 
  • Designing urban areas with resilience and adaptability in mind 
Council has prepared a discussion paper and initial analysis to understand the implications (including the cumulative impact) of these policy changes on our city. These documents are based on Council’s assumptions of the policy, and are indicative only. Maps below should not be used for understanding implications on individual properties. 
The documents below provide Council’s analysis to date:
The City of Canterbury Bankstown acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land, water and skies of Canterbury-Bankstown, the Darug (Darag, Dharug, Daruk, Dharuk) People. We recognise and respect Darug cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land. We acknowledge the First Peoples’ continuing importance to our CBCity community.