NSW to Adopt Planning Code for Sydney’s ‘Missing Middle’


The New South Wales government has released a new draft of a planning code for low-rise medium-density housing in an effort to curb Sydney’s crippling housing affordability problems.

The new housing code aims to increase the amount of medium-density housing in Sydney from its current 10 per cent share of new approvals.

Currently most new homes built in NSW fall into two categories – free-standing houses or apartments. Motivated by the notion that medium-density housing provides a more affordable alternative the new code encourages faster development approvals.

Set to take effect in Sydney in three months, the planning code will allow for one and two-storey dual occupancies, while also introducing manor housing and terrace dwellings as new terms meeting the definition of “medium density”.

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The planning code will be introduced alongside a design guide in partnership with the Government Architect’s Office to ensure a consistent approach to the design and delivery of quality medium-density housing across NSW.

The Medium Density Design Guide aims the plan to improve the design of middle housing in Sydney by addressing key considerations, including layout, landscaping, private open space, light, natural ventilation and privacy.

Urban Taskforce chief executive Chris Johnson said that the release of the code was a good move towards a simpler planning system.

“Complying codes that establish simple envelopes that protect neighbours for building types that have become accepted in the community are a good way to simplify planning in NSW and save costs to consumers,” Johnson said.

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“The new code for low rise medium density housing is the latest addition to the complying code approach and it is welcomed by the development industry.”

The state’s population is expected to grow by more than 100,000 people annually, and by the year 2036 an estimated 725,000 new homes will be needed for some 2.2 million new residents.

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