NSW Planning Reform: TOD SEPP

The NSW Government has been making waves with big announcements about planning reform proposals in the last few months. We at PropCode are especially interested in these announcements as they give us a chance to show the power of technology to help rapidly understand planning regulations.

(If you are interested in this type of analysis and would like to obtain some of the data or request additional analysis, please contact us.)

Reform Announcements

We have already analysed one of the announced proposals, the "Diverse and Well Located Homes" (DWLH) reform that will override local planning controls to allow medium density residential buildings near transport hubs across the Six Cities Region (Sydney - Hunter - Illawarra). Read about our analysis of the DWLH reform here.

Another reform announced recently is a proposed Transit Oriented Development (TOD) State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) that will amend current planning regulations to allow for the development of residential buildings in areas that are within 400m distance of 31 well-located metro and rail stations. The Planning Secretary has announced this SEPP will take effect beginning 1 April 2024.

TOD SEPP Proposal

The TOD SEPP will allow for the following within 400m of 31 specifically chosen train stations:

  • Residential flat buildings permitted in all residential zones (R1, R2, R3, and R4);
  • Residential flat buildings and shop-top housing permitted in local and commercial centre zones (E1 and E2);
  • Maximum FSR of 3:1 and maximum building height of 21m;
  • No minimum lot size, and specific design standards added, for apartment buildings.

For all these developments, a mandatory minimum of 2% affordable housing contribution will apply.

In addition to the 31 stations in the TOD SEPP, another 8 chosen stations will have more extensive master-planning done within 1200m of the station, resulting in rezoning later in 2024.

The map below illustrates where these TOD proposal stations are located along with the relevant catchment size:

Note: these TOD proposals are distinct from the Diverse and Well Located Homes proposals which would also affect planning controls within 400m of stations. Both proposals result in 3:1 FSR and 21m height within 400m of stations, but the DWLH proposals have a broader impact out to 800m as well. The TOD SEPP proposal includes more extensive change of permissibility of apartment buildings, while the DWLH proposals add permissibility for medium density building types.

PropCode’s Database

At PropCode, our platform excels in aiding users to comprehend significant reforms like this one. With an expansive repository of planning documents, maps, and property data, we saw this as an intriguing case study to analyse further.

How many properties will be affected by these proposed changes? To answer this question, not only does it require spatial measurements, such as proximity to train stations within a 400m radius, but it also necessitates an understanding of existing permissibility and planning controls in the relevant LEPs. This case study becomes both a spatial and text-based exercise that PropCode’s robust database effortlessly navigates through.

PropCode's Analysis

Using PropCode’s extensive database, we have conducted a preliminary analysis of how this will impact the current properties and what areas will be most impacted. We compared lot boundaries against existing planning maps for zones, FSR, height, and heritage as well as the current LEP permissibility for residential flat buildings and shop top housing.

In the analysis, we only considered lots in zones with existing or new permissibility for residential flat buildings or shop top housing. This included B1, B2, B3, B4, E1, E2, MU1, R1, R2, R3, and R4.

Lots with new capacity for development were identified as those with no heritage overlay and a current FSR of less than 3:1 or current height limit of less than 21m.

See the table below for our estimates of impacted lots and maximum new dwellings per station:

StationLots in Eligible ZoneLots with HeritageLots w/New Permiss.Lots w/New CapacityMax. New Dwellings
Central Sydney
Dulwich Hill6802083594645,095
North Strathfield45993164477,812
Turrella347 3413474,287
Wiley Park51812474868,256
Northern Sydney
Western Sydney
St Marys255 881981,115
Central Coast
Gosford26012 931,272
Morisset2393 2363,519
Kotara330 73294,854
Newcastle Interchange36615091321,123
North Wollongong2391 2385,021

Notable Impacts

PropCode estimates the new controls would allow for the addition of up to 137,072 dwellings across the 31 stations, which is a very similar estimate to the government's announcement of 138,000. 

The greatest impact would be at stations with mostly low-density controls today, such as Booragul, Corrimal, Wiley Park, and North Strathfield - each of which could possibly add up to 8,000+ new dwellings, radically transforming their urban landscapes.

Even stations with extensive heritage conservation areas nearby, such as Roseville, Killara, Croydon, or Hamilton, could still deliver thousands of new dwellings on unconstrained properties with the new planning controls.

On the other hand some targeted areas end up with minimal change, making it unclear why those stations were included. For example Tuggerah currently has very few non-industrial lots near the station. At other stations like Gosford or Newcastle Interchange, planning controls already allow for high density.

To be clear, in the real world nowhere near this many new dwellings could be built, even if the planning controls allow for it. There are many other factors and constraints that would limit the feasibility of delivering new dwellings.

Check out PropCode

Be sure to take a look at our Property and Planning Data page which contains information on how to contact us further if you are interested in this type of analysis. Check out our Library and CDC tools that help users get answers for any property project with our extensive technology for planning research.