NSW Government seeks feedback on proposal to streamline ECEC approval processes
The NSW Government is calling for feedback on proposals to “make it easier to meet demand for childcare and education facilities” and streamline planning approval processes for those facilities.
Seeking to address concerns about cumulative amenity impacts from closely located early childhood education and care (ECEC) centres in residential areas, Felicity Greenway, Executive Director of State Policies and Strategic Advice for the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment said there was a need to ensure that “important community facilities like childcare centres are developed appropriately in local neighbourhoods”.
The proposed changes to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Educational Establishments and Child Care Facilities) 2017 would also make it easier for schools, TAFEs and universities to build new facilities and improve existing ones, Ms Greenway added.
“These proposed changes are part of a broader NSW Government’s Planning Reform Action Plan aimed at making the planning system more timely, transparent and certain,” she said.
One of the biggest changes is lifting thresholds for school and tertiary education projects to be considered as state significant, something which the Government hopes will address specific barriers for quicker delivery of low impact school and university developments.
These changes also lift limits for development without consent provisions for schools and tertiary institutions from one storey to two storeys.
Ms Greenway said the amendments also provide a clear planning pathway for student housing on university, TAFE and school campuses and support ongoing investment in innovation hubs for related commercial uses.
Student housing will be allowed to be undertaken within the boundaries of existing campuses, and these changes will align with other new policies on housing diversity.
The Department is seeking feedback on the proposed amendments from councils, government agencies, industry and the general public through the Planning Portal.