The NSW Government has extended the window for planning new medium density housing.

The NSW Government has allowed three more months for councils to finalise their local planning rules, helping to prevent shoddy design and builds of low rise apartment buildings and terrace-style homes.

The extension came after intense lobbying by Local Government NSW (LGNSW).

“On behalf of NSW councils, I’d like to thank Housing Minister Rob Stokes for recognising a range of concerns and acting to help prevent any unintended consequences of this code,” LGNSW President Linda Scott said.

“Councils strongly support the need for sufficient housing stock to accommodate our growing population.

“We must ensure NSW Planning system is delivering quality housing, and that’s just as important for low-rise buildings as it is for high rise.

“Our core concern is that the Code removes planning powers from Councils, which risks poor quality dwellings to be built and alienates communities from the development process.”

Cr Scott said local council planning instruments help ensure neighbours have input into the process, and that issues such as privacy and access to natural light for adjoining homes are properly taken into account.

“Councils want to ensure medium density housing is done well,” she said.

“That means sufficient time to get the right local planning instruments in place – a critical planning base to which councils need more involvement.”

The process is more complex for some councils, particularly those that already face challenges in providing sufficient local infrastructure to support high housing density.

“So far 78 NSW councils have been able to introduce the Code, while Armidale Regional, Ballina Shire, Lane Cove and Narromine Shire councils have told us they are planning to introduce the Code from July 1,” Cr Scott said.

“That leaves 45 councils who will benefit from the three-month extension, and unsurprisingly the vast majority of these are in areas experiencing rapid development.”

The Government has announced a review of the Code by UTS academic Roberta Ryan, and there will be further consultation with councils and other stakeholders.