Planning principles

What are planning principles?

Planning principles are a set of guiding considerations arising from the judgement of the Land and Environment Court. These principles promote a consistent approach to the assessment of development applications by postulating questions that may be asked by applicants writing their Statement of Environmental Effects, neighbours writing objections and the consent authority when assessing an application.

How do I use the planning principles?

The Land and Environment Court maintains a website with all current planning principles and links to the actual judgements. Find the issue relevant to you and use these as guides when submitting a development application or making an objection.

As an example, we will always assess view sharing by using the planning principle from the Tenacity Consulting v Warringah Council [2004] NSWLEC 140 case. In the Tenacity case the relevant questions we will ask in our assessment can be found in paragraphs 26 to 29 of the judgement.

Once you have accessed the relevant judgement you can use the "find" function in your browser and search for "planning principle" and it will in most cases take you to the relevant paragraphs in the judgement.

Are there other ways I can use case law to guide my application, my objection or my assessment?

Yes. Every judgement of the Land and Environment Court and the outcomes of appeals to the Court of Appeal are published by the NSW Attorney General's Department case law website. You can search these databases online. Since the cases often then quote leading cases you can then go on to research in greater depth the decisions of the Courts over a long period of time. Whilst only a handful of cases are formally reported these powerful database search tools allow you to discover specific case that may better relate or provide precedence for applicants, objectors and for us as a consent authority.

If you choose to rely on principles or precedence as an applicant or objector, please quote the full case name, year, jurisdiction, and judgement number i.e. Tenacity Consulting v Warringah Council [2004] NSWLEC 140.

Are there other guiding principles?

There is a National Resource Document for Residential Development known as AMCORD that has been published by the Commonwealth Government to advance the planning, design, assessment and implementation of residential development other than high-rise housing (ie housing requiring lifts). This document has been used widely, including by the Land and Environment Court and local government in guiding good design and good development outcomes. Many of the objectives and controls found in our Local Environmental Plan and our Development Control Plans have been sourced from this document. Irrespective of the scale of the development it is worth reviewing AMCORD as a useful guide.