Planner’s view on transparency

Marcus Ray, Deputy Secretary, Planning Services, Department of Planning and Environment

I would like to correct misunderstandings about Site Compatibility Certificates in your article ‘Large development secretly knocked back.’

The process is conducted openly and transparently, with full input from the local council. It is a safeguard against inappropriate developments going ahead in the wrong places.

The Department assessed the developer’s application for a Site Compatibility Certificate at Rifle Range Road in Bangalow and found the development unsuitable for the location. A certificate was not used and the proposal will not be lodged with the local council.

Site Compatibility Certificates were introduced into the Seniors Housing State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP) to act as a safeguard to ensure that these developments are built in appropriate places and are compatible with their surroundings.

In the event a Site Compatibility Certificate is issued, it only means an application for the development can be lodged for community consultation and assessment taking into consideration the community’s feedback.

It does not mean that a development can automatically go ahead. The local council or planning authority has the power to refuse or accept a proposal on its merits.

We are happy to hear the council’s suggestions about how the process can be improved.

The Department is currently reviewing the Seniors Living SEPP as part of a broader SEPP review. There will be an opportunity for the community and other stakeholders to share their views on the SEPP.


Neither the planning department, Council nor the developer advised the public of this proposal while it was being considered. That hardly constitutes open and transparent process – Ed


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