Skills You Need to Know to be a Good Expert Witness


City Plan’s Paul Mitchell joins the team presenting PIA’s Planet 2020 upcoming information session – “Skills You Need to Know to be a Good Expert Witness” to be held on Thursday 29 October.


Do you want to be a confident expert witness? This half-day workshop will examine recent case law as well as draw on real life practical experiences.

Designed For:

Town Planners, Urban Designers and Strategic Planners.

Learning Outcomes:

  • To understand the legislative requirements for an expert witness;
  • To be aware of the requirements that exist for expert witnesses in matters before the Land and Environment Court of NSW;
  • To draw on the real-life practical experiences of adjudicators and experienced practitioners in the Land and Environment Court of NSW; and
  • To be aware of recent case law relating to expert witnesses.


Graham Brown MPIA (Fellow) – Past Commissioner of Land & Environment Court

Graham has recently retired as a Commissioner and Senior Commissioner of the Land and Environment Court of NSW after 21 years.

During this time Graham heard over 2000 appeals on a wide range of planning and related issues.

Prior to that, Graham was the Director of Planning Services at Baulkham Hills Shire Council (now The Hills Shire Council) where he oversaw the urbanisation of large parts of the local government area, including the Rouse Hill Release Area as well as subdivision, development control, building, health and waste and recycling services.

Graham currently sits as Chair or Expert Member on five Local Planning Panels. He is a Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia and a Nationally Accredited Mediator.

Paul Mitchell OAM, MPIA (Fellow) – Director Major Projects (City Plan)

Paul is an Australian and international leader in planning service delivery. He has expertise in strategic planning, environmental assessment and expert testimony.

He is a state appointed member of the Sydney District Planning Panels and a former national board member of the Planning Institute of Australia.

In 2004 Paul was admitted to the Order of Australia for services to the community, environmental resources management and planning.

Event Details:

Date: Thursday 29 October 2020

Time: 9:00am – 12:30pm AEDT

Venue: Online (Zoom access details will be sent prior to the session)

Cost: $205 (PIA Member), $295 (Non-Member)

For more information or to register for this event Click here

Skills You Need to Know to be a Good Expert Witness2020-10-07T10:01:13+11:00

Preparing Statements Of Environmental Effects – Tips and Tricks


City Plan are committed to supporting and mentoring others – both within our teams and across our various industries.

Our planning directors are proud to support the Planning Institute of Australia by presenting in their upcoming educational sessions – the first one titled “Preparing Statements Of Environmental Effects – Tips and Tricks” to be held on Tuesday 27 October.


Whether your Statements of Environmental Effects (SEE) effectively delivers your message can be the difference between a smooth or frustrating development process. A good SEE provides Council and the community with enough information to understand your project and its merits, whilst addressing all the statutory requirements – no mean feat!

Writing a good SEE takes time, practice and insight. This course will provide you with knowledge to improve your SEEs.

Designed For:

New and not so new practitioners striving to write better Statements of Environmental Effects and those tasked with assessing them.

Learning Outcomes:

  • The importance of strategic context;
  • Preparing reports proportionate to the issue; and
  • The view from both sides of the fence, including the perspective of Planning Panel members.


Stephen Kerr – Executive Director (City Plan)

Stephen has almost 30 years’ experience at senior levels in private practice and local and state government, Stephen offers extensive experience in strategic and statutory planning, design control and assessment, organisational review and reform, due diligence and strategic development advice and assessment of major developments.

Stephen combines commercial acumen and advanced problem-solving skills with a solid understanding of government operations and decision-making processes to guide major planning projects through the planning process and to increase the capacity of organisations to achieve their goals.

Mark Schofield – Director , Planning (City Plan)

Mark is a qualified town planner with 20 years’ experience in State and Local Government, with expertise in strategic and statutory planning.

Mark delivered the Development Assessment Best Practice Guide for Councils and Your Guide to the Development Application process, for the Premiers’ Priority Faster Housing Approval program. He has extensive experience in the assessment of local and state significant projects and knowledge of urban and regional planning issues.

Event Details:

Date: Tuesday 27 October 2020

Time: 9:00am -12:30pm AEDT

Venue: Online (Zoom access details will be sent prior to the session)

Cost: $205 (PIA Member), $295 (Non-Member)

For more information or to register for this event Click here

Preparing Statements Of Environmental Effects – Tips and Tricks2020-10-06T17:46:13+11:00

Preparing and Reviewing Clause 4.6 Variation Requests


City Plan’s Paul Mitchell joins the team presenting PIA’s information session on “Preparing and Reviewing Clause 4.6 Variation Requests” to be held online on Thursday 01 October.

About the event:

The NSW planning system currently has two mechanisms that provide the ability to vary development standards contained within environmental planning instruments:

  • Clause 4.6 of the Standard Instrument Local Environment Plan (SILEP); and
  • State Environment Planning Policy No 1 – Development Standards (SEPP1).

Both clause 4.6 and SEPP 1 provide flexibility in the application of planning controls by allowing councils and other consent authorities to approve a development application that does not comply with a development standard when certain tests are met.

This workshop will explain how to best utilise a clause 4.6 variation request to successfully achieve a variation of the applicable development standards.

Designed For:

Town Planners, Urban Designers, Planning Lawyers, Developers and Strategic Planners.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Assist consultant planners in drafting clause 4.6 variation requests so that the consent authority can be satisfied that the contravention of the development standard is justified; and
  • Assist council planners in reviewing and assessing the adequacy of clause 4.6 variation requests.

For more information or to register visit the PIA Events page


Paul Mitchell OAM, MPIA (Fellow)

Paul is an Australian and international leader in planning service delivery. He has expertise in strategic planning, environmental assessment and expert testimony. He is a state appointed member of the Sydney District Planning Panels and a former national board member of the Planning Institute of Australia. In 2004 Paul was admitted to the Order of Australia for services to the community, environmental resources management and planning.

Penny Murray

Penny has provided planning, environment and government advice to both public and private sector clients in the property, development, infrastructure, energy, resources and manufacturing sectors since 1999. She also advises on land acquisition, compensation and valuation matters. Penny has dual qualifications in science (resource and environmental management) and law and acts for individuals, privately owned companies and ASX companies such as Mirvac, Stockland, Dexus and Lendlease. Prior to joining Addisons in 2018, Penny was a partner at Dibbs Barker and Minter Ellison lawyers. She is nominated as a recommended lawyer in Asia Pacific Legal 500 in real estate, an expert in Planning and Environmental Law in Best Lawyers and a leading Environmental Lawyer – NSW in Doyle’s Guide to the Australian Legal Profession.

The Hon Malcom Craig QC

Malcolm Craig retired as a Judge of the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales on 5 June 2016, having been a member of that Court since 2 March 2010. He has since returned to practice at the New South Wales Bar. While serving as a Judge of the Land and Environment Court, Malcolm heard and determined matters engaging all aspects of that Court’s jurisdiction, both civil and criminal. He was the Court’s Land Valuation and Compensation List Judge as well as the Court’s representative on the New South Wales Caselaw Committee. From time to time he was the nominee of the Chief Judge at meetings of the Uniform Rules Committee established under the Civil Procedure Act 2005. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in I989. From 1992 until 1995 he served as a part-time Commissioner of the New South Wales Law Reform Commission and he is a past president of the Environment and Planning Law Association of New South Wales.

Event Details:

Date: Thursday 01 October 2020

Time: 9:00am to 12:30pm

Venue: Online (via Zoom) details to be sent prior to the session

Cost: $205 PIA Member or $295 Non-Member

Preparing and Reviewing Clause 4.6 Variation Requests2020-09-29T10:43:54+10:00

Approval for Student Housing Redevelopment at UNE Armidale


City Plan, Billard Leece Partnership and Arcadia Landscape Architecture formed part of the team securing consent for a new student housing redevelopment at UNE Armidale. The New Wright Block will include 3 buildings providing accommodation for 342 students. A communal amenities building is also included, together extensive landscaping and additional parking.
City Plan prepared an EIS and the State Significant Development application was subsequently approved by DPIE under delegated authority.
We wish UNE well in delivering the project, which will no doubt make a significant contribution to the regional economy.

Approval for Student Housing Redevelopment at UNE Armidale2020-09-29T10:58:13+10:00

Development Approval for Mixed Use Medium Density Development in Norwest


City Plan recently assisted with securing development consent for a mixed use, medium density development along Windsor Rd, Norwest. This consent allows for 37 attached dwellings and 2 commercial/retail buildings. This consent will complement the Stage 1 consent received in 2018, delivering an integrated medium density, mixed use estate with 63 dwellings, communal open spaces, landscaping, civil works, as well as supporting retail and commercial facilities.
Congratulations City Projects & Developments Pty Ltd and thanks for having us on the team. For more information contact David Ryan or Carlo Di Giulio

Development Approval for Mixed Use Medium Density Development in Norwest2020-09-29T10:55:40+10:00

The New Western Parkland City Authority


The PIA Planning Hour Series continues with the next session topic being “The New Western Parkland City Authority” on Tuesday 29 September.

About the Event:

The Western Parkland City is the economic powerhouse of Greater Sydney; home to leaders in manufacturing, freight, health, tourism and agribusiness and generating more than $56 billion GDP per year. From the Blue Mountains, to Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Liverpool, Penrith and Wollondilly, it boasts incredible cultural diversity, natural assets and a thriving small business sector.

The Western Parkland City Authority  is being established to help ensure the NSW Government delivers on the promise and momentum of the future for Western Sydney. It will draw upon the collective work of all three levels of government to deliver a thriving Parkland City.

Join Dr Sarah Hill as she provides an overview of the new Western Parkland City Authority and its current focus in delivering the best possible outcomes in infrastructure, liveability, investment, job growth and sustainability for business and communities.

For more information or to register visit the PIA Events page

Presenter for the Event:

Dr Sarah Hill 

Dr Sarah Hill is CEO of the Western Parkland City Authority and Deputy Secretary of the NSW Treasury.

Facilitator for the event:

Mark Schofield   

Mark is a Director of Planning for City Plan.

Event Details:

Date: Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm AEST

Venue: Online (via Zoom) details to be sent prior to the session

Cost: Complimentary for PIA Members or $20 for Non-Members



The New Western Parkland City Authority2020-09-24T17:28:03+10:00

Development Approval for 44 Unit Affordable and Social Housing Development in St Marys


City Plan is delighted to have been a part of the team which secured development approval for Land and Housing Corporation and Growthbuilt for a new 44 unit affordable and social housing development in St Marys. Aware of the precedent the proposal would create in the recently zoned R4 high density residential locality, City Plan worked closely with Council and stakeholders to deliver an appropriate built form outcome which met the requirements of a Land and Housing Corporation development. The Sydney Western City Planning Panel approved the development in July 2020, six months after lodgement.

It is exciting to see the project reach such a pivotal milestone, with construction commencing this week.

Development Approval for 44 Unit Affordable and Social Housing Development in St Marys2020-09-29T10:49:39+10:00

Western Sydney Aerotropolis Takes Off


Congratulations to the Planning Partnership, Western Parkland City Authority and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment on the release of its Aerotropolis planning package. It is a significant achievement and the culmination of a number of years of detailed analysis, and collaboration between Government, community and industry.

What was released?

The Minister for Planning and Public Spaces released a package of planning policies for the Aerotropolis. Key elements of the package include:

The Western Sydney Aerotropolis Plan

The Aerotropolis plan is the key strategy and visioning document for the Aerotropolis.  It’s vision for the Aerotropolis is that it will:

  • Drive transformational change in Western Sydney, delivering development that respects and connects with Country, and values and enhances natural assets to create a cool and green city
  • Nurture future industry, creating greater productivity and significant increases in jobs in Western Sydney
  • New housing protected from the airport’s operations, within walkable centres with access to public space and cultural infrastructure.

The Plan defines the sub-precincts with Aerotropolis and describes the desired strategic outcomes.

State Environmental Planning Policy (Western Sydney Aerotropolis) 2020

The SEPP creates the planning framework to deliver the Aerotropolis plan’s vision. The SEPP applies five land use zones; Enterprise, Agribusiness, Mixed Use, SP2 Infrastructure, Environment and Recreation.

Large scale urban renewal under the SEPP can occur after Precinct plans (detailed planning controls) have been made.  The SEPP commences operation on 1 October 2020.

Western Sydney Aerotropolis Development Control Plan 2020 – Phase 1

The DCP defines principles, objectives and performance outcomes which will apply across the Aerotropolis. It will inform Precinct planning, creating a consistent approach to land use planning and environmental protection across the Aerotropolis.

What to look out for?

Open zones

The SEPP creates open zones, meaning that the land use table prescribes prohibited development rather than permissible development.  Open zones are supported as they provide significant land use flexibility and facilitate innovation. The assessment of development applications under open zones can be challenging and guidance should be provided to define what matters should be considered in determining permissibility.

Master planning

The SEPP allows master plans to be created for areas of 100 hectares or more of contiguous land, with at least 70% of that land owned by a single party.  A master plan must be prepared in accordance with the (yet to be released) Master Plan Design Guidelines, and when approved must be considered by a consent authority before issuing development consent.  The master plan can specify particular development types that can be carried out as complying development.

The master plan provisions create a mechanism through which land owners can guide and create certainty about future development of their assets. We make the following observations:

  • the master planning guidelines are being prepared and we understand industry will be consulted on them
  • it is difficult to reconcile the interests of different land owners in a strategic planning process. It will be interesting to see how authorities protect the interests of all land owners if a master plan is being prepared by a single major land holder
  • the Minister may adopt a master plan only with the consent of the owner of the land to which the master plan applies. It is unclear if this should be taken to be the consent of all land holders or only the major land holder.
  • Applications for complying development (as defined by a master plan) will need to be accompanied by an Aerotropolis certificate. The Aerotropolis certificate is obtained from the Minister and certifies that the complying development is consistent with the master plan. The need to obtain an Aerotropolis certificate may remove the time and efficiency benefits that come from complying development.

Landscape led approach and Designing for Country

The vision for the Aerotropolis will be achieved by a landscape led approach.  In this approach landscape features are considered as green and blue infrastructure, and are given the same type of consideration as more traditional infrastructure in planning the city. An understanding of landscape starts with an understanding of Country.  This approach to design is innovative and recognises the value of knowledge held by Aboriginal people. We are optimistic this approach will create a city that better respects the land.

Design excellence

The SEPP places a strong emphasis on design excellence.  This aligns with the vision that the Western Parkland city will be an exemplar for development. The provisions require development on sites of 5,000m2 to achieve design excellence and be referred to a design review panel for comment. In a Western Sydney context this threshold is likely to capture a large number of developments.

What’s next?

Precinct Plans

The Western Parkland City Authority is preparing Precinct plans, targeting their release for consultation at the end of this year.

State Infrastructure Contributions Plan

The Greater Sydney Commission is preparing a Place Infrastructure Compact for the Aerotropolis to define infrastructure needs, costs, cost apportionment and staging.  The GSC analysis will inform the preparation of a State Infrastructure Contributions plan which will be release for consultation with the Precinct plans.

Green corridor

The Wianamatta-South Creek corridor is a key feature of the Aerotropolis and critical to the achievement of the envisioned cool and green city.  The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has been tasked with preparing a delivery strategy that will determine how the corridor will be delivered, including potential land acquisitions and access rights.

How can City Plan help?

City Plan is able to provide advice on how the new Plans will affect your land and provide strategic advice on how to prepare for the future.

For more information please contact Mark Schofield (Director) on (02) 8270 3500.


Western Sydney Aerotropolis Takes Off2020-09-22T13:01:44+10:00

Pathways Residences – A Step Closer to Bringing Aged Care to Lane Cove


City Plan is excited to be part of Pathways latest proposal for a new 143 bed Residential Aged Care Facility and Wellness Precinct in Longueville. The DA to be determined by the Sydney North Planning Panel is the next step following a Planning Proposal gazetted in NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s Tranche 1 Accelerated Project Program.

Together with Morrison Design Partnership , Katy Svalbe and McLaren Traffic Engineering we prepared the Development Application and site-specific Development Control Plan, both of which are now on public exhibition via Lane Cove Council. There is an extensive community engagement program by Urban Concepts currently underway. For more information visit the link below or contact Anthony Kazacos, Elyse Kenny, or Juliet Grant.

Pathways Residences – A Step Closer to Bringing Aged Care to Lane Cove2020-09-22T14:09:54+10:00

30 Storey Tower Approved for Burwood Town Centre


City Plan together with Urban Link Architects and Turf Design Studio recently secured Development Consent for a 30 storey mixed use tower within the Burwood Town Centre. The development includes a 3 level commercial/retail podium above which is a 27 storey tower comprising of 179 dwellings.

The proposal includes a public pedestrian link joining George Street and Victoria Street which provides improved pedestrian accessibility from Burwood Station to Westfield.
The application was recommended for approval by Burwood Council, whilst consent was issued by the Sydney Eastern City Planning Panel. We extend our thanks to the entire team and congratulate the proponent, P & N Group of Companies.

30 Storey Tower Approved for Burwood Town Centre2020-09-22T14:16:07+10:00
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