The commencement of Blacktown Local Environmental Plan 2015 (Amendment 26) marks the start of a new future for the Blacktown City Centre.  The Plan creates a framework to grow a mixed-use centre which is a significant change from the past plan which aimed to create a largely commercial centre.

What are the changes and what do they mean for you?

Increase in building heights

Building heights have generally been increased across the City Centre in a positive move by Council to improve feasibility and incentivise development.  The largest increases have occurred in the middle of the northern precinct (from 64m to 80m), along Kildare Rd (from 44m to 80m) and along the eastern section of Newtown Rd (from 64m to 80m).

Development on nominated key and gateway sites may be eligible to increase their heights up to 100m if design excellence is achieved, as determined by a design competition. Design competitions are a new requirement for developments in the City Centre.

Potential increases in building height may be limited by new solar access controls which are discussed below.

Remove floor space controls

In another positive change, Floor Space Ratio Controls have removed from the City Centre.  The change enables a design led approach in which developers can innovate and produce buildings that better respond to the characteristics of their sites.

Increase in B4 mixed use zoned land

Large areas on Flushcombe Rd, Campbell and Alpha Street have been re-zoned from Commercial Core (Zone B3) to Mixed Use (Zone B4).  The change will allow greater numbers of dwellings, creating a new community and supporting business activity in the City Centre.

Solar access protection to key public spaces

Council has introduced a new control (clause 7.14) to protect solar access to Alpha Park, Civic Plaza, and the Balmoral, Main Street and Northern Landing reserves.  The control prevents Council from granting development consent where a development results in greater than 50% or 65% (location dependent) of the open space not receiving direct sunlight between 12pm – 2pm in mid-winter.

We make the following comments on the control:

  • Developers will need to carefully consider the impact of this control in any process, with the protected spaces spread throughout the City Centre. Maximum building heights may not always be achievable
  • The control has the characteristics of a development standard and is not excluded from the operation of cl.4.6, and as such variations can be sought
  • The amenity of public spaces is greatly improved when they have access to sunlight.

What’s next?

We anticipate that Council will now update its City Centre Development Control Plan.

How can we help?

City Plan is able to provide advice on the new Blacktown LEP to assist you in understanding the opportunities and challenges it presents. We have substantial expertise in preparing development applications for mixed use and town centre developments.

City Plan has extensive experience in the management of design excellence competitions across the Sydney metropolitan area. We assist Proponents to navigate competitions in a timely manner with effective collaboration to ensure the best possible outcome.