Posted on May 1, 2018 by

Proposal to modernise retail premises land use definitions

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment (‘DPE‘) is calling for submissions on its proposed amendments to the Standard Instrument (Local Environmental Plans) Order 2006 (‘Standard Instrument‘).  The amendments proposed the  introduction of new definitions for retail uses of land.

NSW Retail Strategy (currently under preparation)

The amended definitions are proposed as a component of DPE’s NSW Retail Strategy (‘Strategy’) currently under preparation.

The Strategy is intended to establish a framework to guide retail planning over the medium term. To this end, the Strategy aims to:

  • ‘balance regulatory clarity and certainty with flexibility and adaptability;
  • facilitate the changing needs of retail planning, while maintaining the existing centre hierarchy; and
  • ensure the planning system can promote competition, contribute to jobs growth and meet consumer need.’

The Strategy indicates that current retail land uses within the Standard Instrument LEP have not kept pace with the changing retail sector, and hinder the planning system from achieving these aims.

The proposed amendments to the Standard LEP identifies obsolete definitions which could be updated immediately without the need to await the finalisation of the Strategy.

Proposed new definitions

The proposed new definitions  are set out below.

Artisan Premises

These are premises which are a ‘building or place used to produce and/or process foods and beverages on site, without being fully automated.’ Specific examples of the types of activities which can take place in such premises are identified.

The new definition is intended to provide clarity for the developing artisan and craft food and drink industry.

Garden Centre

A new definition of garden centre is proposed to replace the current definition. The current definition of garden centre is ambiguous as it enables primary and secondary activities to occur on a site without any specificity in respect of what the allowable mix of those uses would be.

The proposed definition seeks to remove this ambiguity by listing the allowable uses and clearly differentiating between the principal purpose and other complementary uses.

Local distribution premises

Local distribution premises are proposed as ‘a building or place used for storing or handling items purchased or ordered for local delivery, but from which no retail sales are initiated.’

This definition distinguishes the use from a warehouse which is a place used mainly or exclusively for storing or handling items (whether goods or materials) pending their sale, but from which no retail sales are made.

The definition is a response to the need for places that support the final leg of parcel delivery- from online purchases from a central distribution centre, to a place closer to the customer.

Neighbourhood supermarket

A neighbourhood supermarket will be ‘a shop selling food and other household items where the selection of goods is organised on a self-service basis.’

Amendments are proposed to clause 5.4 of the Standard Instrument limiting such a supermarket to a maximum gross floor area of 1500 square metres.  This is to ensure compatibility with surrounding residential areas.

A neighbourhood supermarket will be permissible with consent in the B1 zone and wherever shops and retail premises are permissible.

Specialised retail premises (incorporating bulky goods premises)

This new definition is intended to replace the current definition of bulky goods premises, which will be deleted.

The DPE received significant representations as to the unsatisfactory nature of the current definition in light of current retail practices and following its proposed amendment to the bulky goods definition, exhibited in November 2017.  DPE is not proceeding with that amendment.

Rather, it has proposed a broader definition of ‘specialised retail premises’ as buildings or places used to sell, display or hire 14 types of goods specified in the definition.

Goods requiring a large area for display or direct vehicle access will now only be one category within the definition of ‘specialised retail premises.’

The new definition does not include the sale of food, clothing and footwear unless such sales fall within one of the specified categories.

Due date for submissions

Submissions close at 5pm on 18 May 2018.

The discussion paper for the proposed amendments can be found here.