Objections to property development in New South Wales

Last updated: December 2020 | 4 min read
In this article


This article will be useful reading for anyone who objects to any property development in New South Wales and anyone who proposes a property development in New South Wales.

I object to a proposed development: what can I do?

If you object to a proposed property development, you may have certain rights to formally oppose the development. Before we look at those rights and how to effect them, you will need to know about building approvals.

Why do some projects require approval?

Under the Environmental Planning and Assessment (Amendment) Act 1997 all building work, whether it involves the erection or demolition of a building, is now regulated under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. Approval is important to:

  • Ensure coherent urban, rural or business designs;
  • Preserve places of heritage importance;
  • Protect agricultural land;
  • Ensure the building does not adversely affect the environment.

What type of building requires approval?

Broadly speaking, most development or building requires approval. Documents produced under the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 specify what building work and other development does not require approval, does require approval or is prohibited in a particular area.

Application for approval

Where development consent is required, an applicationmust be lodged with the appropriate authority, usually the council for the area in which the land is located. The process depends on the type of development proposed. There are three types of development:

  • Development that does not need consent;
  • Development that does need consent; and;
  • Development that is prohibited.

Which category a particular development falls into depends on the planning instruments applying to the area in which the development is proposed. There are three types of planning instrument:

  • State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP): deal with state environmental planning significance;
  • Regional Environmental Plans (REP): deal with environmental planning at a regional and state level;
  • Local Environmental Plans (LEP): reflect local issues.

If you object to the development, you can inspect the planning instruments by contacting the local council’s planning department.


For all the types of development that require consent, the consent authority must consider:

  • Any applicable planning instrument;
  • Any draft planning instrument that is or has been placed on public exhibition;
  • Any development control plan;
  • The Environmental Planning & Assessment Regulations that apply to the land to which the development application relates;
  • The likely impact of that development, including environmental impacts on both the natural and man-made environments, social impacts and economic impacts;
  • The suitability of the site for development;
  • Any submissions from the public or otherwise made in accordance with Environmental Planning & Assessment Act or Regulations; and;
  • The public interest.

Public Participation for Designated Development

After an application is made, the consent authority must;

  • Place the application and any accompanying information on public exhibition for a period of not less than 30 days;
  • Give written notice of the application to;
  • ·All people who appear to own or occupy the land adjoining the land to which the development application relates;
  • As far as practicable, to other people who appear to own or occupy land that may be adversely affected if the designated development is carried out;
  • To any other persons required by the regulations;
  • Written notice must contain;
  • A description of the land on which the development is proposed to be carried out;
  • The name of the applicant and the consent authority;
  • A description of the proposed development;
  • A statement that the proposed development is designated development;
  • A statement that the development application and the documents accompanying the application may be inspected for a specified period during normal office hours at the consent authority’s principal office, at the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning’s offices, and the council’s principal office (if it is not the consent authority);
  • A statement that any person during the period specified may make written submissions to the consent authority and that any submission made objecting to the development must specifically state the grounds of objection;
  • The period for which the application may be inspected and submissions may be lodged;
  • If the development is also integrated development, a statement to this effect, the approvals required, and the relevant approval bodies.

So if you object to a property development and know about it prior to public exhibition, contact the local council and ask them when you can formally make an objection. If you have found out about the development during the 30 day exhibition, write to the local council to ask how to formally make the objection. Do this promptly as 30 days flies by when dealing with government departments.

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