24 January 2012 – When councils delegate planners to make development decisions major projects accelerate, a report by Urbis on the performance of inner Sydney councils says.

Tom Goode, writing in the January issue of Urbis Insights, says a less interventionist approach from the NSW government towards local authorities means that it is now left to local government to deal with increasing numbers of larger and more intricate projects.

Urbis analysed data on council development assessment performance between 2007 and 2010 including information on application determination times and success rates, new dwelling approvals as a percentage of strategic plan targets and Land and Environment Court determinations.

Other results from the research include:

  • Smaller and less-resourced councils are less able to deliver good determination times and rates of approval, as well as having some of the highest rates of merit appeals to the Land and Environment Court
  • Inner west councils of Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville are well below the average for development application determination times, proportion of applications approved and the potential for council staff to determine applications under delegated authority; and
  • Councils that include major urban renewal precincts, such as City of Sydney, Rockdale, Canada Bay and Ryde generally have good performance indicators that reflect a positive and engaging attitude towards development by their staff and councillors.