Newcastle development application times cut by 25 per cent

26 Sept 2022

A streamlined solution set to slash determination times for low-impact, decision-ready development applications will be considered by Councillors at tonight’s Ordinary Council Meeting following a three-month trial.

City of Newcastle (CN) has developed an Accelerated Development Application (DA) pathway for applicants, which starts with an online triaging tool to assess developments against eligibility criteria. Suitable applications are then fast-tracked and determined within five to 15 days.

Ninety six low-risk DAs were determined during the three-month trial with an average processing time of just 5.8 days, which reduced CN’s overall processing times by 25 per cent from 50 days to 37 days.

More than 1,650 applications were determined by City of Newcastle during the past 12 months. Over 30 per cent of these would have been suitable to be determined under the Accelerated DA pathway.

Eligible developments that are deemed low-risk and do not require a notification period can include residential and ancillary developments, demolition, secondary dwellings, change of use, torrens and strata title subdivisions, signage, modifications and industrial and commercial developments.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the service was a game-changer for processing times and congratulated City of Newcastle’s Planning team for their ingenuity and commitment to streamlining the development application pathway for applicants.

“Newcastle is in the midst of a development boom. Significant levels of residential and commercial development continue to unfold right across our city and there are no signs of this slowing anytime soon,” Cr Nelmes said.

“City of Newcastle’s Accelerated DA pathway presents an innovative approach to facilitating timely development outcomes, with some of the onus on the applicant to provide a quality submission that reduces the double-handling of information and speeds up the process.

“City of Newcastle’s fast, streamlined development pathway will ensure our city is a more attractive place to invest in bricks and mortar compared to other locations.”

CN’s Planning and Environment Executive Director Michelle Bisson said applicants can still expect the same standard of professional review for each application seen by the CN assessment team.

“By identifying low-impact applications for CN’s Accelerated DA pathway, simple applications won’t get slowed down by more complex DAs that our team are assessing,” Ms Bisson said.

“Our customers can get on with building their developments much faster this way and our assessors can process significantly more applications with greater efficiency.

“It is hoped the process is supported by the elected Council tonight and potentially gain interest state-wide.”