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Council is inviting comments from residents on the Draft Voluntary Planning Agreement Policy.

At the Ordinary Meeting of 25 October 2016, Council resolved to exhibit the Draft Voluntary Planning Agreement Policy for the amalgamated local government area. The intended outcome is to provide a common policy when negotiating the terms of future voluntary planning agreements with developers. The draft policy will replace the existing policies that are applicable to the former councils.

What is a Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) Policy?

A Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) is a legally binding contract between a developer and Council that outlines the developer’s offer to make contributions towards a public purpose as part of a development application or a planning proposal.

A Voluntary Planning Agreement Policy is a document that outlines Council’s commitment to follow a consistent framework and process when negotiating Voluntary Planning Agreements. The draft policy is consistent with the statutory requirements outlined in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.

What are the intended outcomes of the proposed changes?

The draft policy provides directions on the following key themes:

1. Circumstances when Council will consider a VPA

The draft policy expands on the Act’s definition of a ‘public purpose’ by providing additional public benefits that Council may consider when preparing a VPA:

  • Meet the demands created by development for new public infrastructure, amenities and services,
  • Address a particular deficiency or deficiencies in the existing provision of public facilities in the Council’s area,
  • Achieve recurrent funding in respect of public facilities,
  • Prescribe inclusions in the development that meet specific planning objectives of the Council,
  • Monitor the implementation of development, and
  • Secure planning benefits for the wider community.

2. Provisions to prepare and operate a VPA

The draft policy outlines provisions to operate a legally binding agreement, which includes monitoring the performance of the agreed works, resolving disputes, determination of security for the agreed works, and registering the VPA.

The draft policy also requires the developer to pay for all costs associated in preparing and drafting the VPA, including Council’s legal fees and the agreed specialist studies to support the obligations within the VPA.

3. Negotiation process

The draft policy outlines the negotiation process for the relevant application types:

  • For planning proposals – Any VPAs made in connection with a planning proposal, the planning proposal will generally be conditional on the execution of the VPA by the proponent. Council will request the Minister for Planning to require a draft VPA to be publicly notified and entered into before amendments are made to environmental planning instruments, or to await the execution of a VPA prior to making a decision.
  • For development applications – Any VPAs made in connection with a development application will generally require pre-lodgement discussions with council officers, and the draft VPA to accompany the DA lodgement.

4. Probity

The draft policy seeks to protect the VPA and negotiation process from conflict of interest by including the following provisions:

  • Councillors will not be party to the preparation or negotiations of any VPAs.
  • When Council has commercial interest in a development that is subject to the VPA, Council will ensure that the staff assessing the application is not the same person who represents Council as a landowner, developer or financier who is negotiating the commercial terms.

Have Your Say

The draft policy is on exhibition until 7 December 2016 and can be viewed at:

  • Bankstown Customer Service Centre, Upper Ground Floor Civic Tower, 66-72 Rickard Road, Bankstown, 8.30am–5pm Monday to Friday,
  • Campsie Customer Service Centre, 137 Beamish Street, Campsie, 9am–5pm Monday to Friday, and
  • Council’s website at www.canterburybankstown.nsw.gov.au/haveyoursay

To see the full changes on the website, please download a copy of the Draft Voluntary Planning Agreement Policy in the Document Library (on the right hand side of this webpage). The Council Report is also available in the Document Library.

If you wish to comment on the draft policy, you will need to make a written submission by 7 December 2016 to:

The closing date for submissions is 7 December 2016.
For any enquiries, contact the Spatial Planning Team on 9707 9000.