The majority of the SVPA concluded by the ministry refers to a clause in the local environmental plans of the councils that require the developer to make satisfactory arrangements for the provision of public infrastructure to serve their development. These clauses require that the infrastructure (or contribution to its costs) be provided before a planning authority can give its consent to development. The NSW government has published an updated draft policy framework for planning agreements, which contains an updated practical note (draft practical opinion) and a proposal for ministerial leadership. Once adopted, councils should pay attention to the draft practical opinion when negotiating voluntary planning agreements (VPAs). While the draft exercise retains many aspects of the existing practice note, there are some notable changes. The applicant is required to bear the costs of preparing legal agreements. In particular, none of the major changes to the draft practice notice will address concerns about the misuse of the VPA. The draft practice notice provides examples of “potential adverse outcomes,” including planning authorities who request inappropriate benefits or mistakenly rely on their legal position for inappropriate benefits, but does not provide new guidelines on how to avoid these outcomes. The main concerns of any potential for negotiation within the planning system are governance and probabilities.
PRIME CODE Planning contract as stated in the register (G) The registered commercial number of the planning contract and the full indications of the application must be indicated or included in an appendix. The schedule must be submitted at the site of the application. Each page must be numbered. The first and last page and any changes or additions must be signed by all parties. Planning authorities, and in particular councils, should issue guidelines and procedures for the implementation of voluntary planning agreements, and the establishment of a VPA (or possible revocation or modification) may be recorded in the field. Section 93 (H) of the EP-A Act stipulates that a planning contract thus registered under the Act is mandatory for each owner from time to time in the land, as if he had entered into the planning contract himself.