Newsletter - October 2019

Peoples Forum Well Attended

Thanks to all those who were among the estimated 500 people who attended the Peoples Forum on Wednesday 18th September in the Norwood Concert Hall. The speakers, including two planning experts from Sydney and Melbourne, outlined the issues that heritage will face under the new Planning & Design Code, and offered some constructive alternative suggestions.

See the Messenger press report on the meeting: Protecting our Past.

Dunstan Planning Forum

Our Local Member (and Premier), Steven Marshall has organised a forum on the proposed Planning & Design Code this coming Monday evening 4th November at 6.30pm in the Norwood Concert Hall.

The Minister for Planning, Stephan Knoll and Michael Lennon, the Chair of the State Planning Commission will outline the proposed changes to the State Planning Laws, with particular reference to heritage issues.

While the Association urges people to attend the meeting, we have a number of concerns about the format: -

  • The scheduled one-hour time limit (6.30 – 7.30) is insufficient to allow a meaningful discussion of the issues, let alone any answers to questions.
  • Questions are to be submitted in writing prior to the meeting, and no doubt the answers will be carefully curated.
  • No speaker has been invited to outline community concerns.
  • The date conflicts with the monthly Council Meeting and this will not allow our Councillors and planning staff to attend.
  • Publicity from the Dunstan Electorate Office has been by email to selected people.

Cracked Code

The fabric of St Peters, College Park and surrounding suburbs may be changed forever with the adoption of the State Government’s Planning and Design Code, which is out for public consultation until late February It collapses all Council development plans into one on-line planning portal. It appears to be a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

While the NPSP Development Plan is not perfect, it has been carefully developed over the last 25 years and is better than the Plans of most other Councils, particularly in relation to heritage protection.

Changes to the State's planning laws have already seen the loss of community appeal rights. Now with the release of the draft Code, heritage protection will be further diminished, and we'll likely see more sub-division, ugly box buildings and fewer backyards & trees. While the glossy flyers and promotional videos make it appear wonderful, here are some realities:

  • We will lose the listing of all Contributory Items. These are historic buildings that as a collection, make up the character and streetscape of our Historic Conservation Zones. Currently, these buildings have strong demolition controls. With the new code, demolition controls will be severely weakened.
  • The Historic Conservation Zones will be replaced by Historic Area Overlays. The overlays will have local 'Historic Area Statements' that describe the attributes of a local area. This would include minimum allotment size, minimum street frontages, the historical era that we are trying to protect, materials used in buildings, the scale of built area, fencing, roof pitches, etc. However, these statements have not yet been drafted. That means there is no way of knowing what the specific demolition policies will be, or what type of new buildings will be allowed to be constructed. How can we be consulted on something that doesn't exist!!
  • New demolition tests appear in the draft Historic Area Overlay that are much weaker than what exists in our current NPSP Development Plan. For example, in the new Code a building can be demolished if the 'facade does not contribute to the historic character of the streetscape'. An astute developer could easily argue that if a building is hidden by a large fence or hedge, it doesn't contribute to the streetscape and therefore could be demolished. These buildings will quickly be cherry picked with boxes erected in their place.
  • Some zones, like Urban Corridor Zones and Suburban Main Street Zones, will have a new building height policy that allows for much taller buildings in the future. This will mean loss of amenity and privacy for adjacent dwellings. And 'significant development sites' get a 30% height bonus!

If you care about the historic fabric of our area, now is the time to act. Here's what you need to do:

To see how the Code will affect your property, you can access the draft Code, fact sheets and other information from the SA Planning Portal.

The Code needs to be read in conjunction with the online mapping tool which is also available on the SA Planning Portal. Unfortunately, the Code and mapping tool have been published with errors and inconsistencies including missing mapping information and missing/incomplete policies and wording.

For assistance in understanding the Code, you can contact the State Planning Commission on 1800 318 102.

For more information contact David Cree on 0418 622 163 or email to