In the recent case of Hiep Van Nguyen & Anor v Canterbury-Bankstown Council [2017] NSWLEC 1234, the Land and Environment Court heard an appeal against the Council’s decision to reject a housing development proposal under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. The reason for the Council’s decision was that the land was too small for the proposed development, unless an amalgamation with the neighbouring property were to take place. Since the neighbour refused to sell, the developer characterised an amalgamation as impossible.

This, the developer argued, was a sufficient reason for the court to flexibly apply the development standards and allow the development proposal. In support of this argument, the developer highlighted that the development would meet housing needs and introduce new facilities to the area, therefore benefiting the public. The Court rejected this argument, strongly expressing the view that an unsuccessful attempt to purchase property is not a sufficient ground to warrant the flexible application of development standards.

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