The NSW department of planning has drafted a ‘Local Character Clause’ which is proposed to be included in the Standard Instrument Local Environment Plan. The clause will allow a council to adopt a map overlay and a local character statement. The objective of the provision is to enable councils to develop tailored and creative planning responses that acknowledge the distinctive character of an area, especially in response to the challenges of population growth.

The local character statements will describe an area’s existing character and detail its desired future character, and will be developed in accordance with the Local Character and Place Guideline. Councils will consult with the Department of Planning in the formulation of the map layer, and will need to ensure that the planning proposal includes the draft local character statement, the number and type of lots impacted by the local character area, the alignment to strategic planning including the LSPS and local housing strategy, and show evidence of community and industry consultation. Submissions regarding the approach for introducing character overlays are currently being reviewed. 

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