Granny flats

Council approval process for granny flats

A secondary dwelling, commonly known as a 'granny flat' is a self-contained dwelling:

  • Established in conjunction with another dwelling (the principal dwelling), and
  • On the same lot of land as the principal dwelling, and
  • is located within, or is attached to, or is separate from, the principal dwelling.

State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) was introduced on 31 July 2009 to increase the supply and diversity of affordable rental and social housing in NSW. It provides for the development of granny flats in residential zones.

The following controls apply to Secondary Dwellings (Granny Flats):

  • Development of a secondary dwelling can only result in there being one principal dwelling and one secondary dwelling on the site.
  • You cannot separate the primary and secondary dwellings through subdivision.
  • The total floor area of the secondary dwelling must not exceed whichever is the greater 60sqm or 10% of the total floor area of the principal dwelling.
  • The site should have a minimum area of 450sqm to build a granny flat *

* In some circumstances, Council may approve granny flats on sites less than 450sqm  

If you meet the above criteria and you would like to build a granny flat, you will need to either apply for a complying development certificate or lodge a development application.

Complying development

To apply for a complying development certificate you must meet all of the complying criteria contained in Schedule 1 of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing). The criteria cover matters such as: Lot size, building height, open space, earthworks and drainage, and articulation zones.

Development requiring a development application

If your proposed granny flat does not meet the complying criteria in schedule 1, you will need to apply for a development application.

For more information on granny flats, please refer to the Housing NSW website

The following steps are provided to assist you in preparing and lodging a development application for a granny flat.

Step 1: Seek information

You should consider the following documents when preparing your DA:

Note: To download copies of the Randwick Local Environmental Plan, State Environmental Planning Policies and Development Control Plans, please refer to Planning Strategies and Controls.

State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing)

Refer to the bullet points above for the key controls.

Randwick Local Environmental Plan 2012

The Randwick Local Environmental Plan 2012 (Randwick LEP) details planning controls applicable to your site; including whether your site contains a heritage item, is located within a heritage conservation area, or is within a foreshore scenic protection area.

If your site is within the vicinity of a heritage item or is located within a heritage conservation area, you will need to consider whether your proposed development will affect the heritage significance of the heritage item/s or heritage conservation area.

If your site is within a foreshore scenic protection area, clause 29 of the RLEP applies.

State Environmental Planning Policy No. 71 (Coastal Protection)

This State Environmental Planning Policy applies to all land within the Coastal zone as defined by the Coastal Protection Act 1979. It aims to protect and manage the natural, cultural, recreational and economic attributes of the NSW coast. If your site is located within a coastal zone, you will need to consider the requirements of SEPP No. 71 when preparing your DA.

State Environmental Planning Policy (BASIX)

You will need to submit a BASIX certificate with your application for a secondary dwelling. Please refer to the BASIX website for more information.

All details listed on the BASIX certificate (e.g. rainwater tanks, window areas, awnings/screening/shading devices, hard and soft landscaping, etc.) must be included on the submitted plans.

Randwick Comprehensive Development Control Plan 2013

The following matters should be considered when designing your secondary dwelling:

  • Context - your design should consider the streetscape, the desired character of the neighbourhood, and the prevailing site conditions.
  • Height and Scale - your proposal should not be excessive in height or scale
  • Setbacks - your granny flat should maintain established setbacks in the street and ensure that adjoining dwellings have adequate access to light and air
  • Privacy - your proposal should not result in direct overlooking of adjoining sites
  • Landscaping - your proposal should retain sufficient landscaped area for outdoor recreational use, stormwater management and aesthetic appeal.
  • Views - your proposal should allow for fair sharing of views (i.e. not unreasonably block views from neighbouring sites).
  • Solar access - your proposal should optimise solar access opportunities and not result in any unreasonable overshadowing.

Proposals are expected to comply with the numerical controls in this DCP. Any proposed variation from the controls may be considered only where the applicant successfully demonstrates that an alternative solution could result in a more desirable planning and urban design outcome. This ensures that the DCP guidance has sufficient flexibility to recognise that every property has different characteristics based on their unique combination of site conditions, size, aspect and location. The context and site analysis will be critical in demonstrating the need for any variation to the numerical controls.

Guidelines, council policies and other site specific considerations

Council's preservation of trees and vegetation - If there are any trees (covered by Council's Preservation of Trees and Vegetation) that may be affected by your proposed works; Council's Landscape Development Officer will inspect the site and determine whether the impact on the tree is acceptable. You may also be asked to prepare an Aborist's report to assess the potential impacts of the development. Your plans must clearly show the location of all trees on and near your site.

Flooding - If your site is located in an area that may be subject to flooding, your development must be designed with suitable freeboards; and must not obstruct any drainage easements or flow paths. For more information about flooding controls, please refer to Council's Flooding Advice and Flood Related Development Controls Policy, or contact Council's Development Engineers.

Construction near stormwater pipes - Your granny flat should not be located over any drainage easements or stormwater pipes. If your proposal is located near a stormwater line, please contact Council's Development Engineers to discuss your proposal.

Construction near sewer lines - If your proposal involves construction over or near a sewer, Please refer to the Sydney Water website to obtain their requirements for construction near a sewer.

Planning Certificates - A Planning Certificate (issued under Section 149 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act) provides formal advice on land zoning and planning controls applicable to your site.

Step 2: Prepare Plans and Drawings

The following plans may be required:

  • Site Analysis Plan
  • Scaled Plans and Elevations
  • Notification Plans (A4)
  • Survey Plan
  • Landscape Plan
  • Drainage Plan
  • Shadow diagrams (if second storey proposed)
  • Sediment and Erosion Control Plan

Note: Plan requirements may vary depending on the scope of your proposal

Step 3: Prepare a Statement of Environmental Effects

The following headings may be used to provide the framework for your statement of environmental effects (SEE).

  • Details of proposal
  • Assessment against the Randwick LEP, relevant State Environmental Planning Policies, Development Control Plans, and Council Policies
    • SEPP (Affordable Housing)
      You should demonstrate how your proposal meets the requirements of the SEPP by responding to the following questions:
      • Does your granny flat meet the definition of a secondary dwelling?
      • Is your land zoned residential?
      • Is the floor area of the granny flat no more than 60sqm or 10% of total floor area of the principal dwelling?
    • Randwick LEP 2012   
  • Demonstrate how your proposal complies with the objectives of your zone
  • If your site is within the vicinity of a heritage item or is located within a heritage conservation area, you will need to consider the affect of the proposed development on the heritage significance of the heritage item/heritage conservation area
  • If your site is within a foreshore scenic protection area, you must ensure that your development protects and improves the visual qualities of the coastal area
    • Randwick Comprehensive Development Control Plan 2013
      • Your statement should demonstrate how the granny flat will be in general accordance with the controls contained in the Randwick Comprehensive Development Control Plan 2013. (See Sections C1 - 7.4 Outbuildings.)
  • Preservation of Trees and Vegetation 
  • Detail if any trees will be affected by the proposal. Your plans must clearly show the location of all trees on and near your site.
    • Flooding Advice and Flood Related Development Controls Policy
      • This policy is relevant to all sites that may be subject to flooding
      • If your proposed granny flat is located in an area that may be subject to flooding, demonstrate how the required freeboards will be achieved
      • Your granny flat must not obstruct any drainage easements or flow paths
  • Access and Traffic
    Detail any impact the proposal may have on traffic and pedestrian safety (i.e. if a new driveway is proposed, is there adequate sight lines for vehicles entering and exiting the site?
  • Drainage
    Detail where stormwater runoff from the granny flat will be directed

The following supplementary reports/details may also be required:

  • Heritage impact assessment report
  • Flood study
  • Hydraulic report
  • Waste management plan
  • Schedule of colours and finishes
  • Asbestos survey 

For more information on the supplementary reports, please refer to supplementary report requirements.

Step 4: Complete an application form

You will need to complete an application form & checklist PDF, 824.93 KB, and a cost summary report PDF, 70.98 KB.

The cost summary report must be prepared in accordance with Council's S94A Development Contributions Plan.

The application form must be signed by all land owners and the applicant.

Note: Section 94 or Section 94A Development Contributions may be payable for your development.

Step 5: Lodge the DA with Council

The development application must be lodged with the applicable DA fee. Please contact us to obtain a fee quote.

You may lodge your DA directly with Council at our administration building or by online services. A Council Officer will use the Development Application checklist form to check your application. Council will only accept a DA with all necessary information.

You are required to submit:

  • One (1) copy of the completed DA form and checklist
  • One (1) copy of the cost summary report
  • Two (2) copies of the A4 notification plans
  • Three (3) copies of the survey plan
  • Six (6) copies of all other plans
  • Six (6) copies of the SEE and other supporting documentation

Additional sets of plans and SEEs will be required if your application requires referral to any external agencies (e.g. Roads and Maritime Services, Heritage Office, Police, etc)

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