Role of the BLPP

The BLPP is panel of independent experts that determine development applications on behalf of Council, and provide other advice to Council on planning matters.



Scope of the BLPP

Development Applications (DAs) will be determined by the BLPP based on the following criteria:

Conflict of Interest

Development for which the applicant or land owner is:

a).   the council
b).   a councillor
c).   a member of council staff who is principally involved in the exercise of councils under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979
d).   a member of Parliament (either Parliament of New South Wales or Parliament of the Commonwealth)
e).   a relative (with the meaning* of the Local Government Act 1993) of a person to in (b) to (d)

But not development for the following purposes:

a).   internal alterations and additions to any building that is not a heritage item
b).   advertising signage
c).   maintenance and restoration of a heritage item
d).   minor building structures projecting from the building façade over public land (such as awnings, verandas, bay window, flagpoles, pipes and services, and sun shading devices)

*Relative in relation to a person, means any of the following:

a).   the parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, lineal descendant or adopted child of the person or of the person's spouse or de facto partner,
b).   the spouse or de facto partner of the person or of a person referred to in paragraph (a).


Development that is the subject of 10 or more unique submissions by way of objection. Where a petition is received this is classed as one objection.

Departure from Development Standards

Development that contravenes a development standard imposed by an environmental planning instrument by more than 10% or non-numerical development standards.

Note: If the Secretary allows concurrence to be assumed by Council Officers for contravening development standards, the Panel can delegate these applications to Council Officers to determine.

Sensitive Development

a).  Designated development

b).  Development to which State Environmental Planning Policy No 65 Design Quality of Residential Apartment Development applies

c).   Development involving the demolition of heritage items

d).   Development for the purpose of new licenced premises, that will require one of the following liquor licenses:­

  1. A club licence under the Registered Clubs Act 1976­
  2. A hotel (general bar) licence under the Liquor Act 2007­
  3. An on-premises licence for public entertainment venues under the Liquor Act 2007

e).   Development for the purpose of sex services premises and restricted premises

f).    Development applications for which the developer has offered to enter into a planning agreement (VPAs)


Planning Proposals

All planning proposals prepared after 1 June 2018 are required to be referred to the IHAP for advice, unless the General manager determines that the planning proposal relates to:

a).   The correction of an obvious error in a local environmental plan
b).    Matters that are a consequential, transitional, machinery or other minor nature, or
c).    Matters that the General Manager considers will not have any significant adverse impact on the environment or adjoining land

A proposal is to be referred to the IHAP before it is forwarded to the Minister under Section 3.34 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.


This criteria is based on two key objectives:

  • ensuring the Panel focuses on contentious and complex development applications and applications with the greatest corruption risk, while council staff continue to determine routine applications; and
  • building flexibility into the criteria to reflect differences in the types of development and community expectations across local government areas.

The matters referred to the BLPP are based on the following directions:

BLPP Procedures and Conduct

BLPP Members are not subject to the direction or control of the council, except on matters relating to procedures of the panel or the time within which it is to deal with a matter (unless these directions are inconsistent with a direction of the Minister).

Panels are subject to any directions made by the Minister and are governed by the Code of Conduct for Local Planning Panels (view here).

The Panel operates under the Local Planning Direction - Operational Procedure (view here) which provides directions to ensure the Panel complies with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.


What is the role of Council?

The key benefit of the BLPP is that it frees council to focus its efforts on strategic leadership in the planning system. This includes delivering great strategic planning that involves the community establishing the vision, goals and priorities for land use the local area.

It also includes the critical task of ensuring that local development controls – governing what types of development are permissible in the local area – are up-to-date and in line with the strategic plan. These controls are found in the local environmental plan and the development control plans prepared by council.

When these strategic functions are performed well, the task of assessing and determining individual development applications becomes a technical matter of assessing the application’s merits against the rules that are set by the Council. It is appropriate that technical experts – on the BLPP or the Council’s Planning Officer – perform this task.