Design Review Panel
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Design Review Panel

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​ On 14 March 2016 Council resolved to establish a Design Review Panel  (DRP) under State Environmental Planning Policy No. 65 - Design Quality of Residential Apartment Development (SEPP 65). The panel commenced on 1 July 2016.

Council’s DRP operates in accordance with Part Five of the Apartment Design Guide (ADG).

What applications are referred to DRP?


Council and the ADG encourage pre-development application discussions, including early input by a DRP for applications captured under SEPP 65, clause 7.18 of WLEP2009 Design excellence in Wollongong City Centre and at key sites or boarding houses as per post-lodgement. Early panel advice on a schematic proposal can allow applicants to address issues early on, saving time later in the application process.


  • Development applications that require assessment under SEPP65.
  • Applications captured under clause 7.18 of WLEP2009 Design excellence in Wollongong City Centre and at key sites.
  • Boarding houses under Clause 30(A) of SEPP(ARH) 2009 or WLEP 2009.


Applications not meeting the above triggers may be referred to the DRP where a proponent chooses to do so. This can be done pre- or post-lodgement. In this case, the design review panel’s advice would be a matter for consideration in the assessment of any application and unrelated to SEPP 65 or WLEP2009.

Function of DRP

The DRP advises on the design quality of applications with reference to SEPP 65’s nine design quality principles and the Apartment Design Guide (ADG). The panel also operates in accordance with clause 7.18 of WLEP2009 Design excellence in Wollongong City Centre and at key sites.

The Panel may identify and recommend improvements necessary to achieve consistency with the design quality principles and the ADG or WLEP2009. The DRP is an advisory body, and does not have a decision making function. The primary functions are to provide independent expert design advice on applications and policy for applicable buildings, and assist in improving the design quality of development.

The advice has legal weight and can be relied upon by Council when determining a development application or modification for apartment development under SEPP 65 or WLEP2009.

Frequency & format of meetings

Meetings will be regularly scheduled on a monthly basis. Normally a minimum of two matters will be heard per meeting, but this may be increased when required.

Meeting procedures

The Panel will conduct a site inspection on the morning when the matter is to be heard. The Panel will have a pre-meeting overview by the relevant staff member including site history, background, surrounding proposed/approved developments, compliance with planning controls, internal referral comments and submissions/objections.

The proponent will then present the application to the Panel, explaining the project within the local context, background and how it addresses key design quality principles of SEPP 65 and the Apartment Design Guide.

There will be a general open discussion with all parties.

The Panel will Confirm agreed advice and recommendations after the formal meeting using the template at Part 5E of the ADG.

The minutes will be endorsed by the Panel and forwarded to the proponent, generally within 14 days of the meeting.


Fees will be in accordance with Council’s fees and charges.

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