NSW Design and Place State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) submission

WalkSydney is pleased to make a submission on the new NSW Design and Place State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP).

WalkSydney is a community group advocating for walking and better streets public places and walking networks. Streets provide places for important social and economic engagement as well as infrastructure for walking. WalkSydney wants to see bold coordinated action to make walking in Sydney safer, easier and more pleasant.

WalkSydney wholeheartedly supports the five general principles outlined in the draft Design and Place SEPP that will provide a framework for :

  1. Making Places of Character and Beauty;
  2. Inviting Places
  3. Productive and Connected Places
  4. Sustainable and Greener Places and
  5. Resilient and diverse Places

WalkSydney would like to emphasise the fundamental need for the SEPP to prioritise that walkable and social aspects in the design of all public places.

In particular, the SEPP must give the highest priority to providing the best possible pedestrian amenity in the design of any public place whether a street, park, square or any public reserve.

(The only exceptions to this principle could be those corridors set aside and engineered for an exclusive type of high-speed vehicular transport – such as Railways, airports or motorways which will probably be outside the SEPP).

The SEPP should ensure that the principles that define the quality of public places ensure that such places are comfortably walkable with sufficient space for social economic and recreational purposes, with good shading and accessibility.

WalkSydney would particularly like the SEPP to ensure that public places of high pedestrian activity such as town and suburban centres, railway stations, metro, bus and tram stops are designed to provide excellent walking amenity in their immediate vicinity and permit safe access to both the public transport and the connective fabric of their surrounding localities. Where existing places are to be renovated or designed anew, they should conform to best international urban design practice for pedestrian amenity.

WalkSydney would also like the SEPP to acknowledge that wherever pedestrian amenity may be in competition with vehicular transport for the use of limited public space, that space for walking should prevail.

Walk Sydney commends the draft SEPP in addressing the principles for improving the public domain within the Sydney metropolitan area, Greater Sydney and NSW. We acknowledge that the SEPP has the potential to benefits walking amenity and infrastructure and improve the quality of public spaces for all. We would also like to request the opportunity for future comment on specific details of the future Design Guides in development.