Standard Instrument Local Environmental Plan Amendments

05 OCT 2018


Following an exhibition period earlier this year, the NSW government has introduced a suite of important reforms relating to retail land uses in local environmental plans in order to better reflect changing business models and the current and future direction of the retail industry, coming into effect on 31 August 2018.

“Specialised retail premises” replaces “bulky goods premises”

One significant change is the replacement of the former land use term “bulky goods premises” with the new term “specialised retail premises”.

“Specialised retail premises” is defined as follows:

means a building or place the principal purpose of which is the sale, hire or display of goods that are of a size, weight or quantity, that requires:

    1. a large area for handling, display or storage, or
    2. direct vehicular access to the site of the building or place by members of the public for the purpose of loading or unloading such goods into or from their vehicles after purchase or hire,

but does not include a building or place used for the sale of foodstuffs or clothing unless their sale is ancillary to the sale, hire or display of other goods referred to in this definition.


Examples of goods that may be sold at specialised retail premises include automotive parts and accessories, household appliances and fittings, furniture, homewares, office equipment, outdoor and recreation equipment, pet supplies and party supplies.

Specialised retail premises are a type of retail premises — see the definition of that term in this Dictionary.

An important difference between the terms is that, unlike with a “bulky goods premises”, a specialised retail premises” does not require that the bulky goods sold require both a large area for handling, display and storage AND direct vehicular access to the loading facility for members of the public. Instead, only one of those requirements must be met.

Further, “specialised retail premises” can also include those retailers stocking such a quantity of goods so as to require a large floor area or direct vehicular access, rather than only goods of a particular size or weight so as to require a large floor area and direct vehicular access.

This change is intended to reflect the rise of “showroom” style retail formats which no longer require that large quantities of goods be stored at the premises where instead goods ordered are dispatched from a separate warehouse facility directly to the customer.

“Specialised retail premises” will now replace “bulky good premises” wherever the term appears in local environmental plans or other environmental planning instruments. As a result, “specialised retail premises” will be permissible wherever “bulky goods premises” were permissible in a land use zone.

Existing development consents relating to “bulky goods premises” are not affected by the change, unless subject to a modification application.

Other amendments

The suite of amendments also included a refined definition for “garden centre” and introduced the land use categories of “artisan food and drink industry”, “neighbourhood supermarket” and “local distribution premises”.

The Department of Planning and Environment has published a planning circular providing an overview of the amendments and their implications for local government, businesses and the community.

For further information on these planning and environmental law updates, please contact Adam Seton on or (02) 4626 5077 and David Baird on or (02) 4626 5077.

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.

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