The NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) has condemned the scrapping of the NSW Government’s proposed Design and Place SEPP, labelling the backflip high-risk for the environment and communities, and ruinous for risk-management.

A spokesperson for the AIA NSW Chapter says the decision to not progress the Design and Place State Environmental Planning Policy was a significant backward step as the state reeled from natural disasters.

“The planning policy and guidelines were a positive move towards a more sustainable, affordable and resilient future for the built environment,” she says.

“To downgrade these sensible policies now is a slap in the face for our communities, especially those recovering from extreme weather."

“We know the science tells us these events will become more common and more severe. To scale back these practical requirements for sustainability and liveability is unfathomable.”

NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts has confirmed the government will not introduce the State Environmental Planning Policy for Design and Place.

This follows the decision late last month to revoke the Ministerial Direction for the nine principles, which were aimed at achieving outcomes to improve planning systems, design and place for quality of life, biodiversity and conservation, resilience and hazards, and maintaining corridors for transport and infrastructure, housing, industry and employment, resources and energy, and primary production.

The spokeswoman noted the announcement at an event for Urban Taskforce Australia, a group representing prominent property developers and equity financiers.

“In removing these guidelines, the government has chosen not to support sustainable, resilient places and good design,” she says.

“We cannot understand how the government can support this position. These moves are purely short-term and will be to the detriment of our future cities.”