View Impacts – a critical consideration for developers in high amenity areas

21/10/2011 2:50 am

View and view loss concerns are a town planning conflict often central to the assessment of many development applications in areas of high landscape amenity. Such disputes are known in planning terms as a ‘view loss conflict’ and usually arise because views are a highly valued and sought after attribute which can add substantial monetary value to a property. For developers, a property which benefits from a view can often be a central selling point in the marketing of a development property.

Careful consideration of how a proposed development can potentially alter the views enjoyed by surrounding property neighbours should be high on any developer’s priority list when compiling a development proposal to present to a local council. Such deliberation is of particular relevance along theNew South Walescoastline given residential development pressures and the increasingly limited amount of development sites which benefit from high view availability. In view loss conflicts, local councils are often left with the difficult task of not only determining the practicalities of an objector’s view loss concern, but providing consideration of property owners’ existing views against the development potential of a site. Granted, the task is a difficult and often subjective one.

However, in spite of this, our experience in the planning and development industry at Blockbrief reveals that both the NSW Land & Environment Court and local councils have shown an inclination to manage the impacts a proposed development has on views rather than promote outright refusal of the application. A propensity to enforce design solutions through manipulation of a buildings design, notably aspects of its bulk and scale, is a common method local councils and the NSW Land & Environment Court have adopted as a means of promoting the equitable distribution of views and therefore resolving view loss conflicts.

Attempting to resolve view loss conflicts rather than refuse an application is generally beneficial to an applicant and the consent authority. However, notwithstanding this, it is important to realise that such a process can often involve substantial time delays and the preparation of amended plans which effectively adds additional costs to the project.

So as to avoid undesirable time delays and additional associated costs, urge your designer and project manager to provide careful consideration of how your proposal may affect the current views enjoyed by surrounding neighbours. Such consideration should be provided in the projects infancy so you don’t find yourself back in the architect’s office having to re-think your development after submitting it to Council.