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Wollongong City Council

Development on Public Land

Public land is land that’s owned or managed by Council or the NSW Government.

If you’re thinking of applying for development approval on public land, the process is similar to any other type of development application (DA).

Information about some of the extra things you will need to consider for development on public land is shown below. This is a general guide only, and may not cover all cases.

You should always talk to us before you apply for development approval on any public land.

After getting development approval, you will also need an agreement with Council or the NSW Government to use the land. For some types of activity, a public competitive process will apply before any agreement is made. See the 'licences and agreements' section below for details.

You need to get the owner’s consent in writing to apply for development approval. For public land, the owner will be Council or the NSW Government. In some cases, you may need permission from both parties.

Before you start an application, contact us to confirm who owns the land, and what consent will be needed.

You need to make sure that the development you’re proposing is allowed on the site. You can check land zoning and permitted uses under our Local Environmental Plan.

Ask us for development advice before you start your application to confirm what conditions will apply in your case.

Public land managed by Council will usually have a Plan of Management. This will explain permitted uses, objectives, and in some cases design requirements that you'll need to follow. You can view current Plans of Management on our Community Land page.

For Crown Land, your proposed development will also need to be consistent with the Trust Purpose. Contact us for advice about the Trust Purpose if your planned development includes Crown Land.

Many parcels of public land have constraints due to flood and bush fire risk, or have other items on the land that need to be protected. This can include things like heritage items, significant trees and public buildings.

Our Development Control Plan explains how these types of constraints need to be addressed.

We recommend that you also talk to us for development advice if the land has flooding or heritage constraints.

Fire safety

When proposing a new building, or alterations or additions to an existing building, you must comply with the fire safety provisions of the Building Code of Australia (BCA). In some cases you may have to install fire safety measures for your proposed development. It is important to discuss these matters with a suitably qualified fire safety expert who is accredited with the Building Professionals Board before you lodge an application. They will be able to advise what works are needed and expected costs.

Access and amenities

You should consider what toilet facilities, including accessible facilities for people with disability, are needed for a new or existing building before you lodge a development application. You may need to do additional works to comply with the BCA requirements.

If your development application is approved, you will need to enter an occupation agreement with Council or the NSW Government. This could be a lease, licence, or some other form of agreement.

Depending on what you want to do, there may also be existing permissions in place that you can use. For example, we have pre-existing DAs for events at eight popular locations, and for commercial fitness trainers at various foreshore sites. Council can often licence these existing permissions to other people.

For some types of activity, Council must go through a public competitive process and invite other people to express interest in using the land before any agreement is made.

Before you submit a development application, talk to us to check:

  • If an occupation agreement would be possible
  • What type of occupation agreement and/or competitive process would apply
  • If there is an existing permission you can use for your activity.

Pre-lodgement meetings are compulsory for any development on public land.

Fees apply for pre-lodgement meetings.

Call us on (02) 4227 7111 to arrange a meeting.

Most applications for development on Council land are referred to the Wollongong Local Planning Panel (WLPP) .

The WLPP is an independent group of experts and community representatives who make decisions and provide advice about some types of Development Applications (DAs) or planning proposals.

Visit the WLPP page to find out more about this group.