The NSW retail sector has welcomed the introduction of a new term "specialised retail premises" to replace the former land use term 'bulky goods premises' in the Standard Instrument (Local Environmental Plans) Order 2006 to reflect changing business models in the large format retail industry.

The amendment was a result of submissions received from industry and councils that the definition of "bulky goods premises" did not reflect the current and future direction of large format retailing. In particular, the submissions highlighted that a new definition was required to give businesses clarity, consistency and certainty to cater for the changing needs of its customers.

What is the new definition?

The new definition of "specialised retail premises" is:

specialised retail premises 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 those goods being sold, hired or displayed.

Note: 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.

"Specialised retail premises" will replace "bulky goods premises" wherever the term occurs in a Standard Instrument Local Environmental Plan. This means "specialised retail premises" will be permissible wherever "bulky good premises" were permissible. Similarly to "bulky goods premises", "specialised retail premises" will be a subset of "retail premises" and "commercial premises" and will be permissible wherever these uses are permissible (as long as "specialised retail premises" is not specifically prohibited).

What was the purpose of the amendment?

The primary reason for the amendment was to reflect the changing business models in the large format industry. Many specialised retailers did not require the capacity to store large quantities of goods in their shop as customers ordered from the retailer and goods were dispatched from a central warehouse direct to the customer at a later date. This "showroom style" model also negated the need for customer loading facilities.

There was also a growing requirement for a larger floor plate because of the quantity and range of products on offer, rather than the size of an individual product.

As a result, the new definition of "specialised retail premises" differs from its predecessor in that:

  • it is no longer a requirement that the goods be of such a size and weight as to require both a large area for handling, display and storage and direct vehicular access to loading facilities for members of the public. Only one of these requirements needs to be met.
  • retailers that stock a large quantity or volume of products are characterised as "specialised retail premises" even if those products are not large or heavy, but the quantity or volume of goods requires a large area for handling, display and storage or direct vehicular access to loading facilities for members of the public.

What are the types of goods that fall within the definition of "specialised retail premises"?

The types of goods that fall within the definition include:

  • animal supplies include equestrian and pet goods;
  • automotive parts and accessories;
  • camping, outdoor and recreation goods;
  • electric light fittings;
  • floor, wall and window coverings;
  • furniture, bedding, furnishings, fabric and manchester and homewares;
  • household appliances and fittings;
  • household electrical goods and home entertainment goods;
  • party supplies;
  • swimming pools and spas;
  • office equipment and supplies;
  • baby and children's goods, children's play equipment and accessories;
  • barbeques, fireplaces and gas appliances; and
  • sporting, cycling, leisure, fitness goods and accessories.

This list is not an exhaustive list of examples of goods that may be sold, displayed or hired at specialised retail premises. In fact, any goods that are of such a size, weight or quantity so as to require a large area for handling, display and storage or direct vehicular access to loading facilities for members of the public will meet the definition.

A "specialised retail premises" can also include the sale and display of foodstuffs and clothing, however they must be ancillary and/or incidental and/or sold in conjunction to the goods which meet one of the two nominated tests in the definition.

What is the effect on existing development consents?

The change to the definition will not affect existing developments or development consents which were approved as "bulky goods retail premises". They will continue to operate under the terms of their development consent unless modified by a new development consent.

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