Planning Circular PS 18-008 has recently been issued, and amends existing and introduces new retail land use definitions under the Standard Instrument LEP.

The previous garden centre definition has been amended and now no longer requires any restaurant or café associated with the garden centre to be an ancillary component of the use. One or more restaurant and/or café can be included in the use, however the principal purpose of the garden centre must remain for the retail sale of plants and landscaping.

A new definition has been introduced, being “artisan food and drink industry”. This definition has been introduced to cater to and provide a clearer definition and use for the growing industry relating to artisan food and drinks such as microbreweries. This definition falls under the umbrella definition of “light industry” under the Standard Instrument LEP, however has been excluded from the term “light industry” under SEPP (Exempt and Complying Development) so that the use cannot be undertaken using exempt or complying development pathways. The relevant LEP should also be examined as additional requirements relating to this use apply, including within Clause 5.4 and relating to the gross floor area of the retail floor area.

A new definition of “local distribution premises” has also been introduced. This definition has been introduced in response to the increase in online shopping and subsequent requirement for businesses to have smaller distribution centres for local deliveries. Essentially, this definition allows for smaller scale distribution centres however it must be noted that the definition does not intend that goods be picked up by customers (for example, click and collect type purchases). This definition falls under the umbrella definition of “warehouse or distribution centre”, however has been excluded from the term “warehouse and distribution premises” under SEPP (Exempt and Complying Development) so that the use cannot be undertaken using exempt or complying development. The relevant LEP should be examined to ensure that there are no other applicable controls relating to this definition.

“Neighbourhood supermarket” is a further new definition that has been introduced so as to allow for daily shopping, encourage walking, and allow for smaller supermarkets in small neighbourhood centres. A “neighbourhood supermarket” must have a gross floor area of no more than 1,000m2 under Clause 5.4 of the LEP. This use separates supermarkets from the definition of a “shop”, as well as a “neighbourhood shop” which is generally too restricted in size under the LEP to accommodate a small supermarket. A larger supermarket will remain defined under a “shop”.

Under changes to the LEP to commence on 31st August 2018, the definition “bulky goods premises” will be removed and replaced with “specialised retail premises”. This is in response to changes in the marketplace and business models which comprise a shop requiring a large floor area due to the range and number of available products (rather than the size or weight of the products as per the current bulky goods definition), and where goods are dispatched from a separate warehouse following purchase. Under this definition, the use must require a large area for handling, display or storage of goods, or direct vehicle access to the site for loading and unloading by the public. Food and clothing can also be sold or displayed, however this must be ancillary, incidental or in conjunction with goods which meet the tests within the definition. This definition falls under the umbrella term of “retail premises”, which in turn falls under the definition of “commercial premises”.