Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Where does the housing we need go?

The NSW government plans to increase housing within existing city footprints and communities are on edge fearing what it means for their neighbourhood. Inner Sydney is already denser than inner London, Melbourne and Brisbane.

What does this mean for the Sydney Local Government Area (LGA)?

From 2016-2021 Sydney Council added 14,000 dwellings or 6 per cent of the total for greater Sydney. It is also the city’s transport hub with many stations and light rail stops.

The government’s low and mid-rise housing proposal has Sydney Council worried if it goes ahead unchanged. That proposal would mandate minimum controls within 800 metres of every station (metro, rail or light rail) and town centre precincts, overriding Council’s existing planning controls, including heritage, if they are inconsistent with the proposal. With many village centres and stations little is untouched by the 800m radii.

The non-refusal standards enable a typical six-storey apartment within a radius of 400m and three storey apartments from 400m to 800m, with the possibility for additional two-storey affordable housing bonuses in some areas. The proposal also captures low-density residential areas in Rosebery and Moore Park by allowing manor houses, townhouses, semis and terraces to be built. The densities proposed are lower than existing terrace densities that could be removed under the 800m proposal.

Council’s submission proposes radius around tram stops be halved and argues that most of the LGA’s town centres should not be subject to the height increase due to their existing service levels. It also questions the practicality of non-refusable standards in its LGA, providing examples of potential adverse outcomes. Council urges the government to provide the housing targets due last year to allow Council to determine where the density required is best delivered in its existing manner rather than mandating controls that are likely to slow housing delivery in the LGA.

Under the National Housing Accord these planning reforms were to be developed with local government. With the exhibition over, inner-city residents are waiting to see if the government will work with councils in response to submissions.

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Geoff Turnbull is the spokesperson for REDWatch.

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