AllBev Jordan

Councils Angry Over Density

Three local councils have rejected proposed NSW Government planning reforms which will encourage low and medium density levels near town centres and train stations. The State Government proposal, which aims to increase housing stock, has been roundly condemned by Hawkesbury, Hills and Hornsby councils.

The reforms will allow residential buildings of 3-6 storeys high, terraces, townhouses, duplexes and smaller 1-2 storey apartments in suburbs where they aren’t currently permitted.

Hawkesbury City Mayor Sarah McMahon said the plan could put the lives of current and future residents at risk.

“The proposed reforms are at odds with the State-acknowledged risks that exist in the Hawkesbury with relation to natural disasters like floods and bushfires,” she said. “It is already well acknowledged the difficulty and risks we would face if we had to evacuate 60,000 residents using the existing evacuation routes that have been sorely neglected by successive state and federal governments.

“Adding more people to that mix is a disaster waiting to happen. Instead of talking about increasing our population, the government should be listening to this Council when we tell them that so much more needs to be done to provide better flood resilience and evacuation routes for the Hawkesbury.”

Hawkesbury City Deputy Mayor Barry Calvert said: “Council is sympathetic to the issue of housing undersupply in NSW, however – this proposal would undermine the unique character of the Hawkesbury, put lives at risk, and supercharge road and public transport congestion, while barely making a dent in NSW’s housing shortfall.”

Councils Frustrated With Housing Stock Density

Hills Shire councillors are asking the Depart ment of Planning, Housing & Infrastructure to provide it with an exemption saying the Hills Shire Council has already zoned and planned for 50,000 new dwellings.

Hills Shire Mayor Peter Gangemi said: “Our family-friendly suburbs are now at risk of being overrun by 2-to-6-storey apartment blocks, duplexes, terrace houses and manor homes. The proposed changes will lead to increased traffic, fewer school places, less on-street parking, and overcrowding in our already struggling hospitals.

“It is of particular concern that there’s been no mention from the NSW Government on how it will support Council to provide more parks, better roads, and other services for everyone who will live here. Council is already a leader in housing supply – being one of the fastest growing areas in the country, exceeding our housing targets and determining more Development Applications last financial year than any other council in Metropolitan Sydney.

“There are thousands of dwelling approvals yet to be acted upon and land zoned for 50,000 more homes in our Shire, so I believe these reforms will not solve the housing crisis. Instead, they will make housing prices even more unaffordable for our young people and will stifle the progress of legitimate opportunities for housing delivery that already exist,”

At its General Meeting on 14th February, Hornsby Shire Council also showed little love for the proposal saying the state-wide approach to deliver housing will impact the character of the Shire’s suburbs, heritage, environment and tree canopy, infrastructure and risk overdevelopment in areas prone to risks such as bush fires and flooding.

Hornsby Shire Mayor Philip Ruddock said: “We’re concerned by the ‘one size fits all’ approach that is outlined in this proposal.”

Bev Jordan

Bev Jordan studied journalism at Harlow College in the UK.  She achieves a Diploma in Journalism from the National Council for the Training of Journalists. After migrating to Australia at the end of 1984, she took up a Senior Journalist position with Cumberland Newspapers, based on the Parramatta Advertiser. She has since worked on the Daily Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald and was a lecturer in Journalism at Macleay College in Sydney. Bev returned to Cumberland Newspapers (NewsLocal) and worked for 30 years covering all different mastheads, including Mosman Daily, Mount Druitt Standard and finally Hills Shire Times for the last 17 of those years. Bev’s passion has always been local community journalism.  She says “As a journalist, I have always seen it as my job to inform, inspire and involve.  I am a passionate advocate for organisations and people making a difference to the world around them. Connectedness is so important to the health of an individual but also to a community, no matter how small or large.

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