More family–friendly apartments now in the mix for The Hills

The Hills Shire Council Group Manager of Strategic Planning Michael Edgar, Mayor Yvonne Keane and The Hills Shire Council Manager of Forward Planning Stewart Seale.
The Hills Shire Council Group Manager of Strategic Planning Michael Edgar, Mayor Yvonne Keane and The Hills Shire Council Manager of Forward Planning Stewart Seale.

Mayor of The Hills Shire, Clr Yvonne Keane, has announced that an agreement has been reached with the NSW Department of Planning that will see more family-friendly sized apartments as part of revitalisation of rail corridor precincts.

Mayor Keane said Council will now write to the Minister for Planning, the Hon Rob Stokes, thanking him for working collaboratively to ensure future density in the Sydney Metro Northwest Corridor has an appropriate mix and size of apartments to suit the needs of Hills residents.

“This is the breakthrough we have been working for,” Mayor Keane said.

“More than 37,900 households are expected to be added in the next 20 years, and forecasts indicate that at least 62 per cent of these will be family households.”

“In addition to the 19,610 low and medium density dwellings that will be built in the Hills, approximately 20 per cent (or 3,909) of all future apartments must have three or more bedrooms to ensure there are enough homes for ‘larger’ household types,” she said.

Mayor Keane said to keep housing affordable, apartments must also provide ‘dwelling diversity’ to ensure the market caters for different needs, expectations and household budgets.

“People need to be able to choose to live, raise a family or retire in an apartment that suits their needs,” she said.

“Getting this policy right will contribute to housing affordability, provide opportunities for young families to choose apartment living as a lifestyle choice close to a station, and give real alternatives for empty nesters to vacate their traditional family home for a good-sized apartment.”

“The Department of Planning worked hard to formulate a methodology for future development within the Sydney Metro Northwest Corridor that provides Council with certainty that at least 20 per cent of future apartment development will have three or more bedrooms and 40 per cent of all future two and three bedroom apartments will be well above the minimum size.”

“This is a positive step for our community and I’m so proud that our Council was able to play a strong and consistent role in advocating for the needs of existing and future residents.”

“I congratulate Minister Stokes for having the vision to see how important this issue is and acting to work up a solution.

“I would also like to thank Ray Williams MP, State Member for Castle Hill and Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier for Western Sydney, for his support and hard work in helping Council connect and work with the NSW Government to get a solution on this matter.”

Ray Williams MP, State Member for Castle Hill and Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier for Western Sydney, said larger apartments are a housing priority.

“It has long been my view that in the future young people will need to purchase an apartment as their first home, it is therefore paramount these apartments are built large enough to accommodate the needs of young families,” Mr Williams said.

“I’m pleased our government has listened to our Council and community in supporting the quality of future dwellings as we address the challenges of urban growth while maintaining the lifestyle of The Hills.”

Council now plans to progress the Planning Proposals currently with the Department of Planning, and accept Gateway Determinations with a condition that reflects the new policy.