Council says NO to reforms that threaten our family-friendly suburbs

NSW Proposed Planning Reforms - Mayor Gangemi.jpg

Photo caption: Mayor Gangemi pictured in a location in Kellyville that could be affected by the NSW Government’s proposed planning reforms.

The Hills Shire Council has requested an exemption from the NSW Government’s proposed low- and mid-rise housing reforms due to the large number of new homes being zoned, approved, and built across the Shire.

The decision was made during an Ordinary Meeting of Council on Tuesday after Council warned the proposed policy could erode the character of The Hills’ family-friendly suburbs that have been meticulously planned over the last 20 years.

Under the NSW Government’s proposal, six-storey apartments could be built in small village centres in suburban areas like Beaumont Hills and Rouse Hill, which are completely ill-equipped to deal with this size and scale of density. These small centres meet the daily needs of residents rather than providing large-scale services or accommodating transport nodes like metro stations.

“When it comes to Council’s taking action on the state’s housing crisis, The Hills Shire has already done much of the heavy lifting for Greater Sydney,” Mayor Gangemi said.

“We’ve already zoned enough land for 50,000 new homes, we’ve consistently exceeded our housing targets, we’ve approved more than 22,670 homes since 2016, and around 15,550 new homes have been built in our Shire since 2016.

“Clearly, we are not opposed to development as we are committed to providing housing in the right locations, supported by infrastructure. We have a strong track record of planning for future growth and approvals, with plenty of zoned land in the pipeline.

“The NSW Government’s proposals might be suited to some areas in the inner city where the Premier has consistently said he wants to rebalance Sydney’s housing growth, but we’ve done enough over the years to demonstrate it’s not the best approach here.”

Mayor Gangemi said The Hills Shire is currently facing an infrastructure crisis, with an existing shortage of infrastructure to cater to the planned growth.

“By placing resources in the right places, we can see homes being built on land that has already been zoned for development. These homes can be located in well-connected areas near public transport and other amenities such as station precincts and release areas, where people are eagerly waiting for new homes,” he said.

“We need the NSW Government to commit to tangible infrastructure solutions to accommodate the unplanned growth these reforms will create. Otherwise, we risk increased traffic, heightened demand for open spaces, reduced on-street parking, and additional pressure on our existing schools and hospitals.”

Mayor Gangemi said the NSW Government’s reforms must be tailored to each community.

“A one-size-fits-all answer to housing will not work – each council and community needs to be empowered to tailor solutions that work for their area,” he said.

“Otherwise, we risk damaging the family-friendly character of The Hills and reduce the community satisfaction levels this Council has worked hard to achieve.”

Council will now submit in writing its reasons for requesting an exemption from the NSW Government’s low- and mid-rise housing reforms.

What areas will be affected by the proposed changes?

For The Hills, the proposed changes will likely impact the following areas:

  • Areas within 800m walking distance of a Metro Station, and
  • Areas within 800m walking distance of land zoned E1 Local Centre or MU1 Mixed Use, but only if the zone contains a wide range of frequently needed goods and services such as supermarkets, shops and restaurants including areas such as Baulkham Hills Town Centre.

What type of housing is the NSW Government proposing will be built to generate more homes?

  • Low-rise housing which consists of 1-to-2-storey dual occupancy, multi-dwelling housing (such as terraces and townhouses) and manor houses, which are typically small two-storey apartment blocks, and
  • Mid-rise housing, which typically consists of 3-to-6 storey residential flat buildings or shop-top housing.

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