Delayed release for Draft Residential Housing Strategy

Murray River Council

Murray River Council has pushed back the release date of its draft Residential Housing Strategy to ensure growth data across the region is adequately considered.

The draft strategy- which centres around meeting future housing demands across the municipality – was due for release this month but has been delayed due to a disconnect between population projections and pre-sold land data.

Director Planning and Environment, Rod Croft said accurate data underpins the success of the strategy.

“To ensure the successful development of the Housing Strategy we required population data from the 2021 Census, which was released in late June 2022.”

“We have also undertaken some further analysis of the population figures to allow us to forecast our population growth as accurately as possible.”

“But when it comes to building this into the strategy there seems to be a disconnect between the population projections and the NSW State Government guidelines when considering data around pre-sold land.”

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) must consider and approve all land rezoning applications, where the Residential Housing Strategy is used as the primary tool to justify release of new residential land.

However the department’s current guidelines don’t leave any scope to factor in pre-sold land data.

“Based on these guidelines we would be developing a strategy that takes no account for the large amount of vacant land that has been pre-sold prior to development, so we want to take the extra time to work through this issue and develop a strategy that will accurately set the direction for land release into the future,” Mr Croft said.

Murray River Council understand that there is currently quite a number of pre-sold land blocks in Moama alone, which council consider a large influencing factor in future planning.

“We can’t just develop a future plan that doesn’t take into account currently vacant land that is already sold.”

“So whilst we understand there is frustration from some developers regarding the delay of our Residential Housing Strategy, we want to use these next couple of months to work with DPE to get a strategy on the table that has accurate data.”

Council said the data will then inform triggers and thresholds for planning processes to start so that a steady supply of new residential land can be released over the next 20 years.

This is especially pertinent to Moama, where the demand for residential land is exceeding the current land available on the market for purchase.

Whilst the strategy will focus on the development and release of residential land, it will also encompass water and sewer infrastructure, road networks, future business land and other community facilities; all of which need to be in the right locations to support future residential growth patterns.

“The strategy needs to support us to stay ahead of the demand curve,” Mr Croft said.

“So even though it might take a few months longer than originally planned, I am confident the strategy will more accurately set the direction and clearly communicate the triggers for new land release into the future.”

Council hopes to release the Draft Residential Housing Strategy for public feedback in early 2023.

/Public Release. View in full here.