Friday, June 21, 2024

Hills Shire urges cooperation on housing solution

Sydney’s Hills Shire Council Mayor, Peter Gangemi, has urged the NSW Government to work with the state’s councils to deliver more homes rather than applying a one-size-fits-all approach, following the announcement of new housing density rules for local government.

Mayor Gangami said The Hills Shire had one of the strongest housing track records of any council in Sydney.

“In the 22/23 Financial Year, more than 1500 development applications were determined in The Hills, which is more than any other metropolitan council in the state,” he said.

“The more than 13,000 homes expected in The Hills Shire LGA over the next five years are second only to Blacktown Council.

“The Hills is one of the few metropolitan councils meeting our housing targets, so we come to the table as a major contributor looking to find the best solutions for our communities.”

Mayor Gangemi said councils were willing to work with the NSW Government on “more nuanced” approaches.

“Councils I have spoken to are prepared to do even more when it comes to housing if there is additional investment in infrastructure to match the increase in population,” he said.

“Each area has its unique challenges that have been considered in planning processes such as the Local Strategic Planning Statement, Local Environmental Plan and Precinct Plans. A one-size-fits-all approach is inferior planning and will lead to inferior results.”

The Mayor said “blaming councils” and rezoning land was not a silver bullet to solve the state’s housing crisis.

“Council has previously worked with the Department of Planning and our communities to already have the right approach, to locate our high-rise apartments and medium density housing around our Metro stations and town centres. There is already enough land zoned to accommodate an extra 100,000 people in the Hills by 2036,” Mayor Gangemi said.

“In the last 10 years only 19,000 dwellings have been built in The Hills against 30,000 consents, so blaming councils and fashioning a greater number of approvals is not the magic answer to the housing crisis.”

He expressed concern that planning changes could lead to a worsening of the housing crisis.

“Great planning produces great outcomes and poor planning produces poor outcomes. Six storey apartments do not belong next to existing one and two storey single-lot houses.”

“The changes will lead to densities significantly higher than planners envisaged, and the media release from the Government makes no mention of how additional open space, road upgrades and services will be delivered or funded to accommodate it.

“By trying to fix a housing crisis, the Government could be creating a community crisis – something that is potentially worse.”

Mayor Gangemi said the Government could work with councils on a number of key moves to deliver more housing in Sydney.

“The Government can do its part in the housing crisis by fast tracking the construction of homes on Landcom sites, funding key infrastructure projects to unlock housing and restoring confidence in the apartment sector.”

“We want to work with the Minns Government. We think there are big opportunities for more housing in The Hills Shire and right across Western Sydney.

“We look forward to reviewing the details of draft policies when they are made public by the Government next week and productive discussions around how we can accommodate appropriate density and uplift in the right locations where they will be serviced by infrastructure,” he said.

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