NSW Government back peddles on planning for Ryde and Canterbury-Bankstown

The NSW Government has suspended all planning proposals in the city of Ryde because the property boom in the area has outpaced the ability of existing infrastructure to deal with it.

Planning Minister, Anthony Roberts, said there were concerns that councils and the previous government had zoned large tracts of land for high rise without due regard to infrastructure requirements including roads, schools, hospitals, police, fire and ambulance.

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) welcomed the NSW Government’s decision, but said there were other areas of Sydney experiencing strain, particularly Western Sydney.

WSROC President Cr Stephen Bali said sustainable growth meant planning and budgeting for infrastructure first, and allocating growth second.

“Infrastructure helps build liveable cities. If infrastructure can’t be delivered in a particular location, we need to acknowledge that, and limit residential development accordingly", he said.

The Government has also offered to put a new low rise, medium density housing code, due to begin across NSW in July, on hold in Ryde and Canterbury-Bankstown councils until 2020.

According to the Canterbury-Bankstown Council, Planning Minister, Anthony Roberts, backed down from introducing the new Medium Density Housing Code in Canterbury-Bankstown following a meeting with Mayor Khal Asfour.

"It was clear the Government hadn’t thought through the potential ramifications of this policy, on areas like Canterbury-Bankstown," Mayor Asfour said.

"It would have been disastrous for our suburbs, which have R2 residential zonings, where there’s low density housing."

Currently, medium density housing, such as villas and townhouses, can only be considered in appropriate zonings, where a block of land is at least 1,200m². It is also assessed and decided on by Council, applying rules and conditions under the Local Environmental Plan (LEP).

Under the Government’s proposed changes, blocks only need to be half that – 600m² – the size of a standard lot, and the property owner could use a Private Certifier to avoid Council assessing the application.

Mayor Asfour said the changes would have meant residents would only know such a development is proposed, when work actually started and they couldn’t do anything about it.

"I’m happy and relieved sanity prevailed in the end and the Minister ended such madness," Mayor Asfour said.

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