The Greater Sydney Commission’s plans for Sydney’s growth must promote Urban Living

The biggest change Sydney will undertake over the next 40 years will be the shift away from suburban to urban living, says the Urban Taskforce.

“The Urban Taskforce submission on the Draft Greater Sydney Region Plan has stressed the importance of championing the inevitable swing from a predominately suburban form for Sydney to an urban form of apartments,” says Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson. “Recent research we have undertaken with McCrindle indicates that in 1991 68% of Sydney homes were detached houses, by the 2016 census this had dropped to 55% and by 2057 detached houses are expected to drop to being only 25% of homes (see below image). Over the 40 years the Region Plan covers this swing towards an urban model will be the biggest change to Sydney.”

“The closing date for submissions to the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) on the Draft Greater Sydney Region Plan and Draft Sydney District Plans marks an important milestone in Sydney’s development. The GSC is to be congratulated on the extensive amount of work that has gone into the 40-year plan for Greater Sydney and the five 20-year District Plans. There are many positive elements in the plans including the provision of metro rail infrastructure, the three cities structure, the role of the new airport at Badgerys Creek in stimulating jobs and housing and the setting of targets for jobs and housing.”

“The Urban Taskforce believes the package of plans can be improved by giving a stronger focus on the dramatic shift that will occur to both apartment and townhouse living and how amenities and infrastructure will be aligned with this form of housing. The GSC should also undertake research into the demographic groups that will be wanting to live in the more urban precincts across Sydney.”

“Mixed use precincts should be more strongly encouraged in Sydney’s growing urban precincts. We are concerned that many inner city industrial sites will be underutilised due to the prevention of urban renewal the plans promote. These sites are often struggling economically and are ideally located to become mixed-use precincts with far more jobs that they currently have as well as having significant amounts of new housing and further amenities. These mixed-use precincts can become 5-minute-precincts where residents are close to jobs.”

“A further concern is that the plans do not seem to support residential buildings in strategic centres with only commercial buildings being allowed. Mixed-use centres with jobs and housing become more lively over the full week.”

“Another crucial area that still needs resolution in the package of plans is the need for more affordable housing. The GSC’s plans indicate that levies for affordable housing should only occur on the uplift in floor space with rezoning, only in certain locations and only if economically viable. The plans however then ask each council to prepare its own plans for affordable housing.”

“Only a day before submissions are due on Sydney’s plans the Minister for Planning announced the proposal top add five new councils to the SEPP 70 list where a levy is applied to all new housing. The development industry is getting confused as to who is leading the government’s strategy on affordable housing.  We are particularly concerned that councils like the Inner West Council are looking for a 30 percent levy on all new housing that will make many projects unviable.”

“The Urban Taskforce is keen to work with the Greater Sydney Commission in the refinement of the draft regional and district plans to ensure Sydney’s growth is well managed.”

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