May 23, 2018
Source: Daily Telegraph
Author: Danielle Le Messurier
23 March, 2018
A ROW is brewing over the state government’s decision to put the brakes on housing development.
An independent panel of property experts has hit out at the Berejiklian government and the Greater Sydney Commission over the call to suspend a medium-density housing code in the City of Ryde and the City of Canterbury-Bankstown last week.
The Committee for Sydney has labelled it “misguided” after Planning Minister Anthony Roberts made the move.
Mr Roberts, whose decision came after receiving advice from Lucy Turnbull’s Greater Sydney Commission, has since opened the floor to other councils, allowing them to apply for the code to be suspended while they change their planning laws to limit where medium-density housing can be built.
But Committee for Sydney executive chairman Michael Rose said medium-density terraces and townhouses were “essential” to make the city more liveable and homes more affordable.
“Density is central to making sure that every community can access the things that matter to it because it is density that supports good local jobs and good community services.
“But crucially, this density must be done well.”
Mr Roberts said he was concerned that development was outpacing infrastructure when explaining his decision to suspend the building code.
And Greater Sydney Commission last month suggested the state government should halt building at the two councils to prevent a wider community backlash against overdevelopment.
But Mr Rose said density was “the reason you get that sought-after variety of restaurants, cafes and shops along our most interesting main streets. It’s the reason you get essential services such as doctors and childcare within walking distance, because the economics stacks up with density.”
He said density was also part of the reason trendy suburbs such as Newtown, Surry Hills and Paddington were perceived as desirable places to visit.
And it could lead to more jobs, with Mr Rose saying it was “no accident that Sydney’s highest job densities are located in and near Sydney’s higher and medium-density suburbs”.
Without this he said Sydney would only be left with two options — building new houses on the outskirts of the city or as high-rise, high-density apartments.
“Opposing medium density won’t stop Sydney growing — but it will limit the number of options we have to deal with our growing pains,” he said.
Mrs Turnbull told The Daily Telegraph yesterday the Greater Sydney Commission advised the government to suspend the code to take pressure off the transport network.
“We need to make sure that growth is well planned so that people understand their quality of life will not be diminished by the creation of housing,” she said.