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September 20, 2021

Tweed Council remove options for MOs and other Rural Land Sharing Communities

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Tweed Valley. Photo Ryan Fowler.

The removal of Tweed Shire Council (TSC) from the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) 2019 that allows rural land sharing communities (RLSC) such as multiple occupancies (MO) and community title (CT) took place at last night’s council meeting.

The move comes following numerous applications for RLSC such as the failed Bhula Bhula MO and the Nightcap Village MO that did not reflect the original intentions of the planning laws and instead appeared to be more in line with large scale residential housing subdivisions.

However, with the worsening affordable housing crisis there were those who felt that removing the option for RLSC was a negative outcome for the community overall.

‘Council’s own report admitted that MOs are an affordable housing option and I have a number of clients (as a town planner) looking at MO options in Tweed with small scale MO’s to find secure affordable housing,’ said town planner Shane Sylvanspring.

‘Its crazy this is happening in the middle of the worst housing crisis. They do not ruin the rural landscape as suggested rather enhance it as most MO’s are required to reforest areas as well enhance the environment. I feel this is a lazy way of addressing the issue rather than Tweed actually coming up with its own MO policy to stop misuse of the SEPP (like Nightcap has done) and refine areas appropriate for small scale MOs as Lismore and Byron have done.

‘Although their motion last night was based on a new local policy replacing the state policy as referred to in the rural strategy, no council motion or timeframe has been set to create this option and therefore this proposal could never be implemented,’ he told The Echo.

Reflecting this Councillor Katie Milne (Green) told the meeting ‘We had a presentation from a speaker tonight in regards to this item imploring us not to proceed with this amendment. I feel vey torn with this one.

‘The biggest problem we are facing is that because we have so much land zoned up in the Tweed Shire from so many years ago that has been land banked for decades. There is capacity for about 30,000 people to be homed in these developments that have been kicked down the road – and we are now in the middle of this housing crisis.’

Councillor Pryce Allsop (Conservative) sought to have the decision deferred so that it could be looked at in conjunction with the Rural Lands Strategy (RLS). However, staff pushed the point that it was and action that arose from the RLS ‘to cease participating in the current state policy and for the council to prepare its own local controls’.

Staff predicted that it would be around three to six months to finalise the withdrawal from the SEPP and about two years for the new regulations for council to be developed.

‘I think all of us in the room would like to provide the opportunity for people to do that was originally intended with RLSC,’ said Mayor Chris Cherry.

‘There is an appetite in the chamber it allow that going forward. The decision tonight is about whether we have the State Government version, being that it has led to the kind of application we have seen recently.

‘Our neighbouring councils all do allow RLSC but are not part of the SEPP. They have put in local land sharing provisions. In Lismore they have put a lot of thought into conditions of where and why RLSC can be,  like not taking up prime agricultural land . We do want some form of RLSC but not what is currently being enabled by the SEPP.’

Mayor Cherry also pointed out that existing RLSCs will not be effected and that there are saving provisions being made for RSLC that have already put in applications that they put those application in on good faith.

The motion to remove the TSC from the SEPP was approved with Crs Allsop and Warren Polglase (Conservative) voting against.


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6 COMMENTS

  1. What a crazy decision,clearly pushed by the real estate industry to keep prices high and rising,shame on anyone who voted for this,obviously done by people who either have a vested interest in this or are just completely ignorant!

  2. In aesthetics and in construction and in living quarters just what does an MO (Multiple Occupancy) represent and define?
    History tells you what it defines. In the early 20th century and the late 19th century, Tweed Heads was a tent town because there were so many people on the move housing was not of a permanent nature. Tweed Heads was a town of caravan parks and tent cities. How multiple residency is that? It was low-class for the lower classes and cheap while over the border in Coolangatta it was a little up-market in Guest Houses. Time has moved on from and those caravan parks as Tweed Heads gained wealth and sone decorum, the caravan parks were seen as slums, and undesirable places of residence. Many caravan parks were pulled down while others were told to increase their standards.. Yes, they got rid of multiple residency because of the way people lived. It is all about “The Standard”. What is the standard of living do we want in Tweed Shire and should have? The standard of living represents the standard of life the family has who live in that dwelling. The standard of the house lived in can represent the standard of education, job and salary, and the future of those people.
    What Tweed Shire Council are doing in 2021 is setting a standard, a standard that the way to live is set by physical health, mental health and well-being. Many countries don’t have that, such as China and India and Ethiopia. Tweed Shire Council is upping the standard of the lower classes. Yes, it means less houses.

  3. Good decision.
    MO’s aren’t the solution to the affordable housing problem. The banks won’t even loan money for a house on an MO. So that rules out most first home buyers. MO’s have just become a way for people to build housing on rural agricultural or forested land that shouldn’t have been built on in the first place. They are usually on septic, so no sewage services and usually have no rubbish collection and usually use roads that in isolated areas that can’t handle the extra traffic load and become an expense to rate payers.
    The housing problem is due to developer greed.

    Councils also don’t help, with the contributions that have to be paid by the developer to pay for the bloated pay packets of council general managers etc

    For starters, there needs to be more public housing built. Public housing acts as rent control for the rest of the rental market.

    And why doesn’t the federal govt buy land to develop housing estates to sell blocks at a cut price to first home buyers?
    The govt doesn’t need to make squillions of dollars profit, like the private developers do.

  4. I’d rather a whole bunch of small scale, eco-friendly, owner-built, off-grid houses on new MOs (*NOT* like the proposed Nightcap development) rather than the federal government buying up land to develop more low cost, ugly, cheek-by-jowl-crowded, treeless, hotbox, slums-of-the-future housing estates in the Tweed Shire, any day of the week. Anything except more housing estates. If people want to live in horrible, overcrowded suburbia, well why live in the Tweed at all, and move to a city or the Gold Coast where there are already endless miles of housing estates. It is not a suitable form of development for the Tweed. Secondary dwellings on rural properties are better, as are MOs. Public housing needs to be integrated into the existing community (and we do need a whole lot more in the TS) – and not be purpose-built in separate areas which will only develop into slums.

  5. Shame to have to throw out the baby – intentional communities sharing suitable rural land – with the filthy bathwater of the mooted utter despoilation near Nightcap NP, but with the way some greedy developer wolves in pseudo hippie clothing intend Ian to so severely trash the original MO/RLSC objectives, it’s not too surprising.

    Let’s hope council does go ahead with defining an appropriate rural land sharing model, and a more in-town affordable community housing model, based on going on 50 years of Far North Coast hinterland experience of how and how not to do it right. Lismore mostly got it right, after many years of community campaigning.

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