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Byron Shire
February 9, 2023

Will Tweed Council remove final option for RLSC in Tweed Shire?

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At its upcoming Council meeting, the Tweed Shire Council (TSC) is seeking to remove the option of Rural Land Sharing Communities (RLSC) which includes multiple occupancies (MO) and community title (CT) through an amendment to the State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP) 2019.

The TSC has already removed RLSC from the Tweed Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2000, and the Tweed Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2014. They voted to remove RLSC from the SEPP in March this year which was followed by public exhibition of the planning proposal (PP21/0001). If they approve the removal from the SEPP then there will be no basis on which future RLSC can be developed in Tweed Shire, however existing RLSC will continue.

‘The intention of the planning proposal is to protect the rights of existing lawful RLSCs and prohibit any future such development,’ says the report summary submitted for the upcoming meeting on 5 August.

Thirty-three submissions were received from ‘a range of perspectives’ with the majority in support of the removal of RLSCs.

‘Comments were also received in support of the need for affordable housing and smaller scale RLSCs for the purpose of providing additional housing for extended family, workers or for rental purposes,’ states the report.

‘RLSCs were originally recognised in State planning policies as a means of providing low cost dwellings and an environmentally sensitive approach to communal based rural settlement… Over time the emphasis on communal low cost living and the public’s development expectations have change considerably, with anecdotal evidence emerging through development applications (DA) showing contemporary expectations toward more traditional residential housing and settlement patterns akin to regular subdivision design; a trend that has significantly impacted the low-cost housing principle and communal-design and the argument in support of retaining their planning permissibility on these basis.’

Draft sub-division for Nightcap Village DA proposal.

Original intentions changed

This pattern has been seen in the failed Bhula Bhula intentional community and the current DA for the contentious $39m Tweed Nightcap Village MO that is going before the Northern Rivers Planning Panel (NRPP).

During the March debate it was highlighted that ‘the MO structure allowed housing development in areas that were rural where higher density housing was not supported’.

The report highlights that ‘Council’s challenge going forward is how best to address the broad spectrum of housing pressures in a strategic, coordinated, and deliberate way that takes account of the many competing land-use pressures in a way that benefits the Shire holistically and as sustainably as can reasonably be achieved within the planning framework.

‘To achieve this Council must avoid facilitating the use of planning permissibility, such as RLSCs, by curtailing their availability when it is apparent their objectives are no longer being genuinely pursued and delivered, but have become more akin to a misapplication of their intended purpose.

‘ Additional rural dwellings randomly located in rural areas is not considered to be a solution to provision of low cost accommodation for disadvantaged persons in need of ready access to public transport, services and facilities.’

You can attend the meeting online this Thursday at 5.30pm here.

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