Tweed Shire Council (TSC) have decided to continue working on a planning proposal to prohibit caravan parks on land zoned RU2 Rural Landscape, rather than heeding a state government request to wait until finalisation of the Growth and Housing Management Strategy (GHMS).
The state government had responded to the Council’s update on Planning Proposal PP23/0003 to prohibit caravan parks in RU2 zones by saying that they were unlikely to support it in that form and they would like TSC to finalise the GHMS first. However, Tweed Mayor Chris Cherry supported the staff argument to move forward prior to the completion of the GHMS, highlighting the fact that caravan park legislation is being abused by basically creating manufactured home estates in areas where they are prohibited.
‘There is a loophole in law that allows caravan parks to have moveable dwellings, that includes manufactured homes,’ she told The Echo.
‘Caravan parks are often built in floodplains, as you assume residents won’t be there [when it floods] because they would have moved. We are very conscious that the legislation, as it stands, is allowing manufactured home estates to be built in rural locations. And at this point we’ve got no control over that.’
Cr Cherry also highlighted the importance of not building manufactured home estates in rural areas where there is no infrastructure and services.
‘It is allowing those manufactured home estates to be built under caravan parks legislation. Caravan parks traditionally offer a very affordable type of housing and we want that to continue; but until the legislation is changed we need to stop them being built in inappropriate areas.’
With 35 caravan parks in Tweed Shire, Cr Cherry said ‘that is enough for the demand that we have. Manufactured home estate houses are retailing between $900,000 and $1.1 million. You don’t own the land and still have to pay site fees forever. That is not affordable housing in anyone’s book. At the end of the day what we want is for urban parks to be located close to infrastructure, close to those services that the people who live in them need.’
The motion was carried with conservative councillor Warren Polglase voting against.