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September 26, 2023

DPE rejects Tweed Council’s Kingscliff Locality Plan

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Kingscliff. KRPA

Concerns have been raised over this afternoon’s Tweed Shire Council (TSC) meeting where two Gateway Determination rejections from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) are under discussion. 

Kingscliff Locality Plan

The first proposal that was rejected by the DPE was the ‘planning proposal to give effect to the Kingscliff Locality Plan and Tweed Development Control Plan Section B 26 – Kingscliff (DCP) by amending certain land use zoning nominations and maximum building height development standards under the Tweed Local Environmental Plan 2014 (Tweed LEP)’.

The DPE had also highlighted the fact that ‘the outcomes of Council’s current Growth Management and Housing Strategy (GMHS) process, and flood planning work, are unknown’.

The KLP, DCP and LEP amendments proposed by the TSC had been put forward after extensive community consultation and sought to ‘to effectively manage building heights and the character and amenity of Kingscliff’, said Lindy Smith from the Tweed Ratepayers’ Association president.

The red soils of the Cudgen plateau are too precious to be subdivided, say Labor and local opponents of the new Tweed Hospital site. Photo Tweed Shire Council

‘Of real concern with the departments rejection is the door being left open for developments such as the Cudgen Connection proposal on the Cudgen Plateau’s State Significant Farmland (SSF) adjoining the new hospital which is referenced in the report.

‘The rush of changes to NSW planning in the lead up to the State election saw rezoning programs which enabled landholders to go to the government in closed secrecy with development wish lists.’

Responding to the DPE’s rejection the staff have recommended that they proceed with the development of the GMHS that will look to meet projected housing and employment land needs in the Tweed Shire over the next 20 years.

‘In the meantime, this report recommends deferring any planning proposal of a kind, land or land-use, that is likely to be investigated in the preparation of the GMHS.’ s

Caravan parks in rural zones

The second rejected planning proposal was in relation to prohibiting caravan parks on rural lands (RU2) within the LEP. The council had raised concerns over the role that traditional caravan parks and mobile home parks have long provided a level of housing affordability none-existent in other forms of private market’ was being eroded. 

They point out in their report that, ‘Tweed currently has 35 active caravan parks with some 4% of its population now residing in these parks. Fewer and fewer are being utilised for tourism. Many caravan parks are progressively being converted into boutique ‘manufactured home estates’ to a standard of design traditionally reserved to the most soughtafter and affluent housing estates.’ 

The report further states that ‘The regulation of caravan parks and manufactured home estates is outdated and resulting in perverse planning outcomes, regular housing by any other standard, that is not only unaffordable to lower income households but in many cases is sterilising the affordability that presently exists as well as potentially eroding the rural landscape and regional character of the Tweed. The loophole in the Government’s planning system is actively contributing to unplanned and poorly located de-facto housing estates with potentially significant financial impacts for councils servicing these sites and is adding unnecessarily to the fracturing of communities.’

The recommendation from staff is that the TSC continues to work on the ‘planning proposal to prohibit caravan parks on land zoned RU2 Rural Landscape’ as well as detailing the issues they have with the current state planning system. 

Review needed

‘The raft of changes made to the State Planning Act over the recent years requires urgent review,’ Ms Smith told The Echo

‘This is  particularly relevant to the gaping holes that enable real misuse of, and decisions made, overriding local planning tools and community vision that has no local connection and local on-ground knowledge.’

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