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Byron Shire
April 22, 2024

Housing density study to be undertaken

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Byron Shire Council have been allocated $239,239 by the NSW Labor government to undertake an ‘urban design-based housing density study, that will examine the residential areas surrounding the Byron Bay town centre and support the delivery of 700 new homes’.

In a press release last week by Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Paul Scully, he said the funds, which have also been allocated to other councils, will help ‘speed up housing delivery’.

Accelerate housing

‘Councils will use the funds to accelerate new housing strategies, prepare infrastructure and servicing plans, and amend local environmental plans to bring forward delivery of more diverse and affordable housing supply’, he said.

Clarence Valley Council will also receive $147,000 to update its Clarence Structure Plan and Development Control Plan to support the ‘delivery of up to 1,400 new homes’.

Scully says the studies will ‘identify potential changes to current land use planning to optimise delivery of diverse and affordable housing and provide a framework to inform the preparation of future planning proposals to facilitate development’.

The Echo asked Council’s media spokesperson whether they were aware of the announcement, and they replied they were not.

Housing affordability is a major concern for many Northern Rivers residents.

Unanswered questions

Echo questions put to the minister’s office were acknowledged, yet no reply was provided by deadline.

They were: ‘Was this a request of Council, or is this directive being pushed upon residents from the state government?; can Minister Scully please affirm the government’s pre-election promise that developments will not be approved on known floodplains?; recent amendments to the housing SEPP (affordable housing) were roundly criticised by the peak body representing councils, Local Government NSW (LGNSW). Does the minister support a parliamentary inquiry into the housing SEPP to establish how affordable housing outcomes can be measured and improved?; the media release talks of “diverse and affordable housing”. Will this “diverse” housing include social and public housing?; and lastly – is the NSW government planning to expand public housing, which has seen significant declines over decades?’


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