Numerous Sydney areas rezoned to allow for higher density developments

Numerous Sydney areas rezoned to allow for higher density developments
Numerous Sydney areas rezoned to allow for higher density developments

Multi-storey residential towers will be built in many parts of Sydney as numerous areas are being rezoned to allow for higher density development.

But development proposals are likely to face community opposition as residents resist changes they expect to increase traffic congestion and restrict access to amenities such as schools.

Three new areas along the future North West Rail Link in Sydney’s Hills district were announced by NSW Minister for Planning Pru Goward in August as Urban Activation Precincts.

These precincts will be rezoned to help NSW state government deliver on its policy to “substantially increase the supply of housing and employment, and improve housing choice and affordability”.

One of NSW government’s aims is to boost the supply of housing in areas with good access to infrastructure, particularly transport, to accommodate Sydney’s expanding population.

Forecasts suggest the city’s population will swell by more than 1.6 million people by 2031, requiring around 664,000 more homes, according to NSW government. As part of that anticipated expansion, the population in Sydney’s Hills district is predicted to swell by 100,000 people.

The Urban Activation Precincts around train stations being built along the $8.3 billion rail link at Bella Vista, Kellyville and Showground are expected to provide up to 12,000 homes, including townhouses, detached homes and apartments.

The Minister for Planning has allocated $15 million to the three areas for local infrastructure. Local communities will decide how the funds are allocated.

The announcement received mixed responses from Hills residents who took to Facebook to air their views. Some support the changes while others complained of over-development and worsening traffic problems.

Hills Shire Mayor Dr Michelle Byrne said Council had debated where the forecast population growth could be accommodated.

“We need increased densities around town centres and transport hubs so that the rest of Shire can be preserved as single-lot housing,” he said in a statement.

More broadly along the North West Rail Link corridor, 28,800 new homes are expected to go up by 2036.

The three locations in the Hills add to eight areas already identified as Urban Activation Precincts elsewhere in Sydney at North Ryde Station; Epping Town Centre; Herring Road, Macquarie Park; Randwick; Anzac Parade South; Carter Street, Lidcombe; Wentworth Point; and Mascot Station. Higher density development will be encouraged in each of these locations.

The Urban Taskforce is calling for even higher density than what has been suggested in the Hills’ Urban Activation Precincts.

“The proposed 12,000 new homes around three stations is a good start but more housing needs to be planned for,” Urban Taskforce chief executive Chris Johnson says.

The three new areas will need to incorporate residential towers in the mixed-use and high-density residential areas, he says.

“Taller buildings can help with affordability particularly if apartment sizes are kept to state government standards,” Johnson says. “The Urban Taskforce is concerned that the Draft Development Control Plan by the Hills Shire Council proposes apartment sizes well in excess of the state’s sizes and that this will make each apartment more expensive.”

Strong growth in capital values in the Sydney metropolitan area have contributed to a high volume of apartments being planned for development or under construction, according to Knight Frank Residential Research’s Sydney Apartment Market Update, released last week.

The market update reveals Sydney property values have been increasing by 12.15% annually to a median of $549,000, says Knight Frank Residential Research associate director Michelle Ciesielski. Rents have remained stable at $520 per week, with rental yields estimated at 4.95%.

Ciesielski says there are 26,680 apartments in metropolitan Sydney due for completion over the next three years. Almost 10,000 of these will be in the city’s North West including Parramatta, Macquarie Park, Sydney Olympic Park, Wentworth Park and Epping.

But extra development often meets with opposition, particularly in areas that have traditionally had few or no high-rise apartment buildings.

In Lewisham in Sydney’s inner west, for example, developers have faced battles since 2005 with local residents who are against proposals to build multi-storey residential towers at a site on Old Canterbury road near the Lewisham railway station and light rail corridor.

Several development applications have been knocked back and local residents formed action groups to block the development.

The site was sold to Meriton in 2012 for around $50 million and approvals have been now given for work to begin on the site. Meriton’s latest proposals include seven multi-storey buildings between four and 10 storeys tall containing 314 dwellings over two levels of basement car parking plus 128 square metres of retail space. These plans are going through Marrickville Council’s development application processes.

Zoe Fielding

Zoe Fielding

I am a freelance journalist and editor with more than 15 years experience specialising in personal finance, property, financial services and financial technology. A skilled writer and researcher, I have extensive experience producing high quality content for corporate and media clients. I am used to working to tight deadlines and tailoring the pieces I produce to suit a variety of audiences and formats.

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