The property boom in the city of Ryde is putting high pressure on local infrastructure, which means the area needs time to catch up, Planning Minister Anthony Roberts says.
“We’ve seen a huge increase in the amount of dwellings in parts of Sydney,” Mr Roberts said.
“And what we’re concerned about is where councils together with the previous government have zoned large tracts of land for high rise and we haven’t seen the infrastructure meeting the needs.
“Not just roads, we’re talking about schools, hospitals, police, fire and ambulance.”
A new low rise, medium density housing code which fast tracks the building of terraces on properties in Ryde and the City of Canterbury has also been paused, even though it was only introduced last month.
The code was due to begin across the state in July this year, but the NSW government has offered to delay the laws in both Ryde and Canterbury-Bankstown councils until 2020 because of an “anomaly” in the application of the laws.
“With the medium density housing code, that only allows medium density to occur where it’s currently permitted by councils and this is where we have an anomaly,” Mr Roberts said.
“For example 55 per cent of Ryde’s LGA says that medium density is permissible. I think that that is out of step with community expectations.”
Ryde Council is expected to vote on whether they will accept the State government’s offer to defer the laws sometime next week.
‘Where will people send their kids or go to hospital’?
“The policies they were bringing down on us, forcing upon us, we were going to have manor homes and blocks of units on residential blocks that would never be part of our current controls.”
Canterbury-Bankstown Council, the biggest in NSW, has a target of 50,000 new homes to be delivered over the next 20 years, set by the state government.
Canterbury-Bankstown mayor Khal Asfour welcomed the move, saying the policy would change the way the suburbs look and feel.
“What concerns me is that these targets are unrealistic and they don’t come with an infrastructure plan,” Mr Asfour said.
“We don’t know … where our people are going to send their kids or go to a hospital, because there’s no infrastructure plan that’s been made public.
“And we need to know where they’re going if we’re going to accommodate all these people.”
More houses the answer to affordability: Berejiklian
This decision follows a recent recommendation by the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) which found some councils were facing “pressure” in the wake of increased residential developments.
According to the GSC’s findings, of the 7,500 new dwellings built since 2007 in Ryde:
- 73 per cent were by the council
- 24 per cent by the former Labor government
- 3 per cent by the current government
Last year, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the biggest challenge facing people in NSW was housing affordability.
“I think the first and biggest challenge in Sydney, in New South Wales, with housing affordability is still supply,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“We just don’t have enough new homes coming onto the market quickly enough to meet demand.”
And Mr Roberts said the government delivered on its plan to increase supply.
“We’ve worked very hard and I think we’ve achieved that,” he said.
“But in some areas we’ve got to make sure that the infrastructure keeps up with housing supply and that’s what we’re doing right here.”
The Ryde council welcomed the government’s pause on the medium density housing code, but warned the measure did not go far enough.
Mayor Jerome Laxale said it wanted a permanent ban — not just one for a year.
“We’ve been hit hard by state government priority precincts and overdevelopment over the last decade, and we said to the Minister for Planning enough was enough for the Ryde area,” he said
The opposition said the government’s move was not about halting over development but rather trying to save Liberal MP Victor Dominello from losing his seat at next year’s state election.
“What will [NSW Premier] Gladys Berejiklian now say to communities all across Sydney who are saying we’re suffering from overdevelopment as well and we need infrastructure,” opposition planning spokesman Michael Daley said.
“Will the Premier grant moratoriums on development in areas all across Sydney or is this just special treatment for Victor Dominello to get him through the next election?”