A new, large-scale residential community for rural Darwin is one step closer to being approved following the release of the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority’s (NT EPA) assessment report.

To be built over a period of 30 years, the Noonamah Ridge Estate project hopes to create a high-quality, predominantly residential estate, providing a range of lot sizes and typologies. The design and planning for the project demonstrates an emphasis on retaining rural character and amenity.

“The estate will be serviced by one or more local village centres, encouraging cohesion and social amenity, including the provision of land for new schools, retail facilities, community centres and land for new volunteer fire brigades,” reads a statement on the Noonamah Ridge website. “The development will aim to connect the surrounding rural area, providing the opportunity to rate a strong sense of community, and providing amenity for rural residents.”

If approved, the development – situated approximately 36 kilometres south-east of Darwin and seven kilometres east of Noonamah – would provide up to 4,200 residential lots, a new local town centre and associated services and infrastructure.

The NT EPA report has recommended this region-defining project for approval, but has also provided recommendations to address a number of risks associated with the current plan.

According to NT EPA chairman, Paul Vogel, the EPA have identified potentially significant environmental impacts and risks associated with the proposal. To address this, they have made 11 recommendations.

One of these recommendations is a Planning Scheme Amendment, which would see the development and implementation of a management framework. This would protect the significant environmental values on the site prior to implementation of the first Development Application.

“The key environmental factors considered in the report were: terrestrial flora and fauna, hydrological processes, inland water environmental quality, and social, economic and cultural surroundings,” says Vogel.

“The NT EPA considers that, provided the proposed recommendations are implemented, the proposal would be environmentally acceptable.”

The assessment report has been given to developer Intrapac Projects and the minister for environment and natural resources, Lauren Moss.