A NSW Government blueprint that details how Sydney will accommodate its rapidly growing population is forged around the reinvigoration of key Sydney suburbs with more choices of homes linked to improved public infrastructure and amenities.
The Plan for Growing Sydney , released on Sunday by Minister for Planning Pru Goward, is said to balance accelerating housing production with a desire for high levels of amenity and the creation of stronger and resilient communities.
Intensive housing development across the city will be matched with investment in infrastructure and services, culture and the arts, a green-grid of open spaces and renewed bushland to support healthy lifestyles and community life.
Some of the key actions of the Plan include establishing Parramatta as a major CBD for jobs and “world-class shopping and entertainment”, and renewing the area between Greater Parramatta and the Olympic Peninsula to create vibrant new neighbourhoods, including Camelia and surrounding areas.
A big focus is placed on urban renewal corridors that follow the railway lines and the encouragement of greater densities and heights at railway stations. Two new enterprise corridors are also proposed from Leppington to Badgery’s Creek, and from Bankstown to Liverpool.
Apart from building homes closer to jobs, transport community facilities and services, which means shorter commutes and more convenient lifestyles for residents, choices in location and size to better suit different lifestyles and budgets will also be offered.
Notably draft proposals (released early 2013) for high-rise apartments in the inner-east seem to have been watered down after facing significant community backlash, although the final version includes objectives to raise the height of towers in the Sydney CBD.
Detailed targets for sub regional areas have also been deleted, with new housing in designated infill areas (established urban areas) will be accelerated through 10 Priority Precincts (including North Ryde Station, Epping Town Centre, Wentworth Point, Herring Road Macquarie Park, Banksia and Arncliffe) and UrbanGrowth NSW programs.
Planning principles that will guide how Sydney grows:
1.INCREASING HOUSING CHOICE AROUND ALL CENTRES THROUGH URBAN RENEWAL IN ESTABLISHED AREAS
2.STRONGER ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN STRATEGIC CENTRES AND TRANSPORT GATEWAYS
3.CONNECTING CENTRES WITH A NETWORKED TRANSPORT SYSTEM
Altogether 59 specific actions are to be delivered, many of which will be implemented by a new independent body, the Greater Sydney Commission, over time. The Commission will establish a monitoring and reporting process to check on progress in delivering the actions outlined in the Plan, and the progress on achieving the goals.
“This is different to other plans – it is measurable, it is deliverable and there is unprecedented opportunity for the community to get involved,” said Minister Goward.
“We’ll take it step-by-step. The differences people will see will be gradual and unfold over time, but we’re getting the ball rolling with an injection of $6.5 million to start work and to establish the Greater Sydney Commission over the next six months.”
The Property Council of Australia’s NSW executive director Glenn Byres has said that while the new strategic plan is welcomed, the task ahead should not be underestimated.
“It is timely to begin a frank conversation about the need to build over 30,000 additional homes each and every year,” he said.
“In context, the housing targets are higher than current production numbers – which have the benefit of favourable market conditions, particularly sustained low interest rates.
“This is why the Greater Sydney Commission must have meaningful powers to bust through barriers and bureaucratic inertia – and sweep aside any resistance to reform.
“It will need to impose clear deadlines for translating targets and policy aspirations through sub-regional and local planning controls and ensure they are being met.”
Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson agrees, saying:
“It is almost 2 years since the draft was exhibited and hopefully the NSW government will move faster on the implementation of the next layer of the sub regional plans where actual targets are set.
“The success of the Plan for Growing Sydney will depend a lot on the makeup of the commission. It is good to see that funds have been allocated for the commission and that it will begin soon in an interim form as a Ministerial Advisory Committee. We will be keen to see who is appointed to the advisory committee and ultimately to the Greater Sydney Commission.”
Another barrier Byres has pointed to is the capturing of private investment which is needed to deliver the projects, jobs and housing required to keep pace with Sydney’s growing population.
“NSW’s antiquated planning system slows investment and project delivery, and the case for a root-and-branch overhaul of the legislation remains compelling,” he said.
A Plan for Growing Sydney will guide land use planning decisions for the next 20 years, as well as decisions that determine where people will live, work and move around the city. It is backed by the NSW Government’s four year $61 billion commitment to building better infrastructure to improve public transport, improve efficiency of freight routes, and unclog congested Sydney roads.
The Plan can be viewed HERE. You can also view what’s planned for your local area in this interactive map .
Sydneysiders are encouraged to join the conversation by using #plansydney on Twitter and Facebook.