Hawkesbury Council keen to have its housing plans heard

To build or not to build: Hawkesbury Council will seek to have the State Government lift its ban on detached dual occupancies and secondary dwellings on rural properties in the area. Picture: Geoff Jones
To build or not to build: Hawkesbury Council will seek to have the State Government lift its ban on detached dual occupancies and secondary dwellings on rural properties in the area. Picture: Geoff Jones

Hawkesbury Council hopes a renewed discussion with the State Government will lead to the lifting of a blanket ban on detached dual occupancy and secondary dwellings on rural lands.

On several occasions the council has sought to have the Hawkesbury Local Environmental Plan 2012 amended to allow such developments and each time it has been denied.

The fresh call is part of council's submission to the government's "A Housing Strategy for NSW" discussion paper, which was approved by council during Tuesday's open meeting.

The government paper, released in May, aims to set out a plan that responds to changing housing needs across the state for the next 20 years and beyond.

In its submission to the Planning, Industry and Environment Department, council highlights a number of issues with reference to housing including, flooding, diversity of types, a need to have resilient housing, the needs of an ageing population, impacts on agricultural lands, housing affordability and housing targets.

Councillor Danielle Wheeler applauded council's submission, saying it provided "evidence-based" detail.

She was also pleased it showed the council was not closed to development within the area, but rather favoured "the right housing in the right place".

While also supporting the submission, Councillor Nathan Zamprogno called on the council to "beef up" its wording regarding detached dual occupancy and secondary dwellings on rural lands.

However, some councillors felt that it would suggest the council would "blanket support" such developments, rather than a considered case by case approach.

Under its current LEP, detached dual occupancy and secondary dwellings are permissible within some residential areas of the Hawkesbury, including Richmond and Windsor, providing they meet certain planning criteria.

Attached dual occupancy is allowed on rural lands, however, that means the second dwelling must be attached to the original structure under the main roofline.

In the past, the government has cited flooding evacuation as a primary reason for refusing separate dwellings on rural land.

Mayor, Councillor Barry Calvert said there was a need for the government to consider providing more public, as opposed to social, housing, reflective the economy of the time.

He said that in tough economic times there was a greater need for public housing and this should be incorporated into the government strategy.

Deputy Mayor, Mary Lyons-Buckett said she favoured council's submission, which highlighted the fact that "we're not a one-size fits all place".

Once it has assessed submissions, the government is expected to furnish its definitive long-term NSW Housing Strategy.