In December 2018, we provided an update on the outcomes of BCC’s consultation for the ‘Plan your Brisbane’ initiative. BCC believe the community expressed a desire to preserve the character of the Low Density Residential (LDR) Zone, which was subsequently reflected in ‘Brisbane’s Futures Blueprint’ strategy document. Peak industry bodies including HIA and PIA believe this was an oversimplification. Further the public has not been educated in performance-based planning and still discuss rezonings and relaxations even though these terms have been obsolete since 1987.
BCC is proposing changes to the City Plan 2014 to effectively prohibit development of townhouses and apartments in Low Density Residential (LDR) zone intended primarily, but not exclusively, for single dwelling houses since 1978. Since then existing provisions allowed townhouses and apartments on sites within the LDR Zone with areas of 3,000m² or more, or within specific precincts of Neighbourhood Plans. The proposed amendments remove this development potential.
These proposed changes have now progressed through the first Queensland Government review and are a step closer to reality, with the Major Amendment Package H currently under public consultation. We urge extreme caution when considering development options in the LDR Zone, given the advanced state of the proposed amendments and political mandate to see it through to reality. More information is available here.
It is evident that the proposed amendments will constrain the ability of Brisbane to satisfy Regional housing supply targets into the future, with a consequential decrease in housing choice, upward pressure on prices and worsening of affordability as the Region’s population swells. Our experience suggests that the areas BCC identifies for new freehold lots are in fragmented ownership and are often highly constrained.
The impacts of the changes are far from limited to the younger generation seeking to gain a foothold in the housing market. Rather, in times with escalating costs of living, low wage growth, longer lifespans, stretched superannuation savings and changing household compositions, there is truly potential for an inter-generational impact through the full spectrum of society from young families to empty-nesters and retirees looking for town house options within their neighbourhood.
We strongly suggest that the existing scheme provisions need not be changed to ensure that appropriate development occurs in suitable settings throughout the City. But rather, a critical examination and recalibration of the way the provisions of the Planning Scheme are applied and decision-making processes of Council that include townhouses being close to public transport, existing infrastructure and services and amenities.
Submissions are able to be made until 26 August 2019 and can be made online here.
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