Growing tree-changers impact future of housing

The vision of the housing in the Upper Lachlan Shire could include townhouses, a reduction in block sizes, an increase in independent housing for the ageing population, and hamlet-style residential living.

A community consultation meeting was held in Crookwell with Deb Sutherland, a senior town planning specialist at Cardno, and Viv Straw, the Upper Lachlan Shire's manager of environment and planning, on Tuesday April 17.

By July 1 in 2020, the local government will have to update the Local Environmental Plan (LEP).

By July 1 in 2020, the local government will have to update the Local Environmental Plan (LEP).

By July 1 in 2020, the local government will have to update the Local Environmental Plan (LEP). The current LEP is a "simplified document" and "needs to be tailored," Ms Sutherland said.

Medium-density housing for townhouses and villas is permissible in the LEP under R2 zoning. However, medium-density lots are well below the average in Crookwell.

In Sydney, lot sizes are 250m2, while in Crookwell the minimum lot size is 800m2, within the R2 zoning. This can inhibit developers seeking a standard subdivision. Strata and community title subdivisions have a reduced size of 400m2.

In the villages, the size of blocks varies from 1000m2 to 2000m2 and can depend upon connection to services. Lot sizes in Collector require sufficient land for on-site wastewater, for example.

The Southern Tablelands Regional Community Strategic Plan 2016-36 showed that population growth increased by 9.6 per cent in the Upper Lachlan Shire.

"In the next 10 to 20 years it's an ever-increasing phenomenon to counter urbanisations," Ms Sutherland said. "People are leaving the city for a tree change and to escape the traffic, noise, and overcrowding."

The State Government had also put the brakes on priority planning precincts in Sydney: "Sydney [house] prices are crashing and Crookwell is going up."

Hamlet-style or environmental cluster rural residential housing would preserve view corridors and the countryside aesthetic: "These are how you bleed into the countryside on the edges of a town and village."

While capitilising on the tourism economy, these hamlets could include farm stays, farm-gate sales, and vineyard attractions: "There is a place for protecting the agricultural land ... trees or environmental issues."