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Transit-oriented rezoning to accommodate thousands of new NSW homes

By Juliet Helmke
08 December 2023 | 12 minute read
bankstown train station reb aac7na

Following on from the accidental release of a portion of the plans earlier in the week, the NSW government has unveiled its roadmap for rebalancing housing supply by increasing density around transit hubs.

Central to its plan is rezoning to increase density in proximity to close to 40 train stations across the state, with the bulk of those located in Sydney. Those include establishing eigh accelerated precincts and 31 locations targeted for rezoning.

The eight Sydney transport hubs identified for accelerated rezoning include Bankstown, Bays West, Bella Vista, Crows Nest, Homebush, Hornsby, Kellyville and Macquarie Park. They will all undergo rezoning within 1,200 metres of stations by November 2024 to support the delivery of 47,800 new homes in high- and mid-rise apartments over the course of 15 years.

Affordable housing held in perpetuity will make up to 15 per cent of these homes.

To speed up the delivery of the homes over the next five years, developers will be able to access a new State Significant Development pathway for proposals of $60 million or more, and construction will be required to start within two years of approval.

Moreover, 138,000 new homes are expected to be created by the snap rezoning of 31 locations across the state to make residential flat building (three or more dwellings contained within one building) permissible in all residential zonings.

Those locations are: Adamstown, Ashfield, Banksia, Berala, Booragul, Canterbury, Corrimal, Croydon, Dapto, Dulwich Hill, Gordon, Gosford, Hamilton, Killara, Kogarah, Kotara, Lidcombe, Lindfield, Marrickville, Morisset, Newcastle Interchange, North Strathfield Metro, North Wollongong, Rockdale, Roseville, St Marys Metro, Teralba, Tuggerah, Turrella, Wiley Park and Wyong.

The state has also officially announced that the Metro West project will go ahead, with the aim of using that endeavour to boost housing supply in the suburbs surrounding the forthcoming stations, which are set to be completed in 2032.

This also sees the government enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Australian Turf Club on a proposal to relocate Rosehill Racecourse and build up to 25,000 new homes, surrounded by greenspace and a new Sydney Metro West station.

The news follows on from the state’s announcement last week that it will override many local council restrictions to allow for medium- and high-density building in certain areas.

The changes will allow for dual occupancies in all R2 low-density residential zones in NSW, terraces, townhouses and two-storey apartment blocks near transport hubs and town centres in R2 zones, and mid-rise apartment blocks in R3 medium-density zones if they’re near a transport hub or town centre.

Many councils currently disallow these types of dwellings. The government has said that the new state rules will prevail, even if councils refuse to update their rules. The change will require the state to amend its environmental planning policy before coming into effect. It is encouraging councils to amend their policies in line with the state’s new guidelines in advance of this event.

In announcing these recent changes and rehashing those revealed in the past few weeks, Premier Chris Minns acknowledged that the state has woefully fallen behind in its home building, and requires a substantial effort to up its building capacity.

“Despite NSW having the largest population, the largest expected increase in population, the highest rents and the highest medium house prices, NSW is last on the east coast when it comes to housing completions,” a state release noted.

“NSW completed 48,000 new buildings in 2022. This was behind Victoria with 59,000 completions – despite our state’s higher population. The NSW Labor government also inherited development application processing times that had slowed to an average of 116 days in March 2023.”

Mr Minns described the state’s recent policy changes as a “reset” of the planning system to “bring forward and scale up housing delivery”.

“The simple truth is we don’t have enough well-located homes for the people who make up our city – and that has to change if we want our kids to be able to afford a home in Sydney and not leave for other states,” he said.

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Paul Scully, echoed his comments, stating: “We can’t continue to turn our back on the next generation of young people who are undoubtedly being hit hardest by the housing crisis.”

“The housing crisis means all levels of government and industry need to step up to our shared responsibility to get more people into homes faster and meet our collective National Housing Accord commitment,” Mr Scully added.

Transit-oriented rezoning to accommodate thousands of new NSW homes
bankstown train station reb aac7na
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Juliet Helmke

Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.

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