Why are we talking about housing?

    Our population is growing and how people want to live is changing. Our existing housing stock is not as diverse as the community requires. There are shifting preferences for alternatives such as dual occupancy, apartments and town house living. Council needs to act strategically and put policies in place now to facilitate and encourage a diverse mix of housing types for the future. Local residents need a housing market that provides the right homes for their needs, preferences and delivers quality housing in centres and neighbourhoods across Sutherland Shire. 

    Why is Council preparing a Housing Strategy?

    Council is preparing a Housing Strategy so over the next 10-20 years the required types of housing become available in the desired locations to accommodate Sutherland Shire’s evolving needs.  This includes the changing needs of our existing residents and those of people who move into the area.

    Through Regional and District planning the State Government requires that all New South Wales councils prepare local housing strategies which deliver on housing targets and local considerations.  Council is now starting to develop this Strategy for Sutherland Shire. It will deliver the housing directions and actions of the Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS) which Council developed with considerable community input and adopted in 2020.

    What will the Housing Strategy influence?

    The Housing Strategy will include actions to ensure planning controls help facilitate the changes predicted and local outcomes we want. This may include changes to the Sutherland LEP (2015) and Development Control Plan (DCP) 2015. It will also highlight where infrastructure upgrades or new infrastructure should be provided to cater for change and growth.

    What are the key phases of the Housing Strategy?

    In order to meet our requirements under the South District Plan and Council’s LSPS, Council is preparing the updated Housing Strategy in two phases. The first phase was completed in 2020 and was a ‘refresh’ of Housing Strategy, 2014. 

    The second phase, the preparation of a new Housing Strategy, will focus on planning for housing over the next 10-20 years. This will inform the comprehensive review of Sutherland Shire’s Local Environmental Plan (LEP), 2015, scheduled for 2022. This work is required now as planning has a time lag of at least five years between changes to an LEP and the delivery of completed development. Community engagement is a critical part of the process.

    What are our housing targets?

    The State Government through the South District Plan has set a 5 year housing target (2016 to 2021) for each Local Government Area (LGA), as well as a 20 year target for the District. The South District comprises Sutherland Shire, Georges River and Canterbury-Bankstown LGA’s.  For Sutherland Shire, the 5 year target is 5,200 residential dwelling completions. 

    The 20 year strategic target for the South District is 83,500 dwellings. The 20 year target has not been broken down for individual LGAs in the South District. The Housing Strategy will outline Sutherland Shire’s contribution to the 20 year South District target. The South District Plan requires a housing target to be agreed between councils and the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) for the 6-10 year time period until 2026. We will work with the GSC to get final agreement on the 6-10 year housing target.

    We have had a lot development recently, why do we need more?

    There is a mismatch between supply and demand for all types of housing across Sutherland Shire. The Sutherland Shire recently experienced a construction boom for freestanding houses, dual occupancy and apartments. Despite this we have a very low vacancy rate of 1.3%, which is well below the point where housing supply and demand are balanced (3%). Projected population growth and more people living alone, particularly older people means that this imbalance will be exaggerated.

    Can existing services and infrastructure support growth?

    Managing population growth is a significant challenge, particularly with regards to the ability of the existing infrastructure network to accommodate.  This growth will include new people coming to the area as well as current residents moving out of their home into something more suitable. As part of the Housing Strategy, we will be consulting with infrastructure providers to understand any constraints and plans for local investment so we can align infrastructure and services with growth.  

    What about quality?

    Good design, local character and resident amenity are important considerations in the delivery of additional housing stock, particularly in Sutherland Shire where all housing is delivered in established neighbourhoods.  Scale, design, views, trees and landscaping are key elements of the LGA’s character. A review of the planning controls which consider these elements will also be undertaken as part of the Housing Strategy.  

    Who decides what can be built?

    Decisions about zoning or what can be built where are usually made by Council and they become policy through a local environmental plan.

    Decisions about individual developments are made by Council or the State Government depending on their size and scale.  Larger, sensitive or contentious developments are determined by planning panels.

    What happens next?

    Council will use all the feedback received to develop options and solutions to our future housing needs. We will engage our community again on these options before we complete the Housing Strategy. The Draft Housing Strategy will then be placed on public exhibition in mid 2022.