New medium-density housing code deferred across St George and Sutherland Shire

Medium density development in Caringbah South. Picture: John Veage
Medium density development in Caringbah South. Picture: John Veage

A 12 months’ reprieve from a new housing code that encourages more medium-density development will apply across St George and Sutherland Shire.

Following requests, the state government has deferred the introduction of the code for 50 councils until July 1, 2019.

The code was due to come into effect on Friday, July 6.

The deferral for Georges River Council was reported earlier by the Leader, and Sutherland Shire Council confirmed late on Friday it’s application was also successful.

Bayside Council is also reported to have won a deferment.

The new rules, designed to address what is called “the missing middle” in housing, make dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces complying development.

This means applications will not require council approval if they met government specifications.

The new code will apply only to areas where medium density development is already permitted under an LEP.

Sutherland Shire is among areas where the code will have the greatest impact because, under the 2015 LEP, medium density development is allowed in R2 low density zones in all suburbs.

A spokeswoman said, “Council requested the deferral in order to ensure future development planning considers the needs of all in our community”.

“We welcome this decision as it gives us more time to decide how this code should be applied residential zones in the Sutherland Shire,” she said.

Developer groups were alarmed by the deferrals.

“Our concern is that in those 50 councils there will be a focus on how to stop this happening,” said Chris Johnson, of Urban Taskforce told Fairfax Media.

“This is a fairly negative step I think.”

Chief executive of the Urban Development Institute of Australia, Steve Mann, said the backdown would cut medium density housing supply greatly.

People would continue to be priced out of Sydney, he said.

A spokesman for the Department of Planning and Environment said the department “has listened to councils and expects councils to proactively engage with and listen to their communities about the type of housing they need and want”.

Labor’s planning spokesman, Michael Daley, said the government had thrown the housing market into confusion and appeared to care only about winning the March 2019 election.