Camden Council investigate restrictions on secondary dwellings

A Google Earth shot of Menangle village with the trees, backyards and lifestyle you would expect 70km from Sydney – with a shot of the new estates.
A Google Earth shot of Menangle village with the trees, backyards and lifestyle you would expect 70km from Sydney – with a shot of the new estates.

Concerns about “over-crowding” in Camden’s new suburbs may soon result in the banning of granny flats and studios on small blocks.

Council staff have recommended the Local Environment Plan be updated to ensure “secondary dwellings” cannot be built on any residential blocks less than 450sqm.

Councillor Cindy Cagney praised the recommendation at last week’s council meeting.

Cr Cagney said people had the right to privacy in their own homes.

“When I was younger purchasing my first home we had a big backyard with a swingset, a trampoline, a pool and room for the kids to run around, you just don’t see that very much anymore,” she said.

“There is no sense of privacy – people are seeing into their neighbours’ homes and backyards and it’s creating over-crowding.”

However some local developers are furious and believe such restrictions would reduce housing options.

AV Jennings representative Andrew Gallagher addressed the council on behalf of some of the region’s biggest developers including Mirvac and the Cornish Group to condemn the recommendation.

He said suburbs such as Elderslie, Spring Farm and Gregory Hills were in the process of being developed and should be excluded from the 450sqm limit.

“It will restrict our ability to provide affordable housing,” he said.

“The impact of this goes beyond financial loss, it strikes at the heart of housing affordability.”

However Cr Cagney said minimum block size restrictions were overdue.

“The millions of dollars developers have made, are making and will continue to make out of this area, flies in the face of housing affordability,” she said.

“For developers not to consider 450sqm as a reasonable minimum on dual occupancy properties makes them seem unreasonable.

“Developers decide how much to charge for blocks, so they set the affordability.”

Councillors deferred making a decision on the recommendation until they could attend a workshop outlining all potential ramifications.

The workshop will be held in the new year.

Cr Cagney said having a sense of privacy at home was also an important health issue.

“There are links between lack of light, fresh air and privacy to things like depression,” she said.

“Things like over-shadowing and noise will also take their toll on you over time.

“Parking and pedestrian activity is also an issue particularly in the newer suburbs with smaller streets.”

The Advertiser has reached out to other councillors for comment.

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