The overarching strategy governing the Northern Beaches’ housing to 2036 has been approved by Council for submission to the NSW Government.

Preparation of a Local Housing Strategy is a State Government requirement for all councils that must address the Sydney Region Plan and North District Plan, including housing targets. It is a long-term strategy that must also align housing growth with the necessary supporting infrastructure and social services.

Mayor Michael Regan said the constraints of the peninsula meant our housing targets were low compared to other council areas and would be almost entirely met through areas already zoned for growth, for example, Dee Why and Warriewood, and in areas where growth is planned, for example, Frenchs Forest and Ingleside.

“This Local Housing Strategy recognises the pressures of our growing population but confirms that we will be able to manage this without major changes to existing zonings,” Mayor Regan said.

“The good news is that the existing LEPs of the three previous councils have already accommodated most of the target. These include existing plans for areas like Frenchs Forest and Ingleside, so in reality we only need to find a very modest 275 extra dwellings over a 20 year period.

“Where there are areas identified for further investigations, they will primarily be aiming to improve our housing mix rather than increasing heights or moving to highest density.

“Currently, freestanding houses make up approximately 57 per cent of dwellings, followed by units at 33 per cent, and semi-detached dwellings at around nine per cent.

“Our community is becoming more diverse so we need a variety of housing options connected to public spaces, transport, employment that make for great places to live, work and play.

“The Housing Strategy also aims to address our increasing affordable housing issues.

“Without improved diversity and affordability, our key workers, young people and young families will be forced to leave the area.

“We have a responsibility of ensuring everyone in the community has a safe, well-connected place to live no matter their circumstances.”

Mayor Regan said the strategy also seeks exemptions from some of the State planning codes.

“These are the ones which leave us with giant seniors’ developments or boarding houses in otherwise low-density suburban streets.

“The strategy shows we have a plan to manage our ageing and affordable housing needs within our own controls and so the code shouldn’t be applied here.”

After an extended seven-week public exhibition period garnering over 650 submissions, the Local Housing Strategy underwent several amendments.

This included a reduction in the size of our centre investigation areas around some of our Strategic Centres such as Mona Vale as well as a reduction in the size of our centre investigation areas around some of our villages like Avalon.

The strategy was also updated to clarify that there would be no increase in building heights in the Mona Vale investigation centre.

“We thank the community for their feedback and have made a number of changes to address concerns raised,” Mayor Regan said.

“Where investigation areas have been identified, there will be ongoing consultation with those communities.”

The Local Housing Strategy will be sent to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for approval in consultation with the Greater Sydney Commission.