Station-centric housing plans ‘appear half-cooked’

Secrecy continues to surround a “half-cooked” train-centric housing program set to put thousands of new homes across 30 NSW communities.

The program, aiming to increase density around new and existing stations over four years, was partially leaked this week before its listing on a government website was taken offline.

Eight of the 31 station areas will be targeted for master-planned town centres covering a radius of 1200 metres, delivering 45,000 homes.

But only three of those zones surround stations on the $45 billion Metro City and Southwest and Metro West projects.

In a scathing assessment, the Property Council said the plan lacked ambition and logic and would need major changes to have any chance of resolving the housing crisis.

“The draft policy appears half-cooked,” NSW executive director Katie Stevenson said.

“The government needs to explain why some areas with heritage constraints are included, while others are not, and why some new metro stations have been included and not others.

“Otherwise, it looks more like a planning map based on politics, not policy.”

The opposition joined in the call for more detail including how schools, hospitals, road infrastructure and other services would be integrated into the areas.

“Because without them, this housing simply won’t stack up,” housing spokesman Scott Farlow told reporters on Wednesday.

Nearly half of the 31 tier-two station zones, where more multi-storey complexes would be permitted within a 400-metre radius, were affected by heritage conservation areas, he said.

One station area destined for change, Teralba on Newcastle’s outskirts, was last year described as a “time capsule” by the local mayor as its 19th-century mining and railway history was protected.

“So the government’s priorities may not deliver the housing that they intend,” Mr Farlow said.

“The government’s got to come forward and tell us what they’re going to do to be able to deliver housing and also preserve our heritage.”

The leaked plan states the 31 station precincts in Sydney, Wollongong, the Central Coast and Newcastle would be rezoned in November next year.

Construction would begin in January 2026 with dwellings occupied by late 2027.

It remains unclear whether the transit-oriented plan overlaps with another density-boosting proposal revealed last week the government says would deliver 112,000 homes in five years.

The Minns government on Wednesday declined to answer questions on the transit-oriented development plans, which it cast as drafts.

“We won’t comment on draft proposals,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

“However, we’ve been very clear about our plans for housing – we want more housing, around transport hubs and closer to where people work.

“The government will make an announcement when we’re ready.”


Luke Costin
(Australian Associated Press)


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