The Northern Beaches must add 11,995 dwellings over the next 15 years to meet forecast growth targets according to the draft Local Housing Strategy placed on exhibition by Northern Beaches Council.

The need for the new dwellings will be driven by an additional 22,963 people who will be calling the Northern Beaches home by 2036. But those new residents will face a shortfall of around 1,200 homes according to the strategy.

Even that shortfall relies heavily on the addition of 4,360 dwellings at Frenchs Forest as part of the NSW Government planning process. Without those homes, the projected shortfall for the Northern Beaches balloons to over 5,600 dwellings by 2036.

The impact of growth will be focused into a 1km radius from key town centres, particularly Brookvale, Dee Why and Mona Vale, followed by Manly Vale and Narrabeen. The strategy aims to add housing capacity close to existing transport, shops and amenities while maintaining the character of suburbs beyond the 1km radius from each town centre.

“This would see medium to higher density development concentrated in strategic centres and selected town centres (current and future B-Line routes), while these and other smaller centres on transport corridors would be a focus for greater housing diversity. Most streets and suburbs in the LGA will remain very much the same as today.

Priorities for renewal in the short to medium term will be centres on the existing B-Line: Brookvale, Dee Why, Mona Vale, Manly Vale and Narrabeen. Brookvale, Dee Why and Mona Vale are already strategic centres and Manly Vale and Narrabeen offer opportunities to build on their existing small-centre characteristics. Other centres on the B-Line, such as Warriewood, are not identified as a focus for renewal due to local environmental and other constraints.

With structure and employment planning studies underway, Brookvale could be the initial focus, followed by Dee Why and Mona Vale. Planning for Manly Vale and Narrabeen could follow in the medium-term,” says the strategy on page 64.

Preferred approach for medium-higher density centres

The lack of ‘feasible development capacity’ is highlighted in the strategy as a driver of the housing shortfall. While the strategy itself does not address planning controls such as height limits for buildings, it will lay the foundations for those limits.

The Mona Vale Place Plan proposed six storey limits in the centre of Mona Vale but was placed on hold in the transition to the new Council by the Administrator Dick Persson. The plan was opposed by residents who objected to proposals for six storey height limits on buildings.

According to a source knowledgeable about town planning, the renewal foreshadowed by the strategy will require increased height limits to make replacement of existing buildings in town centres like Mona Vale commercially viable.

The strategy notes that if a second, east-west B-Line is added from Dee Why to Chatswood, centres such as Forestville and Beacon Hill would become a focus for additional capacity.

Centres renewal framework

The strategy recommends adopting an approach to urban renewal called ‘Centres Renewal Framework’ that adopts three zones within 1km of a centre.

  1. Centre Core is easily accessible and a short walking distance to transport and shops. Suitable for mixed use, ground floor retail and high density (apartment) housing.
  2. Mixed housing zone is 800m-1km from centres and may be close to amenities such as parks and shops. Suitable for medium density strata-title housing such as townhouses or apartments of 2-4 storeys.
  3. Influence areas are located within a 1km walk of centres and are suitable for dual occupancies, terraces, semi-detached or manor homes.
  4. Some areas within a zone may be excluded due to heritage or environmental sensitivity.

Other town centres identified as suitable for low-medium housing density development including dual occupancies, seniors accommodation and boarding houses include Avalon, Newport, Warriewood, Terrey Hills, Belrose, Forestville, Beacon Hill, Freshwater, Balgowlah and Manly.

The Local Housing Strategy also contains sustainability objectives for renewable energy and water efficiency. The case studies included in the strategy imply that Council will be looking to impose sustainability requirements on developments with penalties for non-compliance. It also seeks to promote sustainable mobility and proposes maximum parking limits on developments to restrict the use of private vehicles.

The housing strategy also addresses the need for affordable and social housing as well as seniors living. The current shortfall of affordable housing is 8,100 dwellings, which is forecast to grow by 1,880 to almost 10,000 by 2036.

Council have placed the draft Local Housing Strategy on public exhibition until Sunday, 21 February. Submissions can be made via the Your Say website, or by emailing [email protected]

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate, Northern Beaches Council

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