A submission to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment on the draft Hunter Regional Plan 2041 has been endorsed by MidCoast Council councillors.
The draft plan sets the strategic land use framework for the continued economic transformation of the Hunter to make it one the most liveable regions in NSW.
The plan was recently placed on public exhibition by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.
In the making the submission, MidCoast Council congratulated the department on many of the opportunities presented in the plan but also raised key areas of concern in relation to future planning for the Mid-Coast region.
"In particular, the density requirements outlined in the draft plan would have a significant impact on the character of our coastal and rural towns and villages," MidCoast Council mayor, Claire Pontin said.
"This is directly opposed to what our communities tell us about how they wish to see the Mid-Coast develop and how council has been heading," Cr Pontin said.
"A significant increase in housing density would be needed to achieve the rate in the draft plan.
"Based on recent consultation on our housing strategy, we know that such an increase in residential density would be a key community concern."
This is directly opposed to what our communities tell us about how they wish to see the Mid-Coast develop and how council has been heading.- MidCoast Council mayor, Claire Pontin
The submission also raised the important issues of housing availability and affordability.
"With many people wanting to move to our area property prices have increased, reducing housing affordability and availability for locals, resulting in increased homelessness.
"Additionally, people being offered jobs in our region are turning them down due to lack of housing."
Cr Pontin said that in the Mid-Coast housing availability was being addressed by progressing urban release areas.
There was a desire for the draft regional plan to support this rather than impose higher density requirements that were not considered appropriate in our area, she said.
The key concepts outlined in the draft plan include:
The full submission can be found at www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/hunterdensityplan
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