The Toowoomba Region remains well placed to supply new housing lots for at least the next five to 10 years, according to state government and Council research that was presented to a recent briefing with development industry figures and the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce in Toowoomba.
Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) Planning and Development Committee chair Cr Megan O’Hara Sullivan said attendees were updated on information that included an overview of the South East Queensland Regional Plan, (covering the Toowoomba urban area), and associated growth monitoring data from Department of Treasury statisticians and TRC planners.
“Council is confident there is no imminent shortage of zoned land for residential development. Our primary focus centres around work to establish a
Growth Plan to overcome challenges for our growing region and delivering on opportunities, especially around major job-creating projects.
“There are currently 13 separate housing estates that have additional stages being completed with some offering blocks of land for sale ‘off-the-plan’.
“Council is constantly monitoring the stock of land that is available for new housing and is ensuring there are no unnecessary delays in providing development approvals. The land that is currently being produced is spread across Toowoomba city and surrounding areas including Highfields, MtKynoch, Cotswold Hills, Torrington, Wellcamp, Glenvale, Drayton, Darling Heights and Middle Ridge.
“We have seen a significant surge in land sales for new home building over the past year driven by the uptake of state and federal government home building grants. Council is working with the development industry to meet this recent rise in demand for new home lots.
“Council expects to approve more than 450 new lots by the end of February, due to current construction efforts by existing developers.
“Moreover, longer term lots currently in early development approval stages (RALs) amount to 650 lots. These lots are expected to make it to market stage around the second half of 2022.
“Council recognises that many people are finding it hard to secure rental accommodation in Toowoomba. However, this is not a problem unique to the Toowoomba Region.
“Long-term planning and engagement with higher levels of government are critical to addressing housing rental issues being experienced by parts of our community, especially those sectors that have special housing needs or who are unable to gain a foothold in the private housing market.
“Council appreciates the input of all concerned parties and will continue to work with the development industry and the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce to address the urgent problems around availability of rental accommodation across the Region’s major urban areas.
“Council’s planners are examining various options to encourage the development industry to invest in medium density housing forms in the short term.”
Cr O’Hara Sullivan said Council was aware ofissues raised by the development industry in relation to the provision of essential urban infrastructure, land fragmentation and wider housing market factors, and had used feedback around these topics to inform options presented in the Growth Plan.
“The Toowoomba Region Futures program, which includes the Growth Plan, isdesigned to help shape growth and development in our Region for the next 30 years,”Cr O’Hara Sullivan said.
Cr O’Hara Sullivan said work to date had informed Council’s two growth options in line with community values that aimed to balance the protection of character, heritage and the natural environment with convenience, access and lifestyle.
“While both options accommodate our projected growth to 2051, each would result in slightly different settlement patterns,” she said.
“A preferred plan for managing growth is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.
“It is important for residents, business owners, the development industry and all interested parties to have their say on how our Region plans to grow over the next 30 years to accommodate an estimated 55,000 additional residents and more than 20,000 jobs across the Region.”
The next round of community consultation,Framework for our Future, will start in February 2022.