What do you want your neighbourhood to look and feel like over the next 10-20 years? This is one of the questions Byron Shire Council is asking its residents as part of the development of its Residential Strategy.
The Byron Shire Residential Strategy will provide a framework to guide future housing in our neighbourhoods, villages and towns and the community is invited to get involved in the first stage of this project – Shaping our Neighbourhoods.
The Strategy estimates that by 2036 an additional 6,000 people will be living in the Byron Shire and Council’s job is to plan for where they will live.
“When you think of 6,000 people to put it in perspective, this is about the number of people who currently live in Ocean Shores,” Shannon Burt, Director Sustainable Economy and Environment, said.
“While there may be some new residential land releases around the Shire, many of these people will most likely live in our existing towns and villages in various forms of ‘infill’ housing.
“This could mean more granny flats or replacing a single house with units or townhouses, so both Council and the community need to start thinking about what they want ‘infill’ development to look like,” she said.
“If done well, infill housing in areas that are close to grocery stores, schools, doctors and work can reduce the cost of living for residents moving into these new homes.
“It can also deliver greater housing choices and provide opportunities for residents to remain longer in their neighbourhood and local community,” Ms Burt said.
The draft Byron Residential Strategy is an important starting point for how Council’s plans for future infill.
One of the Strategy aims is to capture what makes one neighbourhood distinctive from another in the way it ‘looks and feels’ to residents.
This will take the form of residential character narratives to describe what makes somewhere like Mullumbimby different to Bangalow, Ocean Shores, Byron Bay or Brunswick Heads.
Staff have already prepared draft character narratives based on discussions with community groups and Council is now looking for wider feedback from the community, as part of the Shaping our Neighbourhoods project.
“The residential character narratives are significant because they will inform what design guidelines and planning controls should apply to future infill development,” Ms Burt said.
“This will become more important when applied to the NSW Government’s Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code which, when effective in the Byron Shire, will fast track the assessment process for infill housing.
“This is why it is important to hear from as many people as possible so we can develop clear planning guidelines that reflect our community’s expectations for the future charter of their residential neighbourhoods,” Mr Burt said.