Council to consider adopting the Greater Bendigo Residential Strategy

21/10/2014 3:27 am

PrintThe Greater Bendigo Residential Strategy will be considered by Greater Bendigo Council this week.

Following extensive community consultation, including many workshops, listening posts, and an online survey, the Strategy is ready to be adopted.

The Strategy received 134 submissions, some of which were very detailed and specific, while 159 people also completed the survey.

Planning and Development Director Prue Mansfield said the consultation process helped build a picture of what residents consider to be a liveable city.

“The Residential Strategy is an example of the City undertaking research and developing initiatives that will deliver positive outcomes for our growing community and encourage diverse, affordable and sustainable housing,” Ms Mansfield said.

“The Plan provides for Bendigo’s growth to 2030 and indicates how Bendigo will grow to the middle of the century.”

Significant community views that emerged included support for a compact city, more housing choices, building 10 minute neighbourhoods where residents can walk and cycle to many of the day to day facilities they need  and retaining the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB).

“These elements are complementary to the consultant’s recommendations in the Integrated Transport and Land Use Strategy report that was released last week,” Ms Mansfield said.

The draft Strategy and submissions that proposed major re-zonings were assessed by an Independent Advisory Committee, which was largely supportive of the Strategy.

Key issues raised in submissions included:

  • Land supply – advice from the development industry is that although there appears to be a sufficient supply of land, in reality landowners are not willing to sell their land or have unrealistic price expectations. The report argues that given the current zoning of land there is 15 years’ land supply and the City needs to investigate mechanisms to bring forward the sites that are currently zoned but not available for development.
  • Urban Growth Boundary – some sectors of the development industry argued that limiting the outward growth of Bendigo places upward pressure on housing prices. The report states Bendigo has one of the most affordable housing markets in regional Victoria and the UGB will have to be expanded in time under a managed and planned process, but until 2024 the focus should be on growth within the existing boundary.
  • Golf courses – having considered the submissions received regarding the Quarry Hill Golf Course, the Strategy recommends that it be removed as an ‘Investigation Area’, however if a time comes when it is no longer a golf course then it should be residential and open space. Two submitters also supported the former Eaglehawk Golf Course being included in the urban growth area. The Strategy recommended the site be formally recognised for its longer term potential and remain outside the UGB for now.
  • Big Hill and Ravenswood – this area has had a long planning history. A recent Landscape Assessment of the Big Hill and Mandurang areas recommended a Significant Landscape Overlay be applied to both areas. Many consider this area to be the gateway to the Bendigo urban area and the Strategy recommends against development in this area.
  • Environment – the natural environment is seen as a defining and unique characteristic of Greater Bendigo and contributes to the region’s liveability. A number of submissions supported the environmental direction taken in the strategy.

“Should Council adopt the revised Strategy, this will trigger the commencement of a planning scheme amendment process and will ensure the implementation of the Strategy”, said Ms Mansfield.

“The Strategy also includes Council undertaking a regular audit of housing and land supply and the preparation of a Housing Strategy, which is a State Government requirement to assist in the implementation of the new residential zones.

“The Housing Strategy would be developed in house by City staff, as much of the work has already been done. It would then be used to identify the diversity of housing needed, assist in developing key sites within the UGB and identify the longer term direction for residential growth to accommodate 200,000 people in the future.”