A flurry of apartment development in and around Goulburn’s CBD is fueling a recommendation to open up more land for inner city living.
A development application has been approved for 10 units on the former Haines garage site in Grafton Street, next to the Exchange Hotel. Nearby, architect Tim Lee has also lodged a DA for two townhouses and a commercial space on the corner of Fenwick Crescent and Bradley Street.
Apartment construction is also well underway on the former Marian College site in Clinton Street. Down the road, near the Woolworths entry another unit development is being planned.
A draft Urban and Fringe Housing Strategy commissioned by the council has recommended changes to planning laws to encourage such multi-unit projects and infill within 400 metres of Goulburn’s CBD. It also suggests that a planning proposal be prepared to support a mixed use residential development at 31-33 Goldsmith Street, the site of a partially demolished stone building. This would be subject to an economic impact and heritage assessment.
“The demand is there,” council general manager Warwick Bennett said of inner city living generally.
“We just have to strike a balance between what developers want, how to protect heritage, what will sell and what is acceptable to the community. I don’t believe, for example, they’ll accept a 30-storey building.”
The recommendation is just one aspect of a wider housing strategy on public exhibition.
The draft document prepared by Elton Consulting predicts the need for 2636 more houses in the period 2016 to 2036 for Goulburn and 3359 across Goulburn Mulwaree. The population is forecast to increase by 6098 to 28,938 for Goulburn during that time and to 37,202 across the council area.
The authors examined demography, planning policies, constraints and land suitability, housing character of particular areas and made recommendations.
“It has established that the current available supply will not meet the anticipated demand both in terms of housing type and location,” a recent planners’ report to councillors stated.
The consultants said Goulburn and Marulan had enough residentially zoned land available for immediate needs. However Goulburn was set to exhaust its greenfield stocks in the next two to five years if current development trends continued.
Goulburn has 13,739 dwellings. The city’s north supplies most of the bulk housing and approvals are in place for some 500 additional lots at Marys Mount.
“At present, residentially zoned land is being developed at an average 8.5 dwellings per hectare. If this trend is continued, Goulburn will require around 400 hectares of residential land to meet the required demand by 2036,” the draft strategy states.
It recommends an area north of Marys Mount Road be further explored for urban expansion, saying it’s devoid of major constraints such as flooding, has minimal biodiversity features and connects “seamlessly” to Marys Mount. The 320 hectare area could accommodate 2750 homes, based on R2 zoning and minimum 700 square metre blocks.
The development front would generally stretch from Middle Arm Road to Crookwell Road. An area west of Crookwell Road is also suggested for further housing development.
The consultants said increasing housing density in the CBD and possibly increasing the height limit could open up more affordable opportunities. An additional 250 dwellings could be provided through urban infill and intensification.
“The existing urban areas within the heritage conservation area and the land surrounding Hume Street should be prioritised,” the study stated.
“...These area provide high levels of access and support a walkable catchment to the CBD and services.”
But the authors also recommended further studies into the height limit and heritage impact. They noted that the number of approvals for redevelopment of existing land in Goulburn had increased from 15 in 2014/15 to 75 in 2017/18. These were generally for smaller houses on large blocks in the urban area.
Meantime, Marulan is also tipped to grow as a housing front.
“If an assumed 500 dwellings are required to meet the estimated demand, around 60ha of residential zoned land are required. Marulan currently has around 50ha of undeveloped residential land,” the strategy found.
Mr Bennett said it was important people understood the strategy’s implications and how it could affect rural/residential land, quarter acre blocks and the inner city, among other aspects.
“As part of the consultation we’ll talk to landowners who are ready to develop. There will be no need to rezone land if they have no intention of developing it,” he said.
He described the housing strategy as a high priority, especially as several developers had been awaiting its completion. Mr Bennett hoped it could be adopted by June.
A hard copy is available for viewing at the council chambers. It can also be viewed on the council’s website. Public submissions close on February 22.
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