Planning (Matt)ers: How the Draft Local Planning Scheme is Helping to Address Housing Availability

Planning (Matt)ers: How the Draft Local Planning Scheme is Helping to Address Housing Availability Matt Cuthbert , Manager of Planning and Regulatory Services and Matt Slocomb, Coordinator of Planning Services

Welcome to Planning (Matt)ers

Shire planners Matt Cuthbert and Matt Slocomb bring you 'Planning (Matt)ers', a series exploring the significant changes proposed in the Draft Local Planning Scheme, now open for public comment. 

This week, the Matts are discussing housing availability. 

Most of us are well aware that housing availability continues to present problems across the Shire and throughout the State.
The reasons for this are varied and complex however the Shire’s strong population growth which jumped from 14,687 to 16,791 between 2016 and 2021 is most certainly a local factor.
Forward planning for population growth by the Shire has provided an adequate supply of land, however the increased demand for housing doesn’t necessarily lead to an immediate increase in housing supply.
Manager of Planning and Regulatory Services, Matt Cuthbert, said while there is a financial incentive for developers to build in the Shire, land development takes time.  
“Subdivisional works can only generally occur in the dry months and there’s only so many tradies available to build houses,” Matt said.
“We know housing availability is a real issue for the hospitality and viticultural sectors with their staff struggling to find accommodation.
“Even more so for people on low incomes who have less capacity to be able to cope with constant rent increases.”
Whilst the planning system cannot solve the current difficulties alone, a number of changes being made to the Local Planning Scheme aim to make a tangible difference to housing availability in the Shire.
Coordinator of Planning Services, Matt Slocomb, said housing was an area of focus during the review of the Local Planning Scheme. 
“The draft Scheme increases density codes in some areas which will allow landowners to increase the number of houses they can build on their land,” Matt said. 
“Generally, the houses would be smaller in size and would make ideal low-cost rental properties.”
“The areas we have selected are nice and close to the Margaret River town centre and importantly, we received a great reaction from landowners when we discussed the idea with them.”
Other measures include increasing the allowable size for new granny flats to allow older residents to ‘stay on farm’ in rural areas.
To find out more about the Draft Local Planning Scheme and how you can provide your feedback please visit our Your Say page.
04 Dec 2023 Topic Type
General News
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