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Inner West Independent

New ideas for building the inner west

There is a renewed focus on the development mix in Sydney’s inner suburbs as battles loom over higher-density housing.

The Grattan Institute has released a report outlining new mechanisms for increasing development while granting more community input.

The report, entitled Getting the housing we want, follows an earlier investigation into the sort of housing sought by Sydney and Melbourne residents.

The research found  detached houses are being oversupplied, relative to the rising demand for apartments close to amenities.

The Institute suggested a pilot scheme of Neighbourhood Development Corporations, which would give real powers over “substantial redevelopment of specific areas” to residents, industry representatives and councils.

The not-for-profit organisations would seek their funding from a new liveability fund set-up by the states and Commonwealth.

The report also recommended a “small redevelopment code” which would set up standards for housing of up to two storeys high, taking into account common concerns of overshadowing and privacy.

This would enable a 15-day turnaround time for planning approval of such developments.

Leichhardt Lord Mayor Rochelle Porteous said the creation of an additional body was likely to increase the complexity of an already convoluted system.

“Local Government is the appropriate body to allow residents control over local development,” she said.

“Mechanisms are in place that allow all residents to make submissions about local development applications, which are then given due consideration by independent and expert planning staff.”

Ms Porteous did not endorse high density but said Leichhardt Council supports “suitable development near transport hubs”.

“Council is currently investigating [the] provision of affordable and social housing near such hubs,” she said.

Infrastructure NSW Chairman Nick Greiner has backed a similar approach.