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Minister set to force bayside council to allow more housing

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Deputy Premier Steven Miles has warned bayside Redland City Council that it has failed to adequately plan to accommodate expected population growth, signalling he may force the council to urgently revisit its housing supply strategy.

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Miles has told the council he is set to take the rare step of using his powers under the Planning Act to direct it to come up with a new plan to drive construction of more housing in what is one of south-east Queensland’s most environmentally contentious areas.

In a letter to council chief executive Andrew Chesterman, the minister says the council has not started work on a comprehensive housing strategy despite repeated requests to do so since 2018.

“I am aware the since the (Redland) City Plan took effect on 8 October, 2018, the council has prepared a number of proposed planning scheme amendments without completing the requested studies,” he wrote.

“Given that many of these amendments affect housing choice I am also concerned about the lack of investigation and evidence that has supported these changes to the City Plan.”

Miles’ terse letter follows his decision last month to approve $15 million in funding for a new wastewater treatment plant at Southern Redland Bay which will kickstart Lendlease’s planned Shoreline community of 3000 new homes.

The development was a hot political issue at last year’s council elections, with candidates saying it was being built without the required public infrastructure. Miles’ intervention means the government will pay for half the cost of the new wastewater treatment plant.

The council insists it already has a housing strategy, with the stoush set to go public next week when it meets to decide its response to Miles’ demands.

A spokesman confirmed the council had received correspondence from the Minister and will consider “whether and how to respond” at its next general meeting on July 21.

“Council already has a housing strategy taking us to 2031 and there is an adequate and diverse supply of housing options on Redlands Coast as required by the SEQ Regional Plan,” the spokesman said.

In his letter, Miles makes it clear he wants the council to allow for more small lot development in Redlands, saying the council “had not appropriately demonstrated that it can meet the current and future needs of the community”.

He said the government’s latest Land Supply Development Monitoring Report had shown Redlands had a “shot term shortfall” of residential housing supply.

He said that recent changes to the housing market and migration patterns made it evident that council panning schemes “need to provide for a diversity of housing choices”

“On this basis, it is critical that the council commits to undertaking an evidence based and comprehensive Housing Supply and Diversity Strategy so that it is well position to plan for the future housing needs,” he wrote.

“Given the matters outlined above, I notify the council that I am considering exercising my powers under Section 26 of the Planning Act to require the council to take the actions set out in the draft Ministerial Direction notice enclosed with this letter.”

Miles, who took over as planning and local government minister after the government’s re-election last year, wants to make meeting SEQ housing supply needs one of his signature reforms.

He has set up so-called “growth area teams” that have identified Southern Redland Bay – along with Caboolture West in the Moreton Bay council area – as priority growth areas to accommodate thousands of new homes.

His intervention comes as Redlands mayor Karen Williams prepares to promote the city’s growth prospects to a gathering of property developers and other business figures at a Suburban Alliance function in Brisbane next week.

About 30,000 people moved into Queensland last year, with the government expecting interstate migration to contribute another 62,000 new residents over the next three years.

 

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