13 February 2023

Feedback called for on ideas for housing in Bega Valley town centres

| Albert McKnight
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Aerial shot of Bega.

Bega Valley Shire Council is proposing amendments to support accommodation in town centres. Photo: File.

A wider range of housing types will be allowed within Bega Valley’s town centres and the community is being asked for their input on what they think about related proposals on the move.

Bega Valley Shire Council recently decided to allow the wider range of housing types, aiming to provide more accommodation options for workers, business owners and seniors behind or above commercial premises.

As part of the move, amendments are proposed for the Development Control Plan 2013 for mixed commercial and residential development in town centres.

Council’s director of community, environment and planning Emily Harrison said the amendments would respond to the shire’s housing needs and provide opportunities for people to live closer to the goods and services they need.

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“The proposed changes to the plan provide guidance on active street frontages, pedestrian access, accessibility, adaptability, carparking, private open space and landscaping,” she said.

“The guidelines aim to ensure ground floor development in a business zone contributes to an active street frontage and a safe pedestrian environment, as well as ensuring flexible ground floor design to accommodate future changes of use.”

It comes at a time when the region is experiencing a housing crisis.

Council’s draft Affordable Housing Strategy said 19 per cent of homes were used as short-term accommodation, only 19 per cent of occupied homes were privately rented, and only three per cent were rented as social housing.

In 2022, the shire’s mayor pleaded with the owners of multiple homes, asking them to consider entering the long-term rental market in order to help with the crisis.

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But there has also been good news on the shire’s housing front.

Last year, council agreed to prioritise three units in Bega to help combat homelessness. Also, an affordable housing complex in Cobargo was sold with the condition that the sale proceeds would be put towards similar additional infrastructure in the region.

Click here to visit council’s website and have your say on the amendments. Feedback closes on 1 March.

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