In response to the letter to the editor of March 1 as to the land supply in Leongatha, the facts are:
The website identifies that there are 99 vacant residential lots (500-1000m2) for sale in Leongatha, many of these being the steeper blocks of subdivisions developed a decade ago, such as Vale Court and Shinglers Ridge Estate.
The only recent subdivisions are Panorama Estate (new release of Stage 12A has a variety of sizes from 407m2 up to 1085m2), Mitchells Rise (partially completed with blocks fronting Parr Street available) and Willow Grove Estate (500-550m2) on McDonald Street.
Those areas with planning approval but have not commenced construction include Panorama (90+ lots) to join through to Springs Estate to the south.
Blocks with Tilly Court Estate frontage are being marketed but no other works have been started. These subdivisions when developed would provide for another 170 lots.
In terms of land shortage, the South Gippsland Shire’s strategic planning documents produced over the past decade have identified the shortage of residential land for Leongatha.
In 2008 The Leongatha Structure Plan identified that the current supply would last until 2016. The Structure Plan examined 11 areas for future residential development and nominated four expansion areas – these areas being inserted into the South Gippsland Planning Scheme via Amendment C46 in 2009.
The expansion areas being land along Parr Street (Panorama Estate), south of the Leongatha Hospital, north and south of Nerrena Road and Shingler Street. No land was rezoned with this amendment.
This was followed in 2012 with the preparation of the ‘Southern Leongatha Overall Development Plan’ which divided these areas located to the south (Parr Street to Simons Lane/Boags Road) into residential and commercial precincts A to K.
My client’s land is identified as Precinct K, opposite the bus depot with the Coalition Creek defining the eastern boundary.
Areas A and B proposed new peripheral business areas to be located south of the hospital along the highway, with the balance of areas being set aside for residential development.
By 2013 the South Gippsland Housing & Settlement Strategy identified the supply of existing vacant lots to be 90 and that increasing demand is not being met by supply. The report identified that:
• Anecdotal information suggests that there is an increasing demand for larger (four bedrooms-plus) dwellings from young families market and smaller, more condensed housing for senior residents. This demand is not matched by supply at present.
• Leongatha has the highest demand for new dwellings in the shire – its dwelling approvals accounted for 30 per cent of the shire’s total (2007-2011).
When examining the various reports on planning and development it is noted that the average building approvals for dwellings over the past decade in Leongatha is consistent between 47-55 dwellings p.a.
As the above documents identified, the purpose of preparing the structure plans was to identify future areas for residential expansion.
These reports always identified what the potential for residential development was, with respect to the expansion areas, however land was never rezoned as part of these strategic planning processes throughout 2008-2015.
The first site however to be rezoned, was in 2016 with 12ha of the former McGrath farm at Shingler Street. The Independent Panel which considered Amendment C65 to rezone the land also had to consider the State Planning Policy land supply and demand requirement of 15 years. The panel required the council to provide data on this issue. The Panel report identifies:
At the Panel’s request, Mr Griffiths provided an assessment of residential land supply and demand following the Hearing. This assessment confirmed that Leongatha has a limited supply of zoned and subdivided residential land, well below the 15-year supply referred to in State and local policy.
To conclude the current supply of 99 lots equates to two years’ supply. When the above estates are developed, then a further 170 lots would provide for a modest increase of three years supply. In total this is well below the State Planning Policy of 15-year land supply for residential development. The strategies for Leongatha as identified within the South Gippsland Planning Scheme (clause 21.15-1) is to, “encourage the rezoning of appropriate areas identified in the Leongatha Framework Plan to maintain an estimated 15-year residential land supply”.
The rezoning of land in precinct K accords with the residential strategy for the Leongatha township.
Trevor Ludeman, director, Project Planning and Development.