Housing strategy outcome to benefit farm land

Housing strategy outcome to benefit farm land

BY KIRSTIE FITZPATRICK

ENVIRONMENTALISTS in the Bathurst region have welcomed the development of high-rise apartments in the CBD to help preserve productive farmland.

Community members recently attended workshops, hosted by Bathurst Regional Council, to discuss the future of Bathurst’s housing development, with preference for apartment blocks in the CBD trumping expanding suburbs.

For local farmers and farmland owners this means productivity, food production and income will be maintained.

Senior Strategic Manager for Bathurst Regional Council, Nicholas Murphy, said sustaining farmland is an important issue for the community.

Close quarters – Bathurst CBD and the site of future housing developments. Source: www.renaissanceplanning.com.au

Close quarters – Bathurst CBD and the site of future housing developments. Source: www.renaissanceplanning.com.au

“We don’t want to use productive farmland for building purposes, we want to provide open space but we need to make sure erosion won’t be caused,” said Mr Murphy.

“The increase in density is so we stop eating up farmland.”

Although Mr Murphy said Council didn’t expect Bathurst to be ready to high-rise development, based on current population forecasts, developing sites in the CBD will benefit the city.

“Bathurst is set to grow to 52,000 by 2031, it will grow by 12.5%, so we’re looking at going back to central plaza style where there’s open space as an extension to a back yard,” he said.

“We’re looking at key sites in the CBD and this way with population pressure jobs will develop organically while conserving farmland.”

Secretary of volunteer group Greening Bathurst, Hugh Gould, who attended the workshops agreed keeping the community in close quarters will benefit agricultural and farm land.

“We’re pushing for denser areas in the CBD to avoid using valuable agricultural land for residential areas as guttering, waste disposal and rubbish collection costs more with urban sprawl so it’s more economical and sustainable to densify housing,” he said.

“Densification of residential areas will leave land available for produce, helping income. It going to be better.”

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