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Have your say now on 900-home plan for Murray Bridge’s west
Public consultation has opened on a plan to rezone 96 hectares of land for housing – and the state government has announced new support to get the job done.
If you want more land to be available for housing in Murray Bridge, now is the time to speak up.
Public feedback is being sought on a plan to rezone 96 hectares of land in the city’s west.
That would be enough space to build more than 900 new homes.
The new planning rules would be basically the same as most of Murray Bridge: they would allow homes of up to two storeys, on blocks of 300-500 square metres.
Any large developments in the area – those involving at least 20 new homes – would be required to make at least 15 per cent of them affordable, with a value of less than $417,000 in today’s dollars.
Scroll to the bottom of this post to find out how to have your say.
Work on the rezoning plan began way back in 2014 in response to requests from landowners to subdivide their properties.
However, it had to be put on hold while the state government introduced a new planning system across South Australia.
Planning Minister Nick Champion eventually agreed to get the ball rolling on the changes – which will designate the three areas as a “suburban neighbourhood” zone, the same as most of Murray Bridge’s residential areas – in March.
Even if the current proposal gets up, don’t expect all those new homes to crop up in the next 12 months, either.
It may take that long just to collect public feedback, make any changes and have state Planning Minister Nick Champion approve the plan.
It will likely take up to 10 years for the entire area to be developed, according to consultants URPS.
Any landowners in the area who want to get cracking as soon as they can should contact the Murray Bridge council’s Cherry Getsom at email@example.com.
More facilities will be needed as Murray Bridge grows – including an indoor sports centre
Consultants URPS warned that a number of extra facilities were likely to be needed in Murray Bridge as the city’s population grew over the next decade, including:
A multi-purpose indoor sports centre with at least four courts
A bigger and better soccer complex
An extra oval suitable for footy and/or cricket
A proper athletics venue
A still bigger, better community centre
They noted that most such facilities were in the middle of Murray Bridge, some distance from the areas where new housing would be built.
Several busy intersections would need upgrades, too, including those at Long Island Road/Swanport Road, Maurice Road/Brinkley Road and the main traffic lights at the top of Bridge Street.
In the longer term, the council hopes more than 3000 new homes will be built in Murray Bridge by 2040.
The state government’s ambitions reach even further, calling for 8000 homes by 2051.
State government announces planning support
To help make it all happen, the state government announced on Thursday that it would spend $40,000 training new planning staff for councils in the Murraylands and Spencer Gulf – two areas where housing was needed.
The program, called Grow Your Own, will help four university students become qualified planners.
A couple of them will train at the Murray River Study Hub in Murray Bridge.
The minister, Mr Champion, argued that having more planners available would help developments get approved more quickly.
Murray Bridge council CEO Heather Barclay agreed, describing the program as an important step.
“Having in-house planners is essential for councils, and we know the challenges many are facing in terms of worker attraction, retention and shortages,” she said.
The state government has also created an Office for Regional Housing to fast-track construction in country South Australia, and a regional key worker housing scheme to get homes built for workers in areas where there is a shortage.
But none of the homes yet announced will be built in the Murraylands, despite the local need – the Riverland, Mount Gambier, the Copper Coast, Port Augusta and Ceduna will get them instead.
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