City sets limits on urban boundaries

Warrnambool’s residential zones have enough spare land for 24 years of demand, plus an estimated 15 years of supply in rural and low-density areas.

A new urban settlement boundary to prevent further creep into farming land was approved unanimously by city councillors on Monday night.

State Planning Minister Matthew Guy will be asked to amend the city’s planning scheme to incorporate the new boundary and general residential zone which has a nine-metre height limit.

The boundary extends from east of the Hopkins River to Horne Road, Aberline Road, Wangoom Road, Wollaston Road north of the Merri, Dennington north and south and the traditional central, east, west, north and south Warrnambool plus Merrivale.

Planning for future residential and industrial land immediately east of Aberline Road is expected to start next year. Boundaries have also been set around Allansford, Bushfield and Woodford.

A new city-wide housing strategy adopted on Monday night predicts 80 per cent of residential growth will be on greenfield sites and less than 20 per cent in established areas.

Population is expected to reach 43,000 by 2031 with an average of 2.3 people living in a total of 18,000 households.

Higher density development in established areas is seen as the way to meet growth targets.

The new strategy requires 12-plus dwellings per net developable hectare and 15-plus close to transport corridors, open space and activity centres.

These revised boundaries come nine years after research indicated Warrnambool had less than four years’ supply of approved residential land.

It triggered the designation of five new greenfield growth areas with capacity for 5500 lots.

The strategy document prepared by the council’s own staff contains detailed research on demographics.

Cr Jacinta Ermacora said the report indicated challenges to encourage environmentally-sound housing designs.

She also saw merit in further investigations into routes for a northern link road.

Cr Kylie Gaston also pointed to the need for housing diversity and she hoped the real estate industry would consider that.

Cr Peter Hulin said house designers needed to be more environmentally sensitive.

Mayor Michael Neoh said the urban boundary would protect valuable farm land and the new policy would help provide affordable housing.

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