Hornsby Shire Council to Respond to State Government’s Low and Mid-rise Housing Reforms

Following a December 2023 announcement by the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (DPHI) to exhibit its Explanation of Intended Effect: Changes to create low and mid-rise housing, Hornsby Shire Council has resolved to make a submission on the proposal, outlining its concerns and recommendations.

It will encourage the NSW Government to set clear housing targets and allow councils to develop and implement their own responses appropriate to the character of their local area and community expectations.

At its General Meeting on 14 February, Council resolved that its submission highlight concerns that the density of development proposed under the state-wide approach to deliver housing will impact the character of the Shire’s suburbs, heritage, environment and tree canopy, infrastructure and risk over-development in areas prone to risks such as bush fires and flooding and parts of the Shire without adequate supply of wastewater as well as sewerage infrastructure.

The submission will also underscore Council’s commitment to deliver a diverse range of housing under its adopted Local Housing Strategy which has been prepared after extensive consultation with the Hornsby Shire community. It will request an exemption from the proposed changes to progress its own local medium density housing strategy.

The announcement of the proposal by DPHI in December followed closely the adoption of Council’s Hornsby Town Centre Masterplan at a General Meeting in November of last year, a document that sealed Council’s commitment to the provision of over 4,900 new dwellings in slender residential towers complemented by open spaces reflective of the Shire’s bushland identity, a new multi-purpose community facility, pedestrian and cycling networks and enhanced public transport access.

Following the meeting, Hornsby Shire Mayor The Hon Philip Ruddock AO reiterated Council’s stance on the matter, stating that “Local Government should be provided the opportunity to address the supply of housing under the guidance of their own adopted strategies and plans.”

“We have a proven track record of delivering a variety of housing in the Shire that meets our obligations to State and Federal Governments appropriately, while maintaining the character of our area and meeting expectations from our diverse and unique community,” he added.

Hornsby Shire Council to Respond to State Government’s Low and Mid-rise Housing Reforms

“Hornsby Shire Council is committed to continue delivering housing to meet the needs of our community. But we’re concerned by the ‘one size fits all’ approach that is outlined in this proposal. The density of development that would be permitted would simply be far too great and would be devastating to other objectives of environmental and heritage conservation in Hornsby Shire.

“We’re urging the State Government to communicate their wants with clear targets for low and mid-rise housing and to allow us to deliver on those targets, informed by our local expertise and in collaboration with our community.” 

Also at last night’s meeting, Council:

  • Received and noted the December 2023 Performance Report showing progress of the 2023-2026 Delivery Program
  • Elected Councillor Tilbury as the new Deputy Mayor for the remaining seven months of the term and thanked Councillor Warren Waddell for his service as Deputy Mayor for the last twelve months
  • Noted details regarding the provision of Councillor expenses for the second half of 2023
  • Resolved to submit to the Geographical Names Board of a New South Wales a proposal to correct the spelling of ‘Forsters Reserve’ in Middle Dural to ‘Fosters Reserve and Waterhole’
  • Resolved to progress the Rural Lands Planning Proposal
  • Appointed interim Panel Chairs on the Hornsby Local Planning Panel until 30 June 2024
  • Adopted for public exhibition the draft Galston Village Public Domain Plan
  • Received a Notice of Motion from Councillor Tilbury on public infrastructure in Mount Kuring-gai and Berowra, resolving to write to the Minister for Transport and Transport for NSW seeking permission for a mural to be painted on a pedestrian overpass and road bridge
  • Resolved a schedule of grants to local community groups, schools and associations under Council’s Community Event Grants program

The video recording of the meeting and full agenda of the meeting, along with details of each item discussed, can be found at