Housing Strategy Implementation - Eco Village Pilot Project
When Council was undertaking public consultation in association with the development of the Bellingen Shire Local Housing Strategy (LHS) a submission was received advocating the merits of a regenerative model of housing commonly referred to as an ''eco-village''. The term ''eco-village'' can be generally interchangeable with the terms ''Circular Economy'' or ''Regenerative Village but at it's essence, involves designing a community from the outset in such a way as to minimise energy and ecological footprints by maximising the re-use of energy and resources and integrating housing, food, waste and other systems into the basic design and operations of the village.
Council ultimately resolved to support the development of a ''Pilot Project'' to test this concept via Action 8.4 of the final Action Plan in the LHS.
Following the adoption of the Strategy, PolisPlan Consultants approached Council indicating their willingness to advance the investigations into establishing an eco-village in the Shire. PolisPlan Consultants subsequently liaised with the NSW Government to determine how this type of approach to housing might integrate with their aspirations and was fortunate to secure funding from ''Sustainability Advantage'' (an arm of the NSW Department of Planning & Environment (DPE)) to further investigate the potential merits of this model and how it could potentially be integrated into the NSW planning system. These investigations were to be built around upon the real life example of Bellingen Shire given that Council had indicated broad strategic support for investigating this potential model of housing in the Shire.
Following detailed meetings with a range of stakeholders both within Council and the NSW Government, a report was presented to the elected Council on 23 November 2022 documenting a proposed planning framework for a regenerative village pilot project in Bellingen Shire. Council resolved as follows with respect to this report and the associated documentation.
RESOLVED (Mayor Allan / Cr Tree)
1. Receives and note the Proposed Planning Framework for Regenerative Village Pilot Project (and associated documents) prepared for Bellingen Shire Council by PolisPlan Consultants dated 3 November 2022.
2. Acknowledge the general suitability of the proposed planning pathway identified for the establishment of a regenerative village pilot project.
a. noting that the report acknowledges the remaining issues to be clarified around rating and land titles and that a further report be presented to council
3. Publish the findings of the investigations on its website to raise awareness of the potential issues and opportunities around this type of housing development in Bellingen Shire.
4. Notify the owners of properties that were investigated as part of this process of the existence of the Report, how to access its findings, and how to contact the authors should they wish to advance discussions around the potential suitability of their land for this type of development.
5. Thank PolisPlan Consultants and the NSW Government (Sustainability Advantage) for undertaking this body of work in pursuit of Action 8.4 of the Bellingen Shire Local Housing Strategy and advancing the level of understanding around ways in which an eco-village pilot project may be accommodated within the NSW Planning Framework.
The relevant documentation is now included here to further understanding regarding the potential opportunities for the establishment for an eco-village style development in the Shire. Should you be an owner of land that was investigated as part of the project to date you are encouraged to contact the authors of the report in the first instance to discuss this matter further.
Should you be the owner of land that you consider may have attributes conducive to the establishment of an eco-village you are encouraged to initially familiarise yourself with the findings of the report and the relative complexity of the planning framework that would need to be developed to advance this type of development. Should you believe that you are able to resource the subsequent development of both the planning framework and the ultimate development of an eco-village then you may wish to make further contact with Councils' Senior Strategic Planner on 66557300 to discuss this matter further.
(PDF, 19MB)CEV-Pilot-Project-Potential-Draft-Bellingen-Local-Environmental-Plan-2010-Clause.pdf(PDF, 105KB)