Affordable Housing

What is Affordable Housing?

The 'Centre for Affordable Housing, NSW Department of Housing provides the following definition for Affordable Housing:

"Housing is affordable when households, which are renting or purchasing, are able to pay their housing costs and still have sufficient income to meet other basic needs such as food, clothing, transport, medical care and education.

Council recognises that there is a shortage of affordable housing, including rental housing across the Shire. Council also recognises that it has a role to play in facilitating the provision of affordable housing within the Shire.

So what has Council been up to?

Council has for many years been working towards improving and addressing this issue through land use planning. Here are some of the things that have been done so far:-

Bellingen Local Environmental Plan (BLEP) 2010:

Residential zone objectives are to "provide for the housing needs of the community" and to "provide for a variety of housing types and densities

Clause 7.7 of BLEP 2010 - Redevelopment of Caravan Parks & Manufactured Home Estates provides protection for this type of housing stock. Social Impact Assessments to take place on "as needs" basis.

BLEP 2010 following the Growth Management Strategy, has designated significant new growth areas on urban fringes of major towns to ensure that lack of zoned land in supply is not contributing to costs.

  • Council adopted Zone R1 - General Residential Zone in which all forms of residential accommodation are permitted with consent.
  • Contains provisions for Secondary Dwellings
  • Contains provision for shop top housing

Bellingen Development Control Plan (BDCP) 2010

  • Chapter 2.6.3 of DCP 2010 requires 1 x 1 bedroom dwelling for each 4 dwelling development.
  • Allows the next highest density calculation to be used for 1 x bedroom dwellings.
  • Chapter 1.6.16 provides standards for shop top housing. Relaxes requirements for car parking if lockable enclosure provided at ground floor level that can store two bikes.
  • For Secondary Dwellings that require a DA, Council requires them to be built as "adaptable" for people with a disability pursuant to DCP.

S94 Contribution Plans:

  • Council reviewed and rationalised its Contribution Plans
  • Contribution rates generally reduced after review.
  • Council views secondary dwellings as an extra bedroom of principal dwelling for Section 94 Contribution purposes rather then a dual occupancy which would attract a higher rate.

Affordable Housing Options in the Shire:

  • Single dwellings and expanded houses
  • Dual occupancy
  • Multiple Occupancies
  • Secondary Dwellings (Granny Flats)
  • Shop top housing
  • Manufactured Home estates
  • Subdivision

Affordable Rental Housing SEPP

State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 now permits the construction of secondary dwellings or 'granny flats' in most residential zones.

Secondary Dwellings

A secondary dwelling is by definition no greater than 60m2 in area, or 25% of the floor area of the principal dwelling on the land. They can be occupied by any person and offer a range of social and sustainability benefit such as encouraging greater levels of urban consolidation and allowing for transition in dwelling size as people move through age and family cycles.

A great starting point, if you are considering doing a secondary dwelling or granny flat is the Department of Planning and Infrastructure's website where you will find Fact Sheets about the various forms of secondary dwellings and responses to Frequently Asked questions.

In order to encourage and make these forms of development easier for people Council has streamlined the development controls applicable and also reduced the development contributions that constructing a second dwelling would normally attract.

A further initiative that Council has undertaken is to make secondary dwellings permissible with consent in certain rural zones throughout the Shire. Significantly, and unlike existing controls that regulate attached dual occupancy development in rural zones, a secondary dwelling does not need to be attached to the principal dwelling. Council has adopted this position to provide a greater degree of flexibility in dwelling location and to address a common concern that attached dwellings do not provide sufficient levels of privacy for occupants.


Fact Sheet 1 - Secondary Dwellings

Further information can be found by visiting:

Department of Planning & Infrastructure - Planning for Affordable Housing:     OR

The Centre for Affordable Housing