Feedback sought on housing strategy for Port Stephens

Port Stephens is growing with the NSW Government predicting another 20,000 residents over the next 20 years. Photo: Port Stephens Council.

PORT STEPHENS Council has endorsed the exhibition of a new Draft Local Housing Strategy designed to ‘set the vision for future housing growth across Port Stephens’.

The draft Local Housing Strategy will be on public exhibition from Tuesday 2 April 2024 to Monday 29 April.

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Port Stephens is growing with the NSW Government predicting another 20,000 residents over the next 20 years.

Deputy Mayor Leah Anderson says the NSW Government forecasts have driven this important review of housing across Port Stephens.

”Limited opportunity for new housing developments, housing prices and low rental vacancies have begun to push middle income families out of the market.

“This impacts local businesses that struggle to attract workers, particularly in the aged care, hospitality and health sectors,” Deputy Mayor Anderson said.

“We also know that the impacts of housing prices and low rental vacancies are forcing more people to either relocate or choose housing options that are not ideal – the number of people sleeping on our streets, couch surfing, or seeking social housing is rising dramatically.

“We need to find ways to support those most vulnerable while at the same, ensuring our economy remains strong and stable,” she added.

Late last year Council hosted the Port Stephens Housing Forum which included more than 50 representatives from the community, business and industry to share ideas and seek solutions to the housing crisis.

The information gathered has been used to guide the development of the draft Port Stephens Local Housing Strategy.

“The Port Stephens Local Housing Strategy focuses on three main areas – housing diversity, housing affordability and housing supply,” Deputy Mayor Anderson said.

“The Strategy emphasises a mix of housing types and increased density near our town centres.

“We know that living close to health services, medical care, education and childcare and having access to public transport, walking and cycling paths are important priorities for our community.

“We also know that a mix of housing types will help more people across our communities live close to family, friends, and networks through all stages of their life,” she added.

The draft Port Stephens Local Housing Strategy also outlines the additional services required to meet increased population growth.

“Council is very aware that to accommodate extra residents, we need extra infrastructure – our roads, health services, schools and public spaces all need to grow to meet future demand,” Deputy Mayor Anderson said
“This document will not only help Council plan for this change but also, seek funding from both State and Federal Governments to deliver what’s needed.

“Council needs to seek solutions to how we can provide greater housing diversity to meet the needs of our community, including encouraging developers to invest in a mix of housing options.

“We encourage our community to take the time to have their say and tell us what they think of this plan for the future,” she added.

Also on display is a draft Housing Supply Plan, which demonstrates how and where the required housing for 20,000 extra residents can be developed over the next 20 years.

The Hunter Regional Plan has forecast that 11,100 new dwellings in Port Stephens would be needed in Port Stephens to accommodate the growth in population.

This equates to delivering in excess of 550 dwellings per year to meet the forecast demand.

By 2041, this means a total of 45,541 dwellings would be required to house a total population of 96,434, up from the current 75,390 (2021).

The Housing Supply Plan provides detailed information on housing opportunities across the LGA.

The Plan states that the Tomaree Peninsula would continue to be the area of highest demand for new housing.

In Nelson Bay Town Centre, it is suggested new development should meet or exceed a density of 200 dwellings per hectare.

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