Councillor Robyn Preston

Clr R A Preston - North Ward


Political Affiliation: Liberal Party of Australia

Contact Details:

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Secondary dwellings in rural areas

If you own acreage in The Hills, you should be given more choices in what you can do with your land.

In conversations with rural property owners over the past ten years, I’ve been made aware that they want more certainty about being able to build a decent-sized secondary dwelling on their land.

I can see the sensible advantages of doing this, but the current planning laws have created barriers, so at a recent Council meeting, I gained support to seek changes to the Standard Local Environmental Plan (LEP) relating to secondary dwellings in rural areas.

Your Mayor and General Manager will meet with the NSW Minister for Planning to discuss these changes which aims to simplify the process.

In a nutshell, I have recommended that a secondary dwelling on rural land should be allowed with a floor space of up to 110 m2 of habitable rooms, plus optional attached garage of up to 20m2.

The recommended changes also remove the provision that the secondary dwelling should be a percentage of the floor area of the principal dwelling.

This simplified approach will allow more opportunity for empty nesters living on rural land, to remain in their familiar and much-loved rural setting whilst either downsizing to a smaller home (their new secondary dwelling) and renting out the principal home or providing a housing affordability option for their children, to get them out of the rent cycle and into a secondary dwelling where both families can co-exist in the privacy of acreage, care for each other and save towards their own home.

It also gives the owner the option of a passive income. The intention is not to subdivide the property, but to give the owner choices in how they live on their rural land, whilst respecting the integrity of the landscape. I will update you as we progress on this issue.

Safe, active places for families

Whether playing a sport, visiting a playground or sitting in a park, you deserve to feel safe in that open space, so when residents from Beaumont Hills told me of the unlawful behaviour happening in Bara Way Reserve, I was horrified.

Drug users and peddlers where frequenting the park, vandalizing the fixtures, burning the tables and leaving rubbish strewn around for everyone to see and be repelled by.

This is not how Hills residents behave. There is a respect for public property as well as private property and Council, Police and the community won’t tolerate bad conduct.

We are working to weed out any such  anti-social behaviour so that the community has confidence in visiting any one of our beautiful reserves or green spaces knowing that each visit will be another reason to believe that The Hills Shire is simply the best!