Next Generation Specialist
Transport Planning and Engineering Consultants

Sydney's Growth Centres - Room for 1.7 million people?

In February 2017, we heard Lucy Turnbull AO from the Greater Sydney Commission explain how Sydney was going to house an additional 1.7 million people between now and 2036.  On average, that is a net increase of around 240 people per day over 20 years.  Based on an average housing occupancy of 2.6 [1] , that means that around 33,500 new homes will need to be built every year between now and 2036 just to maintain the current levels of housing demand in Sydney! Last financial year, approximately 30,000 homes were completed which is the most since 2000 [2], but still below the level needed to improve affordability.

There are many areas around Sydney that are seeing incredible growth at the moment.  The wider Badgery’s Creek Airport is currently being developed and there are brownfield developments around historically industrial areas like Green Square and Waterloo and greenfield developments in the north-west and south-west of Sydney.  The north-west and south-west growth centres are aligned to new infrastructure projects; the Sydney Metro Northwest and the South West Rail Link.  The NSW Government is still deciding on a potential rail link to the new western Sydney airport.

When complete, the North West Priority Growth Centre, approximately 40km north-west of Sydney, will be home to around 200,000 people [3].  It is one of the largest greenfield development areas in Australia and until recently, it was mostly farmland and large residential lots.

The initial planning for Growth Centres in Sydney goes back to 2003 where the NSW Government started encouraging the supply of greenfield land for urban development. The strategic vision for the North West Priority Growth Centre is set out in the North West Structure Plan, which was adopted by the NSW Government in 2006.  There are 16 Precincts in the North West Priority Growth Centre, of which 12 are located within the Blacktown LGA.  The others are located in The Hills and Hawkesbury LGAs.  The North West Priority Growth Centre and its precincts are shown below.

north west priority growth centre map

Image:  planning.nsw.gov.au

To support the growth of the North West Centre the major piece of infrastructure currently being built is the Metro Northwest train project which will extend initially from Cudgegong Road to Epping, then to the Sydney CBD and through to Sydenham and Bankstown.  There are also a number of new roads and road widening projects in the area to cater for the expected future traffic volumes.  Each of the precincts also have new pedestrian, bicycle networks and public transport networks proposed to support the movement of people across and within the new development precincts.

In December 2014, PeopleTrans completed a traffic impact assessment report to support the Development Application of The Maples, a 150 lot development in Schofields between Schofields Farm Road and Boundary Road. 
Following the initial planning for precincts done by the NSW Department of Planning, an Indicative Layout Plan for the road network of each Precinct was prepared.  When it came to the traffic engineering and detailed design for the subdivision, the location of the proposed roads didn’t provide the most efficient lot layout and to achieve the required densities, one road was proposed to be relocated.  PeopleTrans assessed the impact of the change to the subdivision road layout and reviewed the impact on the proposed pedestrian and public transport networks, future traffic volumes at affected intersections and the impact on emergency vehicle access.

Since completion of our transport impact assessment report, the Development Application was submitted and approved by Blacktown Council.  Here is how The Maples development progressed in the 12 months between December 2015 and December 2016.

the maples schofields development

Between 2015 and 2016 the road network was approved by Blacktown Council and was built with a couple of lots cleared to start construction.  At the development to the right of The Maples you can see that the development is now close to half complete with many new houses fully constructed or in the process of being built.  When complete, the Maples development will be home to around 390 people, which will help Sydney inch towards its growth target of 1.7 million.  Despite the amount of development in Sydney's growth centres, there is not enough land to house everyone expected to move to Sydney over the next 20 years and existing areas of Sydney will have to support higher density in the future, if population targets are to be realised.

In the North West and South West Growth Centres of Sydney, PeopleTrans has completed a number of traffic engineering studies and transport impact assessments in support of the development applications.  When complete those lots will provide housing for over 3,000 people.  For assistance with your next transport impact assessment to support a development application, please get in touch with Matthew Houlden or Alan Stewart in our Sydney office on 02 8226 8760.

References: 

 [1]  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-06/fact-file-housing-in-australia/6442650

[2]  https://www.domain.com.au/news/biggest-surge-in-new-homes-in-16-years-data-shows-20161003-grtlrf/

[3] http://www.blacktown.nsw.gov.au/Planning_and_Development/Strategic_Planning/North_West_Growth_Sector

All references last accessed 29/3/17