The dream lives on -- for now

COSTLY new building regulations which have created a nightmare for scores of people building new homes in the Tweed will be temporarily relaxed.

The new rules have been labelled confusing by those starting out in the Tweed property market, with some industry insiders suggesting it will force people to abandon their dream of building a new home.

But yesterday people yet to start building their home were saying they are still confused and the new rules would lead them to abandon their dream.

Tweed Shire Council's administrators yesterday backed away from strictly enforcing the new rules which insist on "hidden" garages, higher than normal ceilings and large backyards from next Monday.

The move by administrators Max Boyd and Frank Willan followed desperate appeals by three major project home builders, at least one land developer and dozens of individuals who revealed about 75 property owners across the shire would not be able to lodge plans by Monday despite entering costly contracts.

One subdivision even faces the prospect of buyers invoking legal clauses to pull out of purchases because their house plans won't comply with the new rules.

The administrators instead agreed the council "may not strictly apply" the rules until the end of the year provided that owners demonstrate the contract "was entered into" before April 30 and where the house plans comply with the old rules.

One couple who declined to be named said they were simply keeping their fingers crossed that the latest council move would help, otherwise they would have to abandon already drawn-up plans.

Earlier this week State MP for Tweed Geoff Provest joined criticism of the new regulations, particularly a previously unpublicised rule which insists ceilings be 2.7 metres high instead of the current 2.4 metres. Mr Provest said the rules would make housing less affordable for young Tweed families with the decision to raise ceiling heights adding more than $10,000 to the cost of most homes.

Mr Provest said the Master Builders Association has warned the rules "will impose significant cost increases for residential development in Tweed Shire at a time when NSW had the least affordable and worst performing housing market in the country".

Mr Provest said many Tweed families "simply will not be able to deal with the extra cost in the current climate of high interest rates, poor housing affordability and rising costs of living".

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