Fewer developments in region

SENIOR council staff yesterday confirmed claims by Tweed Mayor Warren Polglase that the number of major development applications they are dealing with has fallen.

Whether that translates to a reduction in development and building activity on the ground is less clear.

The council’s planning and regulation director Vince Connell said it appeared “there definitely has been a slowing down of the commencement of new larger, medium-density residential and retail projects”.

Because those projects generate the most developer fees, Mr Connell said the council had also seen a reduction in the amount of so-called “developer contributions” paid since the global financial crisis.

“This does have an impact on council’s annual budget planning for public works in the upcoming financial year,” he said.

However Mr Connell added that the council had still seen a steady increase of smaller-scale residential development applications.

To the start of March last financial year the council had received 631 development applications, and by comparison for the same period this year had received 674 applications.

Apparently due to an increase in smaller development applications, the council’s income for applications alone looks healthy.

From July 8, 2008 to February 9, 2009 the council took in $282,027 in development application fees. In the corresponding period this year it collected $323,581.

So-called developer contributions, typically worth $20,000 per block and paid on housing subdivisions, are paid at later stages.

Cr Polglase said the first-home buyers’ market had slowed dramatically.

“That was the backbone of the market. People were getting $14,000, now they are getting just half of that.”



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