Clarence LEP review a leap forward

A NEW Local Environment Plan (LEP) has been proposed for the Clarence Valley to bring the current six LEPs into one single planning instrument.

A LEP is used to determine how property or land can be used, and if councillors opt to support the proposal, it will mean significant changes to minimum lot sizes for subdivisions around the valley.

Clarence Valley Council deputy general manager of environment and economics Des Schroder said if the proposal goes ahead it will protect the productivity of existing agricultural land and bring more clarity to the planning system.

“It will mean the Valley will have a modern and efficient planning instrument that will adopt State standards and definitions,” he said.

“The existing LEP leads to fragmentation and too much subdivision ends up losing viability of the agriculture sector which is important to the Valley.”

If the proposal goes ahead landholders in rural areas more than 40 kilometres west and north-west of Grafton will be affected the most. Lot sizes will increase from 40 to 100 hectares with the intent to reduce additional rural settlement in areas, protect the productivity of agricultural land by reducing its fragmentation and reduce the demand for additional services. Lorraine Wilson from the NSW Farmers’ Association said it was important that local farmers who have knowledge of the area were involved in the new planning controls process.

“The biggest impact the LEP will have on farmers will be the expectation from the people that buy them,” she said.

“You’re better off having smaller blocks so people don’t get into trouble.”

The Clarence Valley draft plan will be on exhibition and open for submissions at council offices until the end of March. If the motion is adopted the new LEP changes will come into effect five years from the date the draft is finalised.

Draft LEP proposed changes

 For land greater than 40 kilometres west and north-west of Grafton, lot sizes will change from 40 to 100 hectares

 For land around Grafton in rural and smaller rural residential zones, minimum lot changes will go from 10 hectares to 40 hectares

 Land lot sizes in rural residential zones in Nymboida will change from 4 to 40 hectares.

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