A View From The Edge
Issues in Rural and Metropolitan Fringe Planning

Ian Sinclair,
Principal Consultant, Edge Land Planning
Rural and Environmental Planning Consultants

As published in New Planner, The Magazine of the Planning Profession in NSW
Number 47, June 2001
Rural Residential Development
Rural residential development is becoming an increasing form of development on the fringe of metropolitan areas and country towns and villages. It will be discussed in two parts. This article will give a definition and the next one will discuss the impacts and issues surrounding rural residential development.
Rural residential development is the use of rural land for primarily residential purposes. The main source of income is not from an agricultural use of the land. Most rural residential dwellers move there for lifestyle rather than for the land's productive potential. As a result of this and the lack of an agricultural pursuit, the household, generally, does not have any affinity with the productive potential of the land and therefore does not usually understand the issues associated with agriculture. This lack of understanding often leads to rural land use conflict with the adjoining or nearby agricultural uses.
The main thing that separates urban housing from rural residential housing is the size of the lots and distances between the dwellings, which create a sense of openness. Rural residential development, broadly speaking has two types:
Rural Urban Fringedevelopment is within the servicing catchments and in close proximity to an urban centre. It may have reticulated water and in fact may have reticulated sewerage although most effluent disposal will be on site. It will also have a garbage service. The lot size is generally in the range of 4000 square metres to 2 hectares and it is an "estate" style of development. The photo of Wallacia on Sydney's western fringe shows the rural urban fringe development on the edge of the village.
Rural Urban Fringe
Rural Living development is a residential use of the land within a rural environment. It is not necessarily near an existing urban centre and does not have reticulated water or any other form of service that would generally be provided in rural urban fringe or urban areas. The lot sizes are generally 2 hectares and larger. It is set in both bushland settings as well as open rural landscapes. The photo below shows rural living development in Falls Creek in the Jervis Bay area.
Rural Living
On the fringe of Sydney, we are seeing rural residential development on a range of lot sizes. Land use surveys conducted for Wollondilly, Hawkesbury, Penrith and Camden Councils has s shown that rural residential development represents the largest proportion of the land uses (greater than 55%) and that there is a significant number of the uses that are on lots of 10 ha and greater.
Rural residential has both positive and negative impacts on an area. These will be discussed in the next issue.
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