Local parks are not free

COUNCILS fear the death of the local park, with the state's pricing regulator finding green spaces are forcing up house prices in new estates.

An analysis of three new land release areas in Sydney's northwest found land for open space and recreation came at a high cost, lifting developer levies by as much as $60,000 per block, which was then put on homebuyers.

However, Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils president Alison McLaren said slashing parks in new neighbourhoods would not solve the housing affordability crisis.

"Western Sydney already has significant problems with unhealthy lifestyles and obesity issues; reducing the access to local recreational space will worsen this problem.

"Without green spaces and parks, these new estates will become unbearably hot, placing a huge new demand on our energy supplies for air conditioning and cooling."

IPART wants a whole-of-government review of the requirements for open space with the aim of scrapping housing levies for parks.

Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW CEO Steven Albin said the industry well understood the importance of parks but much of Sydney's western development had a 60 per cent open space requirement including river corridors, bushfire zones and stormwater management.

"It also has the effect of reducing the total number of dwellings that can be produced and that directly (affects) housing affordability," Mr Albin said. IPART acting chairman James Cox said the review had shown the "particularly high costs" of land set aside for open space.

"The cost of infrastructure should be borne by different groups in proportion to the benefits they receive from them," he said.

An online poll on thetelegraph.com.au found 90 per cent of 2980 readers did not want local parks sacrificed to keep house prices down.


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