Australian Capital Territory

ACT Government announces planning changes to support the development of granny flats

ACT Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell last week announced that a recent change to the Territory Plan has increased the allowable floor area of secondary residences – also known as granny flats – from 75 square metres to 90 square metres.

In a statement, Mr Corbell said the increase addresses specific concerns raised by industry and the community following the commencement of variation 306 in July 2013. He added that the change was consistent with ACT's planning strategy, which seeks to build more dynamic and vibrant communities through urban intensification.

"By allowing greater floor area in secondary residences, Canberra families can help their parents or students to live independently in a residence that is large enough to be comfortable yet small enough to be manageable," Mr Corbell said.

"The additional size will also help builders meet the adaptable housing standards for a variety of dwelling layouts, including two-bedroom dwellings. This allows the secondary residence to meet the requirements of the current occupant as well as the needs of occupants in the future."

Variation 306 removed restrictions on who was permitted to occupy what was then called a 'habitable suite' or 'relocatable unit'. Residents now do not need to be related to the occupants of the principal dwelling, nor do they need to be under any particular type of care.

"This means anyone can occupy a secondary residence and provides for more affordable housing options." Mr Corbell said.

"We hope this policy refinement will encourage more Canberrans to build versatile buildings which will improve the city's housing diversity and introduce more affordable housing options for the Territory's population," Mr Corbell said.

The increase in allowable area for secondary residences was part of Technical Amendment 2013-12, which came into effect on 17 January 2014.

More information is available from the ACT Government Planning and Land Authority's website at <http://www.actpla.act.gov.au/>.

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