Australian Capital Territory

Change to solar access requirements will improve housing outcomes: ACT Planning Minister

ACT Planning Minister Mick Gentleman has announced changes to the Territory Plan, which aim to simplify solar access rules, improve housing affordability and reduce delays in the construction of new homes in Canberra.

Mr Gentleman said the changes will ensure the Territory Plan continues to protect the solar access of residential blocks, helps passive solar design and active solar technology, and improves energy efficiency in Canberra homes.

Sunset in Canberra
Above: Sunset in Canberra / by Prescott Pym.

"Our changes to solar access will better meet the needs of the community and industry because they ensure solar access for new homes, protect the solar access of neighbouring blocks and encourage houses designed with good solar amenity," Mr Gentleman said.

"After consulting with the community and the housing industry, I have decided the most significant changes will only apply to Canberra's newest suburbs, that is blocks approved under an estate development plan on or after 5 July 2013. Variation 346 to the Territory Plan changes solar access and glazing requirements for these blocks.

The Coombs and Wright Concept Plan will be amended to reflect the variation; there are no changes to the existing precinct codes. These changes mean the existing parts of Coombs and Wright, where more restrictive rules apply, will be protected, while new parts of these suburbs will benefit from the revised rules.

"This variation is the first part of a two-stage process. The Government will keep working with the community on how we can optimise solar access in existing residential areas existing areas," Mr Gentleman said.

According to the Minister, the changes introduced with Variation 346 were designed in close consultation with architects, building and planning industry professionals, and community association representatives.

"We have listened to community feedback on issues relating to solar access and Variation 346 responds to that feedback. We have more work to do to strengthen solar access across the Territory in existing areas. We will do this work in close consultation with the community and industry to make sure our solutions are suitable," Mr Gentleman said.

"Approving the revised solar envelope and glazing requirements just for new areas during this sitting of the Legislative Assembly will bring immediate benefits for home builders and developers in new suburbs such as Molonglo, Throsby and west Belconnen. They bring certainty and encourage good quality development."

Photo: Sunset in Canberra / Prescott Pym / Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC 2.0.

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