Review of Hilton Local Planning Area Policy

The February 24 Council meeting voted to review the Local Planning Policies for a number of suburbs, including Hilton. One of the features of the Hilton Planning Policy that I strongly believe should be retained is it's recommendation that houses only have single garages facing the street.

Some people think this policy is strange and archaic given Australia's love affair with the car and how homes with double garages are now the norm in new suburban developments. However I support it for the following reasons:

Aesthetic: I think a streetscape dominated by double garages would change the look and feel of Hilton for the worse.

Community interaction and safety: Double garages effectively block the house off from the street because they dominate the front of the house. While people want them because they want to keep their cars securely locked up, they reduce the passive surveillance on our streets and make them less safe for pedestrians, particularly women and children.

Loss of tree cover: The addition of a double garage vastly increases the surface area of the modern house and pushes most of the living space back behind it, pushing the house nearly all the way to the back fence. If this were to happen on every block in Hilton (especially sub-divided blocks) there would be a significant loss of mature trees throughout the suburb.

Having said that, I do have sympathy for people who feel that they must have undercover parking for more than one car. I would support the policy being a bit more flexible for people who want to build a double carport or a double garage in "tandem" style. But I will maintain my opposition to open slather for double garages fronting the street. However these are just my views. The whole community will have a chance to submit their views before council votes on a new policy.

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