20 year Strategic Plan underway for Shire villages

Land use and the management of growth and change in Cowra's villages will receive a stronger, new strategic focus, with Council moving to appoint Purdon Planning as consultants to prepare a Local Strategic Planning Statement for Cowra, specifically focusing on the villages of Morongla, Billimari, Gooloogong, Noonbinna, Wattamondara, Darbys Falls, Wyangala and Woodstock.

The development of a Local Strategic Planning Statement for the Shire's villages ties in with recently passed amendments to the NSW Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 which require councils to set out the 20 year vision for land-use in the local area; the special character and values of the area to be preserved; the shared community values to be maintained and enhanced and how change will be managed into the future.

"Consultation with our village communities has always been very important: Council sees the development of Local Planning Statements as an opportunity to strategically plan for each village, to support and guide their development or simply to preserve the integrity of these villages into the future, with the assistance of the community," said Mayor of Cowra, Cr Bill West.

Key planning issues that will be incorporated in the statement include future land requirements, local housing needs, infrastructure planning, natural resource management, economic development, village tourism, agriculture and environmental heritage.

"The development of the Local Strategic Planning Statement will be a new way of structuring engagement with the Shire's villages and is intended to be a way of reporting back to the community for years to come," Cr West said.

Purdon Planning, a Canberra-based planning firm with extensive NSW urban and regional experience, will organise and facilitate a comprehensive community consultation strategy for the project, to ensure that community members from each village have the opportunity to contribute to the creation of a Cowra Local Strategic Planning Statement.

"A key planning requirement will be for the consultants to hold workshops with each village community as part of the preliminary process as well as returning to each village to present the draft planning statement to the community for feedback. We want to ensure our village communities are engaged as part of the process," Cr West said.