Village prides itself on creating highly liveable and sustainable communities that add value to the lives of the people who live there for generations to come.

However, as with all property developers, we are coming up against a growing rhetoric of cynicism around new property developments in Australia, which has been understandably fuelled by recent issues around the building of apartments.

In an effort towards repairing the relationship between the property sector and the community, we would like to address some common misconceptions about the development planning stages and process. By sharing with you the market insights and regulatory constraints that influence the master planning of a site, along with suggested ways that the property sector could improve this process and be more transparent with the community, we hope to start an open and constructive discussion around building thriving communities for the future.

Misconception 1: Developers determine the zoning of a site

Land supply, land use and zoning are regulated by local and national authorities that sit within the long-term strategic plan for the city or area.

While developers can request a site to be zoned, they are ultimately a responsibility of government and an evolving picture based on the long-term plan for the city and its projected growth.

Misconception 2: The sector is building smaller homes that no one wants

Before buying a site, a lot of investment is made into assessing its potential and researching what potential buyers are looking for. One area where the sector could be more transparent is in sharing the findings from this initial research. Often, the desires of buyers and those of the surrounding community do not align, which can lead to development disputes.

The mandatory focus and timing of consultation can be impractical and counterproductive regardless of intentions.

By sharing this information, we can start to reconcile the differences between how we live now and how we will live in the future. People throughout their housing careers are asking for a greater housing mix to meet their budget, household and lifestyle. While challenging, we have a lot to gain from being open to industry innovation and higher density in terms of diversity, liveliness and added amenity.

Misconception 3: Community consultation is not genuine

Community consultation is imperative in trying to ensure a connected and vibrant community. However, the mandatory focus and timing of consultation can be impractical and counterproductive regardless of intentions. For instance we are obliged to consult with residents, businesses and groups living near the site, but not with those who will end up living there. Additionally the sequence of steps in the approvals process can lead to confusion and conflict which impacts timing.

In the ACT, a full design concept with visuals must be presented to the community before submitting a development application. Once the plans are adapted to incorporate community feedback, they are then reviewed by the government. This process is not open to the public and can result in significant changes to the plans. The result, which the government puts on public display, can be a surprise to the community. So, despite a genuine consultation process with community and government, the developer is exposed to legal hurdles at the last minute.

The ultimate goal needs to be a process that enables all relevant parties to add lasting value to a development. At Village, we believe we can get there with better information sharing, an open mind and a collective desire to build a strong foundation for our city.