What are they?
Local character is the identity of a place and what makes a neighbourhood distinctive. It is a combination of the land, people, built environment, history, culture, tradition, European and Aboriginal Heritage, and a combination of how these factors interact to make the character of an area.
A local Character Statement is a document that will guide future development by defining existing valued elements of character and set a desired future character that aligns with the strategic direction for the area. It refers to an agreed vision of how an area will change over time, reflects the community’s aspirations for its area and it provides a direction for the future. This will help to ensure that development is responsive to the key characteristics that make up the preferred character of each place/precinct. The statement aims to capture the voices of the community through the community engagement process.
Who are they for?
Places are for everyone in the community to enjoy equally, that is, anyone who has vested interest in the community. It is also important that we aim to leave the environment in a better condition for future generations.
When are they?
The Character Statements set out the community’s aspirations and will align with the LSPS’s 2040 vision.
Where are we doing them?
In our main towns and villages with the intention of doing the 12 villages in the long term. This will then lead to master plans for certain towns and villages.
How does this fit with other strategic plans?
Future Character Statements have been identified in the Local Strategic Planning Statement as an action under Urban Land – Connectivity, transport, and movement. The Character Statements will help to inform future masterplans, and changes to Development Control Plan (DCP) and Local Environmental Plan (LEP). The process will involve developing standards, guidelines and principles to improve the aesthetics, attractiveness and functionality of Upper Lachlan.
How are we consulting with the community?
We want to work closely and collaboratively with local communities in ways which empower their unique identity and culture towards a positive future. Council will be holding a number of community consultation events around the shire, an online survey, and drop in sessions. The draft Character Statements will then be available for comment.
Why are we doing them?
It’s inevitable that for any community there is a certain degree of change over time, whether this happens slowly or happens as a result of external events. The purpose of the Character Statements is to capture the aspirations of the community to create a shared vision to better set the direction and guide any change. This is aimed to be specific to the context of a community and place.
Any alteration to the natural and built environment, whether carried out on private or public land can affect the character of an area. To ensure the Upper Lachlan identity is protected, consolidated and allowed to evolve, it is important to have a coordinated plan for the future. By capturing community voices and articulating community values we can help to guide planning for the future.
Creating places that are unique and authentic is attractive for new residents, investors, visitors and residents. By not only helping to realise the potential of Upper Lachlan, this process will help to position Upper Lachlan as a substantial contributor to the regional economy, and help to boost what has been identified as a slowing economy in need of diversification. In order to stimulate investment, activate public spaces and improve livability, a clear vision is needed for our towns.
What approach is Council taking?
Council seeks to use a place based approach to planning and community collaboration to create better places and improve livability. A place-based approach is a holistic approach used to identify opportunity and needs through effective collaboration and understanding of key issues in a place. Each place will have different strengths on which to build and areas for improvement. We are not talking about drastic change, but change that is suitable for the environmental, social and economic needs of a place and its community.