Developers blame cycleways for extra housing costs

FIRST home buyers are being forced to pay more because, according to developers, Queensland councils demand up to three separate bikeways be built in new estates.

The claim was part of evidence given to a state committee is working through new council planning reforms.

It is examining how developers and councils share the cost of building new residential or commercial areas.

Policy researcher Duncan Maclaine from the Urban Development Institute of Australia's Queensland branch told the committee councils were forcing developers to "gold plate" new estates.

He said these extra costs were being passed on to buyers.

Mr Maclaine said some councils demanded a bike path on the road, another one next to the paved footpath and potentially paved lanes through a nearby park.

"We feel that's not really essential for development," he said.

"A development may wish to provide those things, if they do, it's at their own cost."

By forcing developers to include it as a "minimum requirement" meant scaring off potential investment, he said.

In the UDIA's submission to the committee, it also used Toowoomba Regional Council as an example of a local government with "excessive and onerous standards" for demanding wider roads.

Greg Hoffman from the Local Government Association of Queensland - the peak body for councils - said such demands were rare.

He said if parks, bikeways or playgrounds were not included in developments, new owners would demand them from the council.

Mr Hoffman said they would ask, "Why can't we have that standard of playground equipment, bike path or skateboard park?".

"They are the political pressures that come on council," he said.

He said the major costs for developers would always be dealing with sewerage, water and stormwater.

Even if developers were being forced to build extra bike ways, he said the added cost to buyers would be minimal.

The UDIA was contacted for further comment, but declined.

The committee must present its report to the Parliament by May 29.



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