Small changes to planning regulations could provide Wollondilly with a tourism boost, says Judy Hannan.
The former mayor, who stepped down from the post just before Christmas to concentrate on her campaign as an independent candidate for the March 23 state election, is promising to push for such changes if elected.
“I personally would like to see sweeping improvements to our planning system, however I will not unrealistically promise to achieve these,’’ says Ms Hannan.
“What I can do as your MP is push for changes to planning regulations that impact our lives negatively, such as impeding the tourism potential of our much loved rural zones.
“This can be achieved by making sure the permissible uses on all rural zones land include such things as weddings, markets, bed and breakfast accommodation, farm stays and other agri tourism activities.
“Obviously there would need to be appropriate requirements of safe ingress, egress and insurance coverage in place for any permissible activity.
“This is a simple initiative which could unlock local economic growth almost immediately,’’ Ms Hannan said.
“It would open options to keep farmers on their farms through access to diversification of income, with a positive flow on effect for the rest of the community.’’
Ms Hannan cites three local places which would benefit from such changes.
Brownlow Hill, primarily a dairy operation on a few hundred beautiful acres, includes buildings of historical importance that would be perfect for weddings.
Up until this year Brownlow Hill, pictured below, has run the Secret Garden Festival, which will cease due to difficulties with planning and permissible use.
Given the nature of weddings they need to be booked well in advance and require reliable venues and locations well into the future.
The second example offered by Ms Hannan is Sheldonbrook, a wedding venue which is only permitted to hold a couple of weddings a year and only for a certain time period.
Derks Farm Day was the third example.
“This much loved local event was lost to us because of difficulty in zoning, which should be avoidable,’’ Ms Hannan said.
“If we look to what the barriers to tourism in our area are, this is one of them, and as your State Member I can advocate directly for this change.
“It would be a great way to get economic value for the area and community.’’