The Central City District's rural areas contribute to habitat and biodiversity, support productive agriculture, provide mineral and energy resources, and sustain local rural towns and villages. They are part of the larger Metropolitan Rural Area.
The District's rural areas include bushland, areas of productive agriculture, and rural residential communities at Middle Dural, Kenthurst and Annangrove in The Hills Shire. The rural area of Dural spans the local government areas of Hornsby in the North District and The Hills Shire (refer to Figure 27). This land is increasingly under pressure for urban development.
The District has two agricultural clusters: a multiuse cluster horticulture (vegetable and tree fruits) at Maroota; and part of the multi-use cluster horticulture (vegetable and tree fruits) at Middle Dural, Galston and Arcadia (within the North District).
There are extractive industries based on construction material resources in the north and west of the District, with a major concentration of construction sand around Maroota, Maroota South and Glenorie. Maintaining local supplies of construction materials will support the growth of the District and Greater Sydney.
Most of the rural area in the District is of high environmental value and is identified in The Hills Local Environmental Plan 2012 as having biodiversity value or being constrained land, or being subject to a conservation agreement. A significant proportion of the District's rural land is under-utilised and has the potential to be used for more productive rural uses.
Urban development is not consistent with the values of the Metropolitan Rural Area. A Metropolis of Three Cities takes a strategic approach to delivering Greater Sydney's future housing needs within the current boundary of the Urban Area, including existing growth areas.
Urban development in the Metropolitan Rural Area will be considered only in the urban investigation areas identified in A Metropolis of Three Cities. Urban investigation areas have been identified as part of a structured approach to managing the longterm growth of Greater Sydney in a deliberate and carefully planned way, where land use is integrated with major transport corridors. There are no urban investigation areas in the Central City District.
Increased demand for biodiversity offset sites and limiting urban development in the Metropolitan Rural Area will help make it more attractive for landowners to protect biodiversity on private land through stewardship agreements.
The towns and villages such as Dural and Glenorie in the District's Metropolitan Rural Area offer essential retail and community services within rural settings.
Maintaining and enhancing the distinctive character of each rural and bushland town and village is a high priority. Ongoing planning and management of rural towns and villages will need to respond to local demand for growth, the character of the town or village and the surrounding landscape and rural activities. Rural and bushland towns and villages will not play a role in meeting regional or district-scale demand for residential growth.
The Central City District's rural areas contain some locations for people to live in a rural or bushland setting. These areas are primarily zoned RU2 Rural Landscape or RU6 Transition.
Rural residential development is not an economic value of the District's rural areas and further rural residential development is generally not supported. Limited growth of rural residential development could be considered where there are no adverse impacts on the amenity of the local area and where the development provides incentives to maintain and enhance the environmental, social and economic values of the Metropolitan Rural Area. This could include the creation of protected biodiversity corridors, buffers to support investment in rural industries and protection of scenic landscapes.
Parts of the urban-rural fringe are owned by the Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council. Future planning of these areas may require flexibility in order to balance rural values with the objectives of greater economic participation and community and cultural use of these areas by Aboriginal people. Design-led placed based planning will help manage its environmental, social and economic values, maximise the productive use of rural areas, and incentivise biodiversity protection for remnant vegetation.
Design-led planning for landscape units will provide councils with a process to engage more effectively with stakeholders, examine complex issues more clearly, identify important rural values at a local scale and set priorities for maintaining and enhancing these values through local land use planning.