Home buyer warning: Beware new estates
A frustrated planning expert has told first home buyers to be wary of new masterplanned estates, warning key infrastructure is rarely delivered on time or lives up to the community's needs.
Be it lack of roads, schools, hospitals, public transport or retail outlets, almost in every instance, the infrastructure lags so far behind it's ineffective, says Griffith University lecturer Dr Tony Matthews.
He said masterplanned estates are a "feel-good design" for all levels of government and are created with the best intentions but in reality, they rarely come together in an effective or timely manner.
"Houses are always needed because of a growing population but the infrastructure that services masterplanned estates lags way behind - so you get traffic congestion, liveability problems and irritated residents," Mr Matthews told NCA NewsWire.
"Then you have children having to commute long distances to go to school and more traffic is introduced to roads that are already way above peak.
"A classic example is on the Gold Coast, where new estates lead to the M1 which is a road that already can't cope."
The plannng expert explained in many cases, by the time new infratructure was delivered, the suburbs population had grown again, making the brand new roads too little too late.
Sydney suburb Marsden Park, about 50kms northwest of the CBD, is a case in point.
A semirural area some 15 years ago, it's now a 3000 strong residential hub with just one road leading in and out of an estate, causing traffic to bank up for 30 minutes just to exit the neighbourhood.
By 2035, Marsden Park will be home to 50,000 residents.
The suburb sits within Blacktown City Council, the largest LGA in NSW by population, and Mayor Tony Bleasdale is all too familiar with the problems facing his constituents.
He posted a social media video earlier this year lamenting traffic snarls and held a people's forum to hear complaints about the misgivings of Marsden Park.
The suburbs shortcomings include inadequate bus services, lack of parking at a train station, overcrowded schools or new schools failing to eventuate.
He blamed it all on the state and federal governments for failing to provide funding to build major roads, schools, carparks, hospitals and providing bus services.
"The roads, transport and schools in Marsden Park don't cut it now," Mr Bleasdale.
"Council has worked with developers providing local roads, drainage, waste collection, new parks and sporting fields … but here's the hurdle.
"Council can't access funds to build the amenities in those parks and sporting fields … that's in the hands of the state government."
Marsden Park may be the most glaring example of inadequate infrastructure of a masterplanned estate but another new project on the Gold Coast could be problematic as well, Mr Matthews said.
Pacific View Estate at Worongary, between Nerang and Mudgeeraba, has been billed as a "community of choice" for generations of Gold Coast families to come and where facilities will be "second to none".
It sits on a 334-hectare parcel of land that will accommodate 10,000 residents and is considered the largest housing development for the city in the last 10 years in one hit.
The design promises "future retail" and "future education" and "all you could want in terms of day to day needs".
Mr Matthews said the design had best intentions but reality in the majority of cases has proven to be far different.
"A common theme across all of them, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, is that the infrastructure is always pegged as a future development," he said.
"All the infrastructure that needs to exist becomes almost exclusively the responsibility of state or local government.
"It is deeply frustrating because all the logic would tell, you, that if you know housing and residents are coming, the infrastructure to relieve that should go in ahead of the housing."
Originally published as Home buyer warning: Beware new estates