The North 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 are located around Terrey Hills and Oxford Falls, and around the rural villages of Galston, Glenorie, Fiddletown, Maroota, Canoelands, Berowra Waters and Brooklyn. Figure 20 shows the extent of the District's rural areas.
Nurseries, cut-flower and stone-fruit production are the main forms of agriculture in the District. There are clusters of agricultural activity around Middle Dural, Galston and Arcadia, which extend into the Central City District. A significant proportion of the Metropolitan Rural Area is under-utilised and has the potential to be used for productive rural uses.
The District has mineral and extractive resources around Maroota, Canoelands and Belrose. These operations extract construction sand for use in concrete and mortar used in housing developments, infrastructure and building redevelopment throughout the Sydney Region. Sourcing construction materials locally minimises transport requirements, and reduces the cost, environmental footprint and social impact of construction, supporting growth in the Greater Sydney.
The District's rural areas provide opportunities for people to live in a pastoral or bushland setting. 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 long-term 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 North 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 distinctive towns and villages of the Metropolitan Rural Area within the North District offer opportunities for people to live and work in an attractive and unique setting, close to a major city. Examples of these villages include Glenorie, and Wisemans Ferry.
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 North District's rural areas contain large areas that serve as locations for people to live in a rural or bushland setting amongst bushland, farms and other rural industries. Within the North District, 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 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 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 place-based planning will help manage environmental, social and economic values, maximise the productive use of rural areas, and incentivise biodiversity protection for remnant vegetation. Design-led planning at the landscape unit scale 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.