When is a house a home?
When are homes a part of a neighbourhood? When do neighbourhoods become communities? How does a community have recourse to protecting the homes and houses in the neighborhood to maintain the character of the community? There are over 100 submissions from the families living in the area bounded by Duke St, York St, Frederick St and Albany St, protesting the DA proposals to build The Three Towers. This is a set of three, fi ve storey towers, with 101 units, ranging from studio apartments to three bedroom units. These structures impose themselves in this area with the pretext that living here will “Revitalise the Gosford CBD”. How is this so? Already there are units (called The Albany) being constructed on the corner of Albany and York St.
There are DAs submitted for Lynn apartment blocks and others in the pipeline. In all, there will be over 300 more residences in the area. Can you imagine the changes and the process involved in this project? Can you visualise the impact on the current residences? The objections listed cover many issues including: street parking and access; traffi c congestion, especially at morning and afternoon peak periods; and, pedestrian and school traffi c safety (St Edwards and Gosford East Primary School are in the vicinity). Residential impacts include access to light, solar power, overshadowing, views, noise levels and privacy.
Other objections include changes to the micro climate (access to the summer north easterly breeze) and tree and vegetation removal. The character of the area is principally low level residential housing for families. This, no doubt, will become elevated block apartments for urban commuters keen to join the Central Coast Highway to make their way up or down the M1. Now, how do you get onto the Central Coast Highway? The multi-million dollar upgrade of the Frederick St lights is the only change to infrastructure in the area. Over 42,000 vehicles pass out and in along this road each day.
The access can only be left at Albany St, you have limited time at the lights in Frederick St and Masons Pde can often be a nightmare. This is the infrastructure, yet the developer makes a case that it would not be a problem. It seems that neither the developer nor the council consider DAs for large unit blocks in aggregate. Each application makes a case for its impact and not the cumulative impact. And how about this attitude in correspondence between the unidentifi ed developer and the real estate agent acting on his behalf: “As discussed, our previous offers to purchase (name withheld) property have been rejected despite the fact that we have offered above market prices to purchase. “I am sure you have discussed the benefits of selling now rather than later, and what options we could provide to accommodate him in a new development.”
And then: “Please approach (name withheld) with what will be our last offer before submitting a DA to Gosford City Council. “We are fl exible and will work … to accommodate his preference … another arrangement, possibly exchanging property for an agreed some (sum) in the new development, we are happy to talk.” Maybe the resident likes his home and likes his location and is a part of the neighbourhood and the community that he has lived in for the past 25 years. Such actions and methods bring to mind the impact of white settlement on the traditional owners of this land. How far have we come?
Email, Aug 18, 2016 Lesley and Bruce Forbes, Point Frederick