Review of affordable housing policy sought

Affordable Housing. Image: Creative Commons

The NSW Minister for Planning and Infrastructure will receive a letter from Central Coast Council seeking a review of the affordable housing State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP), as a result of a motion put by Councillor Louise Greenaway.

Clr Greenaway said the motion calling for a review of the Affordable Housing SEPP was the result of concerns raised by resident groups who have been fighting the development of boarding houses in quiet residential areas on the Coast. She said three recent examples of boarding house developments that did not respect the local character and amenity of existing communities were in Ourimbah, Lake Haven and Warnervale.

The Stop Glenn Road campaign in Ourimbah has been campaigning against various versions of a development application to build a multi-storey boarding house since 2014. Residents in Gorokan Dve, Lake Haven, most of whom are public housing or Aboriginal Housing tenants, have also asked Clr Greenaway for assistance in opposing a boarding house approved by Wyong Council in 2016, at 33 Gorokan Dve.

A single dwelling will be replaced by a 20-room, two-storey boarding house, including a manager’s residence, according to the development assessment report that was completed by Wyong Council at the time the project was granted approval. Councillor Greenaway said residents were not informed about the DA prior to approval because letters were sent to the landowners, not the occupants of surrounding properties. She said they were concerned about parking, overdevelopment, the lack of offsets and the general inappropriate density of the development in a neighbourhood characterised by single dwelling and single storey properties.

“Why put it in a residential area, why not put it near Warnervale shopping centre?” said one Aboriginal Housing tenant, who did not wish to be named, but had lived nearby for 11 years. “Tenders finished on January 11, and now the $800,000 building is valued at $1.5 million,” he said. “I contacted Council and asked to see the plans, and it is a massive monstrosity that will cover the whole block except for 25 metres at the back, which was allocated for four car parks, which will not be enough when there can be 8 to 16 people living there.” “The house line in this area is back about six metres from the footpath, but the building on this block will be 1.8 metres from the footpath and two storeys tall.

“It is a standard house block and they are building a massive complex, they say it is not allowed to be out of character for the area, but the second storey is going to be looking into my backyard and the privacy of the five flats on the other side will be invaded,” he said. Clr Greenaway said residents of Wyreema Rd at Warnervale were also fighting a boarding house proposal that had not yet been approved by Council. She said the circumstances were very similar to those of the Lake Haven and Gorokan experiences, where the proposed affordable housing would change the character of the area. “I am seeking a review of the Affordable Housing SEPP to provide for this much-needed housing in a form that respects local character and the amenity of the whole community, and allows us to plan infrastructure to support them,” Clr Greenaway said.

“Public transport, onsite parking or car share arrangements, and density controls should be included in the review,” she said. Clr Greenaway’s motion, which was adopted unanimously, also called for Council to work with the NSW Government to deliver appropriate affordable housing outcomes for the Coast. She said she was aware of other Councils who had also called for a review of the SEPP.

Source: Agenda item 6.5, Mar 12 Interview, Mar 16 Louise Greenaway, Central Coast Council DA371/2016, Wyong DA Tracker Jackie Pearson, journalist

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