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Issue #1530      7 December 2011

Sydney planners ignore community housing concerns

At the Central Sydney Planning Committee meeting on December 1, Lord Mayor Clover Moore and members of her team John McInerney and Di Tornai, together with Labor appointee Craig Knowles and former Liberal planning minister Robert Webster voted to go ahead with the Elger Street development, despite trenchant opposition from residents, residents action group Hands Off Glebe, and the Glebe Society.

Denis Doherty of Hands Off Glebe explained:

“In June of this year demolishers tore down 134 flats and ripped out 170 trees in what was a quiet cul de sac in Glebe. Most of the public land is to be sold off to pay for building new flats.

“There was nothing wrong with the old flats and they had gardens and parking and solar access that the new flats will lack.

“Residents at the meeting were told that the new flats will suit disabled people because lifts will be installed. These ‘planners’ don’t seem to realise that lifts were installed into the old units only a few years before they were demolished.”

Mr Doherty said the project will cost $170 million, most of it borne by taxpayers, and is aimed at delivering profits to developers at the expense of the Glebe community. He said the Elger Street development is “simply privatisation and is not a good, socially balanced development helping to meet our city’s housing needs.

“The council’s own report lists over 17 instances where the project does not conform to planning requirements yet the Planning Committee disregarded these obvious faults and voted in favour of the proposal.

“Residents’ objections have been comprehensively ignored since the project was announced in April 2008.

“Hands Off Glebe has been pressing for proper consultation about the future of the site for the past three and a half years.

“We and the Glebe Society are concerned about the impact of high rise, high density development on the adjacent Victorian townscape Glebe Estate, and on the local community.”

Mr Doherty pointed out that the NSW government proposes to extend Elger Street to Bay Street, a move which will inundate the eastern side of the Glebe Estate with traffic. He said the City of Sydney Council seems to be pursuing a social cleansing agenda by trying to reduce the proportion of public housing in the City from 10.4 percent (in 2006) to 7.5 percent as part of the Council’s 2030 Vision.

“The NSW government is spending millions of taxpayer’s dollars to build new housing, but each year since 2006 has seen further decline in the number of public housing tenancies, and those that are left are shockingly maintained.

“This NSW Liberal government does not even have a Minister for Housing and it is clear that decent affordable housing for low income earners is no longer a priority of government.

“Something must be done to correct the housing crisis. Tearing down inner city housing estates is not helping the situation.

“A decent home should be a right, not a source of profit.”

For more information, contact Denis Doherty on 0418 290 663  

Next article – Australia shatters its party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child

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