Housing Dept and its weasel words

This excerpt from the submission to council for demolition

Shameful document showing the massive hyprocrisy of the Housing Dept.

 

5.3 EXPECTED SOCIAL BENEFITS INCLUDING AN ANALYSIS IN TERMS OF, FOR EXAMPLE, CAPACITY, ACCESSIBILITY, AMENITY AND DWELLING MIX

The development of new social housing on the Cowper Street site will provide a number of social benefits. The first two of these benefits, namely the increased capacity to meet housing need and the ability to provide more appropriate housing assistance, have been discussed at 5.2 above. In addition to these, the following benefits will be achieved:

  • Improved amenity – the proposed development will lead to significant improvements in streetscape, dwelling and site amenity in the estate, through the construction of new housing and improved road layouts. It is also expected that market-driven facilities, such as shopping/medical/recreational will be injected into the estate and/or in the adjoining vicinity following the completion of these well designed, environmentally sustainable housing developments. The project consists of blocks with built courtyards, substantial planting, extensive paved areas, lifts, communal entertaining areas, and roof spaces with drying spaces and clothesline. The apartments have balconies, north facing rooms and fencing that separate them from communal areas. The courtyards increase the length of perimeter wall, number of windows, sunlight and air to achieve cross ventilation.
  • The creation of a mixed community – The proposed development would provide a mix of housing tenures (50% market housing, 32% social housing and 18% affordable housing). Research has shown that increasing the mix of housing tenures in an area is an outcome which underpins housing-led regeneration programs across Australia. This can result in a

whole range of benefits including increased tenant satisfaction, economic participation, educational opportunities and improvements in health outcomes (Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute Research Synthesis Service, March 2009).

The overall social benefit for the entire Glebe estate from the proposed development is measured at almost $9.3 million per annum. The total return from a present value perspective, over 25 years, is calculated to be $108.2 million.

Evaluation by Housing NSW of the range of options for estate renewal has found that these benefits could not be achieved by simply renovating, upgrading or extending the existing social housing stock. Upgrading alone would only lead to a social benefit in the low/medium to medium range, while partial redevelopment increases it to medium/high to high. However, redevelopment within the existing planning controls for the site would not provide the optimum yield for the land and the contemplated mix of housing tenures. Furthermore, the relatively low yield would not attract a joint venture partner from the private sector.

5.4 DETAIL OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING, EXPECTED TENANT MIX AND MANAGEMENT

One of the key drivers for the proposed development is the need to increase the supply of affordable rental housing with the City of Sydney. As explained in 5.1 above the delivery of affordable housing will be achieved through the transfer of Housing NSW land to a not for profit developer which will use its own funds mixed with debt finance and grant funding from the NSW and Commonwealth Governments to develop 83 units of affordable rental housing.

A recent study into the supply of low cost rental housing in Australia found that “Among capital cities, Sydney stands out as the least affordable for low-income private renters. Not only does Sydney have a severe shortage of affordable stock (one available stock for every seven low-income households); it also has the worst situation in terms of stock availability (one affordable and available stock for every 15 low-income private renters)”. The shortage of low cost stock is evidenced by the very high levels of housing

 

Glebe Affordable Housing Project – Job No: 09070 REZ Page 4

 

 

leaflet no 3

Hands Off Glebe!

Protect our Community in Elger,Stirling, Cowper, Wentworth and Bay Streets!

 

We are calling on all residents of Glebe be they public tenants, private owners or private tenants to come out in support of public housing.

 

The Elger St Development is nothing but a con forced on us by a thoughtless and careless NSW State Government, we need MORE not less public housing.

 

The NSW Department of Housing is planning to get rid of public land and sell it to commercial and private interests for profit not for the good of our community.

 

We do not have to take it! Resist and protest and join with us. In recent months the residents ofNewtownrejected the reclamation of their homes by State Rail and were successful. We can do the same.

 

Who is next?

If we stand idly by and allow the Government to destroy perfectly good houses what will happen when the Government and developers come for your house?

 

Let’s look at the Dept of Housing handiwork. These homes opposite Redfern Oval have been surrounded with a fence and left to vandals to destroy while the city is crying out for more housing.

 

When asked the Dept of Housing replied they did not have approval for anything but they were still kicking people out of their homes by Xmas! Is this the fate of our Glebe houses? They have no plans except to get people out!

 

The Government claims that it is building better housing for public tenants, but the new units will be inferior to the existing units

Less access to light and ventilation with most bathroom fully

 

  • Less access to light and ventilation with most bathroom fully enclosed
  • Smaller units
  • No gardens or areas to dry washing
  • Overshadowing of units and open space on the site
  • Combined living, dining and kitchen even in 2 bedroom units
  • No parking for public tenants

The Government claims there will be more public housing in Cowper Street, but is this true?

  • There will be about 30 more social housing units but these won’t house more tenants. This is because most units in the proposed development will be 1 bedroom units. Only 40% will be 2 bedroom units. The existing units are a mix of studio units, 2 bedroom units and 3 bedroom units.

The Government claims the new units will ‘integrate’ public and private development

  • The private & affordable units will be built on the Bay, Wentworth andCowper Streetfrontages. The Social Housing component will be built at the southern end of the site frontingElger Street. Guess which parts will get the best sunlight and views?
  • ‘Integration’ is just another word for pushing public tenants out of Glebe.

 

Broken Promises!

  • In the mid 1980s the Federal Government gave the Glebe Estate to the NSW State Government. At the time the Minister said:

 

‘The Federal Government will ensure that the New South Wales Government pursues the original objectives of rehabilitating and preserving the historic townscape and protecting the low income community.’

(Chris Hurford, Minister for Housing & Construction, letter to tenants 12 September 1984.)

 

Some Historical background

These homes were built for public tenants in the 1950’s in an effort to house the people ofSydneywhen far sighted forefathers were aware of social need. They did a fantastic job. This contrasts to today where the ALP state and federal Governments are hell bent on privatising hard won land and facilities for the public. These Governments are more concerned with the big end of town rather the ordinary people.

 

What they are doing now will undo their good work by transforming the character of the built environment and the nature of the community who live here. High rise development is not appropriate in Glebe. It will dwarf surrounding development and overshadow it. The fourfold increase in density of development will create a slum and will increase traffic and parking problems in the area. The Department of Housing plans to extendElger StreetintoBay Streetand permit two way traffic fromBay Street, channelling traffic through the back streets of Glebe.

Hands Off Glebe call on the Federal and NSW State Governments to:

  • abandon the proposed demolition of public housing flats in Glebe;
  • abandon the proposed construction of public housing in Glebe as high rise high density development,
  • pursue the original objectives of the Glebe Estate namely the rehabilitation and preservation of the historic townscape of Glebe and the protection of its low income community.
  • divert funds allocated to the above proposals to the expansion and improvement of public housing stocks through infill development and maintaining and where required upgrading existing housing stock.

 

 

 

 

Leaflet number 2

Hands Off Glebe!

Protect our Community in Elger,Stirling, Cowper, Wentworth and Bay Streets!

 

We are calling on all residents of Glebe be they public tenants, private owners or private tenants to come out in support of public housing.

 

The Elger St Development is nothing but a con forced on us by a thoughtless and careless NSW State Government, we need MORE not less public housing.

 

The NSW Department of Housing is planning to get rid of public land and sell it to commercial and private interests for profit not for the good of our community.

 

We do not have to take it! Resist and protest and join with us. In recent months the residents ofNewtownrejected the reclamation of their homes by State Rail and were successful. We can do the same.

 

Who is next?

If we stand idly by and allow the Government to destroy perfectly good houses what will happen when the Government and developers come for your house?

 

Let’s look at the Dept of Housing handiwork. These homes opposite Redfern Oval have been surrounded with a fence and left to vandals to destroy while the city is crying out for more housing.

 

When asked the Dept of Housing replied they did not have approval for anything but they were still kicking people out of their homes by Xmas! Is this the fate of our Glebe houses? They have no plans except to get people out!

 

The Government claims that it is building better housing for public tenants, but the new units will be inferior to the existing units

Less access to light and ventilation with most bathroom fully

 

  • Less access to light and ventilation with most bathroom fully enclosed
  • Smaller units
  • No gardens or areas to dry washing
  • Overshadowing of units and open space on the site
  • Combined living, dining and kitchen even in 2 bedroom units
  • No parking for public tenants

The Government claims there will be more public housing in Cowper Street, but is this true?

  • There will be about 30 more social housing units but these won’t house more tenants. This is because most units in the proposed development will be 1 bedroom units. Only 40% will be 2 bedroom units. The existing units are a mix of studio units, 2 bedroom units and 3 bedroom units.

The Government claims the new units will ‘integrate’ public and private development

  • The private & affordable units will be built on the Bay, Wentworth andCowper Streetfrontages. The Social Housing component will be built at the southern end of the site frontingElger Street. Guess which parts will get the best sunlight and views?
  • ‘Integration’ is just another word for pushing public tenants out of Glebe.

 

Broken Promises!

  • In the mid 1980s the Federal Government gave the Glebe Estate to the NSW State Government. At the time the Minister said:

 

‘The Federal Government will ensure that the New South Wales Government pursues the original objectives of rehabilitating and preserving the historic townscape and protecting the low income community.’

(Chris Hurford, Minister for Housing & Construction, letter to tenants 12 September 1984.)

 

Some Historical background

These homes were built for public tenants in the 1950’s in an effort to house the people ofSydneywhen far sighted forefathers were aware of social need. They did a fantastic job. This contrasts to today where the ALP state and federal Governments are hell bent on privatising hard won land and facilities for the public. These Governments are more concerned with the big end of town rather the ordinary people.

 

What they are doing now will undo their good work by transforming the character of the built environment and the nature of the community who live here. High rise development is not appropriate in Glebe. It will dwarf surrounding development and overshadow it. The fourfold increase in density of development will create a slum and will increase traffic and parking problems in the area. The Department of Housing plans to extendElger StreetintoBay Streetand permit two way traffic fromBay Street, channelling traffic through the back streets of Glebe.

Hands Off Glebe call on the Federal and NSW State Governments to:

  • abandon the proposed demolition of public housing flats in Glebe;
  • abandon the proposed construction of public housing in Glebe as high rise high density development,
  • pursue the original objectives of the Glebe Estate namely the rehabilitation and preservation of the historic townscape of Glebe and the protection of its low income community.
  • divert funds allocated to the above proposals to the expansion and improvement of public housing stocks through infill development and maintaining and where required upgrading existing housing stock.

 

 

 

 

Demo Report

Destruction of Glebe Public Housing

By Denis Doherty

On Saturday November 27 the quiet streets of Glebe were rocked by chants of “Hands Off Glebe – Protect Public Housing” and ‘Stop the sell off!’ Local residents from the Hands Off Glebe group took their protest against the demolition of public homes to the office of the local State MP. The demonstration was just one of the many actions that have been undertaken by the action group.

 

The area of the Glebe Public Housing Estate earmarked for ‘development’ is a low rise medium density area with a long established community of 134 homes which are described as “robust and utilitarian”.

 

These are slated to be bulldozed and replaced by a high density development with 250 private units, shops, 80 “affordable” houses (also private) and 154 social housing units to be crowded into ten story tower blocks.

 

Redevelopment of the Cowper, Bay and Wentworth Streets public housing estate will bring smaller homes, over-crowding, more noise and traffic, loss of social networks and other problems – and the Government is going to pay over $100 million for this.

 

The noisy rally heard messages of support from the Millers Point Action Group which running a similar campaign in their suburb. Jack Mundey sent a message which said:

 

What you are doing here in Glebe is not just about saving your homes and your community.

It is also about helping to stop the State Government selling off public homes and public land, increasing profits for developers and pushing public tenants out to the outer suburbs – out of sight out of mind.

In Glebe it is yet another case of private profit winning out over community needs and wishes.

The rally was addressed by local residents and by Jamie Parker, the Mayor of Leichhardt. He promised to approach the NSW Minister for Housing to stop the bulldozers. He also indicated that the Greens Sydney City Councillors have swung their support in behind the protection of the present arrangement rather than supporting the Government’s plans.

 

With a State Government ruled by neo-liberalism so it does not provide services but assists the private sector to make more money, there is a great deal to be done to protect public housing across NSW..

The Cowper St Mess part 2

MA Essay by DD for a peace journalism course

Part 2 Theoretical

By Denis Doherty

 

Peace Journalism requires that the issues be conflict – solution oriented, in this case the transparency of the project has to be revealed. The necessity to attack the words ‘affordable housing’, ‘social mix’, and urban renewal is because this was not being carried or planned for; in fact it was a case of larceny. Reverse Robin Hood, ‘stealing from the poor to give to the rich’.

The parties to the conflict all had voices, the MP, the ALP Councillor who is the aunt of the MP and Housing NSW were in a good position to push their views while the those being operated on were seemingly powerless.

The MP and the Government want to be re-elected this year so they had to put the best face on what they were doing. The MP for the area is in one of the danger seats for the ALP where she may loose her seat to the Greens Candidate for the seat of Balmain. Jamie Parker the popular Mayor of Leichhardt is the Greens candidate for the seat. Hence the term ‘Glebe Affordable Housing Project’ was pushed by both State and Federal reps for the area. The local media has been described a real estate newsletters and they had no interest in pushing for truth about the project. In fact this development would bring more business their way.

Many of tenants of Housing NSW were passive but we knew that this type of passivity was due to a suppressed form of anger. The people themselves knew they were being conned but many kept their heads down but not all there are some who really believe that Housing NSW is doing a good job. Resistance and finding it was a major job for the media intervention fortunately the new development will threaten a nearby street of private owners with overshadowing. The residents of this street Queen St started the resistance. This group started out the ‘Hands off Glebe’ (HoG) the people of this group requested a media intervention strategy. They also extended their group into the Glebe Estate among the tenants of Housing NSW.

 

The campaign to save the dwellings located in the area of Glebe known as Cowper Street project is a classic dispossession story. The Government’s side is inspired by the tenets of neo-liberalism which means that Government should get smaller hence the need for providing housing to the state’s citizens can be done away with, and less tax which means in the case of housing ‘more’ is supposed with done with ‘less’. The result is that all over the state pubic housing is gradually being eroded and privatised. One councillor in the Campbelltown area described the process as ‘social cleansing.’

 

A classic mode of operation by the Government is to neglect the maintenance of the houses and ignore the pleas of tenants for renewals and improvements. Eventually due to the weather and the usual wear and tear the houses became uninhabitable and then Housing NSW magnanimously suggests that the house/block or estate will have to be sold as it is too expensive to repair.

 

The Cowper Street mess is the Glebe variant on this mode of operation. It has some of these elements as well as a few distinctive features. One drawback that the Housing Dept has is that they 2 years ago did massive repairs to the buildings plus put lifts in some of the blocks. The Housing Dept promised the tenants suitable replacements but dreadful flats with yellowing walls from years of heavy smoking with power sockets hanging out of the wall. Take up residence in these flats and Housing NSW will renovate but tenants with years of inaction by Housing NSW would not be convinced.

 

Housing NSW explained the following in a submission to Sydney City Council for a Development Application (DA):

“Evaluation by Housing NSW of the range of options for estate renewal has found that these benefits could not be achieved by simply renovating, upgrading or extending social housing stock. Upgrading alone would only lead to a social benefit in the low/medium to medium range, while partial redevelopment increases it to medium /high to high. However, redevelopment within the existing planning controls for the site would not provide the optimum yield for the land and the contemplated mix of housing tenures. Furthermore, the relatively low yield would not attract a joint venture partner from the private sector.

Housing NSW is laid bare in all its complicity, it wants to privatise and engage in a public private partnership which is the same as privatisation! The needs of the tenants do not rate considering once you have ‘yield’ meaning more people able to buy dwellings which equals profit. Housing NSW is in the business of real estate not housing!

 

The Demo Nov 2010

Make your opinion heard

Gather in Park cnr Glebe Street and Mitchell Sts at

12 noon and march to Verity Firth’s office

Saturday 27th November 2010

We need to stop what NSW Government is doing to the Elger andCowper Streetarea development.

Hear what is happening in this campaign

Find out what you do to help

Speakers

Resident ofElger St

Residents of Queen’s St

Jamie Parker Greens Candidate for Balmain

Denis Doherty – local activist and well known identity

Come to the Xmas Party

Houses in Leamington Ave Newtown were due for demolition to make way for a State Rail project.

This was stopped by a concerted campaign by residents and their supporters!

We can do the same!

We are calling on all residents of Glebe whether they are private owners or private tenants or public tenant to join us to save houses.

If they can ride over public tenants without regard for the community then they can do it anywhere and who will be next?

Join us to save the houses of Cowper St. Glebe.

THEY DID IT IN NEWTOWN. WE CAN DO IT IN GLEBE

The NSW Department of Housing is proposing the redevelopment of a housing estate in Glebe bounded by Wentworth Street, Bay Street, Cowper Street, and the rear of premises on Queen Street, on which are situated 129 flats occupied by Department of Housing.

Map of the site?

Why Are We Concerned?

The proposal threatens the uniqueness of the area’s largely intact medium density residential neighbourhood close to the CBD. Unlike other suburbs close to the CBD, containing mixed use areas with high density development, the Glebe Estate has been consistently used and occupied as low income residential housing for about 140 years.

According to the Department of Housing, the “robust but utilitarian” flats no longer meet the needs of its clients. The Department says that tenants are better served by smaller units(!?!).

Local, State and Federal Governments see the proposal as a convenient way to reach housing targets but where is their concern for the disadvantages to the local community?

Disadvantage:

  • Public land in the hands of private developers
  • Tenants thrown out of their homes: their social and support networks disrupted, their lives dislocated
  • Demolition of well-built and useful housing
  • Removal of well-established vegetation, including many mature trees
  • Green light to very large development with attendant social problems
  • Overshadowing of open space and surrounding houses by multi-storey (6-10 storeys high) development
  • Four-fold increase in housing density – a blight on an area with a consistent and moderate housing density
  • Traffic and parking problems: In an area already facing traffic congestion, the proposal to extend Elgar St to Bay St and to realign Phillip St will only help “rat runners” and will not improve traffic problems suffered by residents in the area
  • Does not address the crisis of affordable housing the two Housing Ministers say it does.

 

The latest information

The Department of Housing is planning to have everyone moved out by December 2010. The plans are not going on display for another month and the project is proceeding at pace to prevent questions being asked like the ones from Hands off Glebe.

They will not release accurate information on where they are going to situate the buildings and how many people will be jammed into that confined space.

But as always they are making room for shops and private business at the expense of the housing commission tenants of Cowper St.

Hands Off Glebe! Contact the State Government

The proposed redevelopment is the brainchild of the State Labor Government. We all know that the ALP State Government is heading for a disastrous election in March 2011, if this development goes ahead you need to tell them that they will further alienate you and you will be looking to put your vote elsewhere.

Verity Firth’s office is at 112A Glebe Point Road. She invites people to drop in between 9am – 5pm. Her telephone number is 9660 7586, and her Email is balmain@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Frank Terenzini State Housing Minister can be contacted on 9228 3777.Email: frank@terenzini.minister.nsw.gov.au

Hands Off Glebe! The Sydney City Council

Sydney City Council is preparing planning instruments to allow the proposal to go ahead. Tell the Mayor and Councillors what you think this proposal will do to the area and the community:

Clover Moore (Mayor) 9265 9229

Email: cmoore@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

Chris Harris (Greens) 0407 469 384 chris@chrisharris.org.au

If you’d like to help make sure that private developers keep their HANDS OFF GLEBE, please email: handsoffglebe@gmail.com