City News

Amended Glebe proposal a “great win” for social housing advocates

Concept art for the new development on Wentworth Park Road and Cowper Street in Glebe. Photo: NSW Government

By ALLISON HORE

Social housing advocates are celebrating a “huge win” following the announcement a new development proposed for Glebe would be fully set aside for social housing.

The proposed housing development which will spread across two sites in Glebe, 17-31 Cowper Street and 2A-2D Wentworth Park Road, has been amended to now deliver 100 percent social housing.

The $34 million project was initially expected to raise the number of social houses on the property from 19 to 35. But with 100 percent of the dwellings being allocated for social housing, there will now be 75 social housing residences on the site including five three-bedroom terrace houses suitable for larger families.

Behind, and across from the terrace houses, will be two eight-storey woolstore-style apartment buildings designed by architect Johnson Pilton Walker. Both buildings would have communal rooftop gardens for residents and non-residential ground floor spaces. Walker’s design was selected after a competitive process which four design teams were invited to participate in.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing, Melinda Pavey, said the reimagining of the development from mixed-tenure to one that is fully percent social housing will give the government “greater flexibility” to carry out other redevelopment projects across the city.

“This exciting project showcases the vision and quality of new social housing we’re delivering across the city – homes that complement and enhance the character of the Glebe area, and connect residents to jobs, transport links and vital community services,” she said.

“This landmark development will not only revitalise and increase social housing in this highly accessible and well serviced area, it will also provide a timely boost to the local economy and create around 160 jobs.”

A “credit to activism”

The project is just one piece in the puzzle of the NSW government’s push to deliver almost 4,300 new homes across the City of Sydney local government area. Of these homes, 1,300 will be social housing homes.

The announcement was welcome news for community groups who have been campaigning for more social and public housing in the area.

“That’s a great win and a true credit to community activism,” said City of Sydney councillor, Kerryn Phelps.

Jamie Parker, Greens member for Balmain, has been active in the campaign to save a number of public housing estates in Glebe. He said while the fight for other developments is ongoing, the reimagined proposal was a “huge social housing win.”

“This decision demonstrates that community action can and does change government decisions. I’ve been so proud to see the support for public housing tenants and the effort to maintain a diverse community,” he said.

“We’ll keep up the pressure on the Franklyn Street development but this is a great result.”

He said although the properties being delivered are social houses, rather than public, it would make no practical difference for the tenants. 

Social housing is administered by a not for profit housing organisation, rather than the government, but has to provide houses using the same rent caps and waiting list the government does.

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