City News

Waterloo social housing upgrade not enough for the city’s housing crisis

Planning Minister Rob Stokes has approved new plans for redevelopment of Waterloo South. Photo: City of Sydney

By SASHA FOOT 

Planning Minister Rob Stokes has approved revised plans for Waterloo South’s redevelopment but concerns remain that the amount of social and affordable housing is insufficient.

The proposal has allocated an extra 98 social housing units to the development – an increase from the site’s 789 existing residences.     

Member for Newtown Jenny Leong opposed the plans. 

“This outcome is an unacceptable destruction of our public housing,” Leong said.     

“[The Government] should at the very least be using it as an opportunity to significantly increase the public and social housing in our city to address the crisis in homelessness and affordable housing in this state.”

The Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) and the City of Sydney endorsed the development of 920 social housing units and 613 affordable renting housing units, yet the approved plans comprise 237 community housing units which make up just 10% of the site’s residences.     

“By the time it’s done only 27% of the site will be social housing – that’s more than 60% turned over to the private housing market,” Leong said.    

An ongoing issue

The City of Sydney is also concerned that the number of social and affordable housing units is insufficient.    

“The proposal seeks to redevelop public housing, on public land, in the middle of a housing crisis. The redevelopment of Waterloo South must deliver more social and affordable housing, permanently,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore told City Hub.     

Moore understands that addressing the number of social housing units is an ongoing issue.  

“We will continue to work closely with the State Government to ensure more needed social and affordable housing is part of the mix,” she said.    

“The demand for social and affordable housing in the city has never been greater.”  

The Waterloo estate consists of three separate precincts: Waterloo North, Waterloo Central and Waterloo South. Waterloo South takes up 65 per cent of the entire estate.     

In 2017, the Minister of Planning and Public Spaces declared the Waterloo South area as a State Significance Precinct. This means the State was able to overrule the Council’s planning processes. 

Ongoing deliberations between the LAHC and the City of Sydney resulted in the Department of Planning intervening in March. The Department of Planning became both the Planning Proposal Authority and the initiator for the Gateway process, with an advisory group also working with the Department.    

The City of Sydney signalled their support for the determination.    

“The Land and Housing Corporation’s proposal had height and density even greater than development in the CBD,” Moore told City Hub.     

“[The] Gateway Determination will result in far better-built form and amenity as it supports the City’s improvements”.   

The release of the determination will place the proposal on public exhibition later this year. 

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