Public housing plans opposed

Concerned: Residents Pat Dryland (left), Howard Whitesmith and Yvonne Whitesmith outside two of the Sturdee St houses that will make way for public housing. Picture: ORLANDO CHIODOTowradgi residents have formed an action group to fight plans to build medium density public housing in their neighbourhood. Around 30 residents met on Sunday to discuss the proposal to demolish three Housing NSW properties at 1-5 Sturdee St and build 17 public housing units.Tenants have already moved out of the three houses targeted for the project.The concerned homeowners formed the Towradgi Action Group and have planned another meeting at the Towradgi hall, on Pioneer Rd, today from 6pm. Residents fear the State Government department has similar plans for three more houses at 16-20 Sturdee St.A Housing NSW spokesman confirmed the plan was to build 17 units for senior residents at 1-5 Sturdee St. Work was expected to start in September and could be completed by the middle of next year.”To date, this is the only site approved for redevelopment and will replace three two-bedroom fibro 1950s cottages which have come to the end of their lifespan,” the spokesman said.Towradgi resident Pat Dryland, who built a new home four years ago, said many people who bought homes in the area were told by real estate agents that Housing NSW was gradually selling up older properties. But Ms Dryland said the development appeared to be the result of the Federal Government’s stimulus package. “The clustering of public housing is what bothers us,” Ms Dryland said.”More than 50 per cent of the area is already owned by the Department of Housing,” she noted. “I thought the policy was to disperse public housing, rather than concentrate it in particular areas.”She said residents had not been notified by Housing NSW of the specific proposal, which residents believed would generate extra traffic in the narrow streets.The Housing NSW spokesman said a letter advising neighbouring residents of the proposal would be sent later this month and they would have three weeks to provide feedback. The application will then be determined by the NSW Housing director general, rather than Wollongong City Council.Yvonne Whitesmith, a Towradgi resident for 10 years, said the funding would be better directed into selling the properties and buying land in a more affordable area. “There are already 67 public housing properties in the area bounded by Moray Rd, Towradgi Rd, Pioneer Rd and Sturdee St – and just 24 private dwellings,” Ms Whitesmith said.”It is the wrong mix, according to Housing NSW’s own policy,” she added.
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