UrbanGrowth has announced that the renewal of the 'North Eveleigh' sub-precinct will primarily deliver "buildings between three and 20 storeys providing 600-700 new apartments with a total floor area of around 57,000 square metres providing homes for between 1,150 and 1,350 people" - in addition to amenities such as a small park.
But the project will deliver no Social or Affordable Housing.
Above: The 'Platform Apartments' development in North Eveleigh
The North Eveleigh sub-precinct is a 3.3 hectare site situated to the southwest of Redfern Station, between the Carriageworks site and Iverys Lane Newtown. Though comprised mostly of disused RailCorp land, it includes the 'Platform Apartments' development - consisting of 88 Affordable Housing units owned and managed by community housing provider City West housing. That development predates the Central to Eveleigh program, though a Sydney Morning Herald article provides that the NSW Government contributed the land and the cost of civil works.
An UrbanGrowth spokesman told the Herald that, including The Platform, the North Eveleigh site will include 11-13% Affordable Housing once works are complete. A spokesman told ABC News that other Central to Eveleigh sub-precincts may deliver Social and Affordable Housing.
City West Housing CEO Janelle Goulding told the Herald the provider is "surprised to hear" the North Eveleight sub-precinct development will not deliver Affordable Housing. Ms. Goulding also said, "At the end of the day affordable housing is so needed it shouldn't even be a discussion point".
Jenny Leong MP's electoral district of Newtown includes the North Eveleigh site, and much of the wider Central to Eveleigh precinct. On March 26, Ms. Leong posted an update to her Facebook page concerning the announcement. It reads, in part: "...affordable housing is critical to success of urban renewal...Shameful stuff and such a lost opportunity for the NSW Government to follow the lead of other global cities by establishing provisions for ensuring affordable housing is at the heart of urban renewal". Ms. Leong was also co-signatory to a November 2015 submission to UrbanGrowth that calls for 30% Affordable Housing at the North Eveleigh site. Other signatories included local interest groups REDWatch, Friends of Erskineville, Alexandria Residents Action Group, and North Eveleigh Working Group.
On March 26, Shadow Social Housing Minister Tania Mihailuk MP posted an update to her Facebook page concerning the announcement. It reads, in full: "Another backflip from this Government. Once again developers and investors are the winners and everybody else misses out". Ms. Mihailuk also told ABC News, "Clearly what the Government has already set aside there for its targets is not enough", and, "It's about this Government taking seriously the need to set social and affordable housing targets in each of their own developments".
Homelessness NSW described the announcement on its Facebook page as "an unbelievable decision that needs reversing".
We share much the same concerns regarding North Eveleigh as for The Bays Precinct. The site represents a sizeable package of disused and vacant State land, in a region experiencing an acute shortage of Social and Affordable Housing. The NSW Government has also emphasised the need to increase inner Sydney's 'social mix'.
Furthermore, North Eveleigh is situated in close proximity to the Waterloo site marked for redevelopment over the next 20 years. Approximately 2000 Public Housing tenants will be relocated over the life of that project. New Social Housing at North Eveleigh could have served as a site for temporary relocation, or a permanent new home, for some of the Waterloo tenants whose homes are marked for demolition.
The decision taken is therefore a missed opportunity in multiple respects.