An article regarding the 6 Paine St development has just been published in the Hobsons Bay Weekly.
It’s an excellent article highlighting how residents around the development reacted to the developer’s letter.
Just a note on the article, we trust readers understand surrounding residents are not opposing the option of social housing, residents are concerned about these key issues:
- The ridiculous size and physical impact of the development regardless of it being private housing, social housing, or anything else. Any proposal should at least be sympathetic to heritage overlay zoning and comply with Council’s development guidelines.
- Peter Cahill (the developer) using a much larger alternate proposal to concern residents into being more receptive of his preferred plan.
Article and picture below.. or go to the article at the Hobsons Bay Weekly website.
Newport apartments or social housing? ‘You decide’
NEWPORT residents say they feel “blackmailed” by a developer’s letter which “threatens” the neighbourhood with a social housing scheme unless they approve of his ‘designer’ apartments.
As reported by the Weekly in April, plans for a three-storey, 42-dwelling apartment block at the former Newport timber yard were rejected by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
More than 80 objections had been lodged with Hobsons Bay Council against the proposal for a black, cement-sheet apartment block.
In a letter dated July 21, Domain Hill Property Group managing director Peter Cahill states that if residents do not accept his new designs, a four-storey, 136-dwelling social housing complex could be built without council approval.
Mr Cahill states that a number of local residents are concerned about the site being potentially developed for social housing.
“Whilst I am prepared to be open and transparent that social housing is a legitimate alternative for us, I wish to emphasise it is not our preferred option,” he writes. “A social housing scheme of 136 apartments over four levels has been designed for the site and presented to us.
“The social housing option – which would normally be approved direct though the state government and not via council – does not preclude us from submitting a separate and independent planning application to council for upmarket designer townhouses.”
Resident Anthony Simmons said many viewed the letter as an ultimatum. “He seems to be threatening or trying to blackmail people. [Residents] think it’s quite an underhanded approach and not going through proper process. We’re feeling a bit under threat.”
Resident John Laurie said Mr Cahill was threatening the neighbourhood with a four-storey social housing scheme unless they accepted his so-called ‘designer’ apartments.
“Threatening the residents of Newport to get what you want doesn’t seem too ethical – or sensible – to me,” he said.
Williamstown MP Wade Noonan labelled the letter “bizarre”.
“I think the developer is adopting a rather dubious approach to this site. Having lost at VCAT earlier this year, the developer now seems to be saying that if they don’t get their way they may move to a plan-B social housing option – it’s quite bizarre.
“The other thing to be said here is that the developer is not correct when they say that a social housing application would normally be approved directly by the state government and not via the council.
“This process was only in place during the global financial crisis to support the Commonwealth government’s stimulus package. To that extent the developer is misleading the public.”
Mr Cahill told the Weekly that while a social housing project would probably be more profitable for him, his preference was for upmarket townhouses.
He denied his letter was a threat and said that Mr Noonan was wrong, based on professional advice received.
“I can’t control how someone can interpret something, nor can I control people’s emotions,” he said of his letter.
“All I can do is be transparent and outline the facts.
“As I stated in my letter, my preference is to proceed with an upmarket townhouse project – not sure I could have made it any clearer.
“My aim was to avoid any confusion so that people do not misinterpret our new planning application.”