Stop The Community Housing Proposal in Wollert
Stop The Community Housing Proposal in Wollert
STOP THE COMMUNITY HOUSING PROPOSAL IN WOLLERT!
Who has the power to make this change: The City of Whittlesea Council.
Problem: The City of Whittlesea is looking at a proposal to provide more affordable housing by using ‘unused’ land they have in Wollert. This land is located at 1F Ashline Street and the City now proposes using this five hectares of land to provide affordable homes for people on low incomes.
My home in Wollert is located just a two minute drive away by car or less than four minute walk away over a 900 metre distance from the proposal. Wollert is where I chose to build my first home and I have happily lived here since 2014 having worked and saved hard to buy the land beforehand.
I love the suburb which has grown immeasurably in the time I have been there with community facilities, shops, schools both primary and secondary, train and bus stations springing up and is at a convenient commuting distance from where I work.
I fear that the amenity of my Wollert neighbourhood will suffer and the value of my property will plummet as a consequence of the proposal coming into effect. Other Wollert home owners and neighbours have also worked very hard and saved to buy their two storey and single storey homes and do not want to compromise their property values with the proposal coming into effect.
There are several reasons for my concern that come from what was stated on the City of Whittlesea website as follows:
1. The Council have on the website article stated that “the site is ideally located for
affordable housing because it is close to parks, schools, shops, public transport (356 and 358 bus lines) and other facilities.”
The site would of course also be immensely suitable and appropriate for a private
housing development for the very same reason.
2. The Council administrator on the website article stated that “We are confident we can secure a partnership with an experienced community housing organisation to ensure a design that fits in well with the local area.”
Although the Council believe that they can secure a partnership to ensure a design that fits in well with the local area, this is a strange statement in that one to three level (along Highpark Drive) multi-storey premises are intended to be used to accommodate as many people as possible. The number of dwellings was also not revealed on the website and could lead to overcrowding and associated crime.
The Council have on the website stated that “At this stage of the project, the architectural and site plans have not yet been prepared.” So, how do we know that the design of one to three stories will fit in well with the local area which has an assortment of single and two storey houses?
It was also stated on the website that “If endorsed to proceed, the community will be able to have input on any future development proposal designs.” The extent of the community input will no doubt be limited to what the engaged architectural firm considers reasonable and willing to accommodate design wise.
3. The Council have on the website stated that “Originally, Council had planned to build the Wollert East Community Centre on the site, but this Centre has since been moved to the neighbouring Wollert East P-12 School site. As a result, 1F Ashline Street is vacant and appropriately zoned for an affordable housing development.”
This statement appears to show that the Council deliberately planned to create a vacant Ashline Street site and then determine that it was appropriate to zone it for an affordable housing development? It can only be thought that having a community centre in a primary school site had some merit and this is what they did. There was also mention of the new community facility being currently under construction on the site of the Wollert East primary school.
4. The Council have on the website stated that “Affordable housing is for eligible
households on very low to moderate incomes. Rents are set to ensure the households can afford it, typically 25-30 per cent of the household income.”
The Council also stated on their website that “One in five households in our municipality is classified as having a very low income and one in three households who are renting are experiencing housing stress, which is defined as spending 30 per cent or more of household income on rent.”
As the rents are to be set at up to 30 per cent of the household income for the affordable housing then surely this contradictory statement will induce housing stress and mean that some people may not be able to afford it anyway.
5. The Council have on their website stated that “The Victorian Government defines very low to moderate income households as those with incomes up to $62,610 for single adults and $131,500 for families.”
If a rental value of a moderate 30% were applied to the moderate incomes of $62,610 for single adults and $131,500 for families then the annual rental values would then be in the order of $18,783 and $39,450 respectively for community housing.
Since the weekly rental values on average in Wollert for a private house was $595 and for a private unit was $360 last year, then the total average rental cost per year for a private house would typically be $21,840 and for a private unit would typically be $18,720 respectively.
If a single adult lived in a private Wollert unit, the rental cost would represent 18720/18783 x 30 = 29.9% of their annual moderate income. If a family lived in a private Wollert house, the rental cost would represent 21840/39450 x 30 = 16.6% of their annual moderate income.
Hence families with would typically gain no benefit from living in community housing if they had a moderate income since they would be charged $39,450 per annum rather than $21,840 per annum in a private Wollert house or an additional savings of $17,610 per annum for the privilege.
Single adults would typically gain no benefit from living in community housing if they had a moderate income since they would be charged $18,720 rent per annum for a private Wollert unit rather than $18,783 rent per annum for community housing and consequently save themselves $63 per annum for the privilege.
Generally it can be concluded that there is no gain for either a single adult or a family on moderate incomes to live in the proposed community housing! It is evident that renting of private houses by families would be much more economical and relatively stress-free.
6. The Council have on the website stated that “This affordable housing development would provide homes for vulnerable people, as well as lower income-earning key workers whose jobs are essential to the functioning and liveability of our municipality, such as childcare, health care and aged care workers, hospitality and retail staff, service industry staff and delivery personnel.” The Council also stated that “To be offered a tenancy in affordable housing, households must apply to the Victorian Housing Register.
The provision of homes for lower earning key workers whose jobs are essential is
undisputed; however the term “vulnerable people” needs further clarification by the Council, the type of Community Housing Organisation and what the Victorian Housing Register would expect of them.
There was no information given of how people would be selected or filtered for affordable housing by the Community Housing organisation or the Victorian Housing Register or whether they would be able to actually keep out unsuitable people.
Given that anyone on the register is eligible, the ability to exclude unsuitable applicants will be limited as it would be seen as discrimination. Effectively this means that discharged prisoners, drug users and people with criminal records would possibly still be eligible.
7. The Council had not mentioned on their website the obvious reduction in prestige and value of properties in the Wollert suburb due to the affordable housing development. Condensed public housing blocks generate negative perceptions of the area, inevitably resulting in the value of housing and units in in Wollert dropping and leading to residents leaving the area.
With increased selling of properties, the suburb would virtually become a ‘buyers’ market’ and further accentuate the spiralling downward trend in property values.
When I had first alerted people to the proposal on Facebook and expressed my dissatisfaction many people expressed their strong support for my objection and their disappointment with the Council. They anticipated that their property values would suffer as a consequence. Some residents are already contemplating selling up and moving to a suburb where affordable housing is spaced out and not concentrated.
This petition will hopefully enable concerned people such as you to express similar feelings and support to reduce any impacts upon the amenity and value of your property in what I consider to be one of the best suburbs of Melbourne.
Solution to the problem: The City of Whittlesea Council must consider other available options in Wollert, such as mixed housing developments or other suburbs in the City or beyond to provide more affordable social housing that will reduce any impacts upon the amenity and value of properties in Wollert.
How can you support this petition: You can show your support through one or more of the following:
1. Get involved directly with the Council – See explanation below.
2. Attending and contributing to the online information session to be conducted by the City of Whittlesea on Wednesday 6 October 2021 at 06:00 pm – 07:00 pm.
3. Responding to this petition.
4. Sending your response to the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org where this will be collated together with the results of the petition and submitted to the City of Whittlesea Strategic Planning.
How do you get involved directly with the Council.
Provide your feedback on the proposal to lease this land for an affordable housing
development by taking the following steps:
Fill out the online survey before 10 October 2021
Email email@example.com or call 9217 2056 to request a hard copy survey to be sent to you, which you can return to Council with the reply-paid envelope provided.
Have questions? Contact the Strategic Futures Team of the City of Whittlesea
-Phone: 9217 2056
Online information session by City of Whittlesea on Wednesday 6 October 2021 at
06:00 pm – 07:00 pm
Join this online community information session with Council Administrators to find out about the proposal and ask questions.