9 October 2020

Doma gets green light for Red Hill public housing site redevelopment

| Ian Bushnell
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The Parks development

A render of the proposed development. Image: Doma Group.

Doma Group’s redevelopment of the former Red Hill public housing site has been given the green light, subject to a range of conditions.

Doma last year lodged twin development applications for 136 dwellings across six blocks bordering the central Lady Nelson Park, including areas that will be pedestrian thoroughfares.

Known as ‘The Parks’, the project has been designed by Stewart Architecture and split into two development applications of 68 apartments each with four storeys plus an attic, and two levels of basement parking.

The project provides a mix of one, two and three-bedroom Euro-style apartments with two levels of basement parking.

The plans say the buildings are designed as a series of ‘townhomes’ which step-up the slope and provide address to all streets.

Doma bought the 53,000 square metre public house housing land with Stockland in 2018 for $50 million. The sites are part of a wider precinct that has been designed within an approved Estate Development Plan.

The entire Red Hill Precinct will eventually contain more than 250 dwellings. Stockland plans to build 108 single-dwelling sites comprising 25 land lots and 83 luxury townhomes.

Doma’s two DAs cover Blocks 2, 3 and 8 Section 26 – a combined 3954 square metre site bounded by Discovery Street, Lady Nelson Place, Cygnet Drive and Aviemore Lane – while Blocks 5, 6 and 7 Section 60 Red Hill is a combined 4138 square metre site bounded by Discovery Street, Lady Nelson Place, Cygnet Drive and Cutty Sark Lane.

Estate development plan

The estate development plan for the Red Hill development.

They are near the Red Hill shops (CZ4 Local Centre) and separated by Lady Nelson Park, one of six public open spaces within the precinct.

As a result of the assessment, Doma made design changes to the original submission including lowering buildings on Block 3 Section 26 and Block 5 Section 60, modifications to the proposed attic levels including reducing the height of dormer elements, increasing the setback of dormer elements from the façade and incorporating planters on Section 26.

It also increased the glazed sill height of the attic level windows, and provided more privacy screening on Section 26.

Also required is an intercom and remote barrier release system – or other suitable solution, to allow access to the accessible visitor car parking spaces in the basement.

Blocks 7 and 8 also need to be identified as easements, and any work on Block 7 must be done as part of the development.

The pedestrian path on Block 5 Section 60 between Cutty Sark Lane and Lady Nelson Place must be revised to allow for accessible travel.

The Conservator of Flora and Fauna required that the large regulated oak on the Section 26 site be protected and Doma was urged to engage an arborist to support other trees that were being affected by the necessary asbestos mitigation work.

A Level 5 Arborist or a qualified landscape architect must be engaged to supervise the installation and delivery of all approved landscaping works.

Work cannot start until the findings of the independent contamination audit is reviewed and endorsed by the EPA.

No works are to be undertaken, vehicles parked, or material to stored on public land without permission from Transport Canberra and City Services.

Doma must also get the all-clear from Icon Water and TCCS before commencing work.

It expects to start construction on the apartments in 2021 after the public parks take shape by the end of the year.

They are due to be completed by mid-2022.

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Just like the flats across the road from the Canberra Centre. Many hundreds of public housing tenants sent to the outer rim of Canberra so the rich can enjoy prime locations, services and facilities. Public housing land sold off to make property developers richer.

I’m sure the original plan was for 500 dwellings of both public housing and private housing.

Then got cut back to 250 dwellings all private housing. They will of course all be affordable housing (if you’re Bill Gates or Twiggy Forrest).

Many first home buyers, to use your words, are also “sent to the outer rim of Canberra”. The public housing tenants wont be alone there. They will live near home buyers. However, public housing is still being build in inner suburbs as well. Public housing should be spread out through the city, not all concentrated in inner suburbs. That’s the America style; poor housing in the inner city, and that works out well.

What are you talking about? I’m not saying all public housing should be in the inner city and not spread around Canberra. I absolutely want public housing spread evenly across Canberra.

You’re likely cherry picking some US inner city public housing issues. It’s definitely not widespread public housing covering American inner cities.

But you have either missed the analysis the ABC undertook about the issue or have misunderstood where all those tenants from Northbourne, Braddon, Reid, Griffith and Red Hill have been moved to. I can guarantee their not living it up in a fancy apartment in New Acton.

But the clear problem was that previously we did have an extremely concentrated public housing rate in the inner city, with very low levels in some suburbs.

So all that has happened is a rebalancing of public housing rates to spread them out amongst the suburbs and most definitely not to the “outer rim” as you’ve claimed.

This is why you’ve seen so many complaints from the NIMBY’s who’ve previously not had to put up with much public housing nearby.

I think it was far more ridiculous under the previous situation, where public housing tenants were given units on prime inner city land, whilst working families were forced to the outer suburbs because they couldn’t afford anywhere else.

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