Boarding house bedlam
Beacon Hill residents say they are the latest victims of a boarding house epidemic occurring across the Manly Warringah area, with an 11-room property proposed for Cormack Road.
Locals are banding together to lobby Council to intercede on their behalf to fight the proposal, which falls under the Affordable Rental Housing provisions of the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP).
This latest proposal is one of a spate of boarding house applications on the Northern Beaches, including the recent approval of a 32-room house in Allambie Heights by the Land and Environment Court.
While the Beacon Hill application reflects changes that occurred in February this year, restricting boarding houses planned for R2 residential zones to a maximum 12 rooms, residents say the structure will be in contrast with the community and does not consider the steep rise and narrow width of the street.
Gopala Maurer, president of the Northern Beaches Strategic Group, says, “They’re not affordable, with most rooms listed at $400-$500 per week, they don’t meet compliance, and their design and the streets they’re going into do not support people with a disability.
“Developers are just exploiting the SEPP Affordable Housing policy.
“We would like boarding houses under the SEPP Affordable Housing Policy to be completely removed from R2 residential housing zones.”
Northern Beaches mayor Michael Regan says he too is dismayed at the nature of the developments being pushed through under affordable housing regulations.
“We try our best to say, ‘It’s out of character. It’s going to have issues,’ but Council is obligated, if it meets the criteria, to approve it.”
NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes, says the state government has acknowledged locals’ concerns by implementing the cap on rooms allowed for residential zone developments.
“We are continuing to work closely with the Northern Beaches Council to develop affordable housing solutions, while ensuring we protect and enhance the unique local character of neighbourhoods across the Northern Beaches,” he adds.