Residents demand say on group home plan

Londonderry MP Prue Car with John Batman Avenue residents. Photo: Megan Dunn.
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A proposed group home on John Batman Avenue, Werrington County, is being heavily opposed by residents, who are furious over the lack of community consultation on the matter.

The proposed development will see the demolition of an existing dwelling and the construction of a new group home, just a short walk down the road from Werrington County Public School.

Residents have flagged concerns over safety, property values and traffic congestion.

As it stands, group homes of up to 10 rooms can be developed as complying development through the Affordable Rental Housing State Environment Planning Policy.

This means it bypasses usual Development Application protocols and can be approved by a private certifier.

Applicants are only required to provide 14 days notice to direct neighbours of the application for a complying development certificate.

Journalist Nicola Barton speaking with Werrington residents. Photo: Megan Dunn.

Residents who received the notification letter were given the fortnight to discuss the proposed development with the applicant.

Werrington County resident Sheree Hope, who lives directly next to the property, is concerned it will attract trouble.

“We got a letter stating we have 14 days to not even object, basically just to say they’ve made a submission but not that they are under obligation to change the plans,” she said.

“The applicant was not forthcoming with the plans but that’s because they aren’t obliged. We have no say.”

Another resident, Peter Mckenzie, fears Werrington County will become “the new Kingswood” when it comes to clustering housing projects.

“Is it a halfway house?” he asked.

A spokesperson from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment said the development was a contribution of more affordable and diverse housing.

The spokesperson said the planning policy of complying development allowed more diverse housing to be delivered across the state.

“Complying development provides an alternate, more efficient pathway to a Development Application for straightforward development that fully complies with strict development standards,” the spokesperson said.

Londonderry MP Prue Car is calling on the State Government to amend the planning policy.

“The community has a right to ask the government why it is that the legislation gives them no right to object to a proposal of this sort on their street,” she said.

Londonderry MP Prue Car speaking with journalist Nicola Barton. Photo: Megan Dunn.

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