Sunday, September 19, 2021
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Waterloo South taking shape

The Department of Planning, Infrastructure and Environment (DPIE) has released its assessment of Waterloo South.

As it was the Council proposal, with three towers on McEvoy Street, which was submitted for assessment, a modified Council proposal will go to public exhibition in coming months. DPIE has asked for more work on the proposal before it is exhibited.

The Minister established an Independent Advisory Group (IAG) to advise DPIE and assess the commercial viability of the proposal. The IAG assessed that Council’s proposal for 20 per cent affordable housing in addition to 30 per cent social housing was not viable under LAHC’s requirement to self-fund.

The IAG modelled a viable option that could deliver up to 10 per cent affordable housing. This model has been adopted in the DPIE determination and, if viable after further testing, would deliver a 30/70 split of the combined social (at least 847 units) and market housing (1,976 units) with 237 units of affordable housing constructed and owned by a Community Housing Provider. This would deliver 27.7 per cent social housing, 7.7 per cent community housing-owned affordable housing and 64.6 per cent market housing.

The IAG recognises the density is very high for a residential precinct, but concludes it is necessary for the project to be viable. It stipulated that to accommodate the proposed density, the precinct must be developed with the highest urban amenity and design quality, including design excellence.

On built form the IAG and DPIE propose to reduce some heights on the mid-rise buildings to provide better solar access by moving 160 units into the proposed cut-out areas in Council’s planned high-rises. These gaps were for wind mitigation so a different wind solution is needed.

There is much interesting information in the Independent Advisory Committee and the Gateway Determination reports. The IAG report reveals that LAHC’s social housing units will not be the same size as market houses so 30 per cent of these units will not be the same as 30 per cent of the gross floor area. It also revealed that LAHC included affordable housing in its 30 per cent social housing rather than in the 70 per cent market.

The documents can be accessed through DPIE’s Waterloo Estate website.

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