This proposal is for 495 dwellings, in blocks of up to ten storeys. 247 are proposed to be private market units, 95 to be affordable and 153 public housing. There are 175 parking spaces (none for the public housing).

The proposal has always been controversial, because the site is an early public housing site (1953), and contained a number of multistorey blocks which were subsequently demolished and the tenants supposedly allocated new housing. This is unlikely to happen. Also, the original scheme included the adjacent City Council Depot site, and was a joint Local/State Government initiative. The City subsequently withdrew. Then there was a legal wrangle about the proposed public/private partnership, and the site was vacant for many years.

While all this was going on there were additional protests about the height and density of the proposal, especially as it was now on a significantly smaller site than originally proposed, and the impact on the adjacent areas of housing, which are a mixture of public and private, but lower density and part of the Conservation Area, including a number of Heritage Items.

Notwithstanding, the Stage 1 proposal was approved. Indeed, because this site is State-owned, any changes have to be acceptable to the Government. Currently, preparation of the site has begun, but a number of changes have been proposed, some of which improved dwellings’ outlook and accessibility, and also common areas.

The latest application is for modification to the height of one building to include a roof garden, and some minor projections beyond the envelope to include balconies. A bit like shifting deckchairs on the Titanic, the nature of the development has not significantly been changed, and I doubt whether it is any worse for surrounding residents. Some of the changes may improve the outcome for some of the new occupants.