It would be reasonable to say that there is confusion by Manly residents of the terms 'boarding house' vs 'affordable housing' due to the areas long history of boarding house accommodation.
So here's some quick background: Under the NSW SEPP (State Environmental Planning Policy) legislation, which overrides local council's Local Environment Plans, new types of housing have been allowed in an attempt to overcome Sydney's housing crisis. These include 'New Generation' Boarding Houses and housing for seniors
This type of housing has been referred to as 'affordable' but is not to be confused with social or crisis housing provided by the Department of Housing and others.
Because the cost of land, and limited floor space ratios allowed with these developments within Manly, we are in effect talking about “Studio Rooms” not the old-style boarding house accommodation. $350 per week rent for a self-contained room with kitchenette & en-suite bathroom is targeting quite a different group of residents – fulfilling the need of accommodation for international students, young professionals and maybe even those in-between marriages!
To get these types of developments moving quickly, the State Government has made them very attractive to developers with a number of usual taxes and Section 94 contributions removed. The policy also allows for smaller rooms, a limited need for providing car parking spaces and other amenities than would usually be required for a new development.
Current examples of DAs for Boarding Houses include:
323 Sydney Road, Manly - 14 studios (no car park spaces)
135 Griffiths St, Balgowlah - 17 studios
112 Sydney Rd, Manly, 21 studios (6 car spaces)
120 Pittwater Rd, Manly, 10 studios (no parking) *
(*No 120 Pittwater Rd was recently approved by MIAP following two years of to-ing and fro-ing. Although no car parking spaces have been provided, it was an agreement that residents would not be entitled to Resident Parking Permits.)
To address the issue Manly Council recently made changes to its LEP in the hope of adding more controls to the developments, although, of course, at the end of the day it's the State Government's SEPP that has precedent.
This LEP is currently on exhibition.
Candy Bingham, Manly Ward Councillor on Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations and community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.