Hawkesbury Council refuses Richmond boarding house development application

The back of 179 Windsor Street, Richmond. A development application was lodged and then refused by Hawkesbury Council to build a 17-room baording house on the site. Picture: Geoff Jones
The back of 179 Windsor Street, Richmond. A development application was lodged and then refused by Hawkesbury Council to build a 17-room baording house on the site. Picture: Geoff Jones

HAWKESBURY Council refused an application for a boarding house in the heart of Richmond at its latest meeting and the issue could head to the courts.

On August 8, Council unanimously voted to refuse the application for a 17 room boarding house at 179 Windsor Street, Richmond.

The application was for 17 rooms, with two people per room. Council staff said none of the rooms exceeded 25-square metres.

An appeal has been launched in the Land and Environment Court over Council’s deemed refusal. A meeting of the two parties is scheduled for September 11.

Council’s director of city planning Matthew Owens told The Gazette the meeting could resolve the difference between the two sides, but if not, the case would end up in court.

The front of 179 Windsor Street is nestled between the Richmond Post Office and the Kasalong Thai Restaurant, which backs onto the Service NSW Centre.

The building at the front is heritage listed. The application said it would be used as a home and office for the manager of the boarding house.

A car port at the back of the building would be demolished and the three-storey boarding house constructed in that space according to the application.

Greens councillor Danielle Wheeler said the proposed boarding house would be more aptly referred to as a warehouse.

“This simply doesn't provide a reasonable level of amenity for people who will live this. This is warehousing of people for a for-profit business,” she said.

Independent councillor John Ross was equally as dubious about the proposal.

“We are getting into a ghetto situation and I think as a Council we need to be very conscious of that,” he said.

“I would like to see affordable housing spread across the community to see a better blend of people in our communities.”

Mr Owens said there were a number of problems with the application.

He said the state’s boarding house act had a number of minimum standards for boarding houses, and the application failed to meet even them.

“We look at it that affordable housing should not be at any cost. There should be minimal amenities for example,” he said.

As the Council business paper noted: The proposal fails to comply with the room size, communal open space and parking controls of the Policy. The strata sub-division of the property is also prohibited under Clause 52 of the Affordable Rental Housing SEPP.

The application is one of three recent applications calling for boarding houses in the last few months.

Another application was lodged for a boarding house on March Street, while another was for one at the old Windsor Fire Station. It came before Council in late May and was deferred.

Two boarding houses already exist in the Hawkesbury.