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Coffs Harbour

Argyll Estate – Frequently asked questions

What is happening?

We are looking to renew the Argyll Estate with a mix of social and private housing.

To allow this to happen, the estate will need to be rezoned for medium-density housing.

After consulting with the community in February and March 2022, the City of Coffs Harbour has proposed changing its planning rules to allow this kind of development.

The proposed changes are detailed in the council’s:

  • draft Planning Proposal (amendment to Local Environmental Plan)
  • draft amendment to Development Control Plan 2015
  • draft Contributions Plan.

The council is currently reviewing community feedback.

What is a planning proposal?

A planning proposal is a proposal to change the rules for the types of new buildings that can be built, where, and to what height.

A development control plan provides details about what should be included in the building designs, including adequate setbacks, private open space, solar access and any elements to mitigate potential flooding or other environmental factors.

A contributions plan identifies infrastructure and public facilities, such as footpaths, park improvements and street trees, that could be provided to support additional residents in an area. Contributions plans also identify financial contributions that developers must pay to the council so the council can provide the upgraded infrastructure and facilities.

If the rezoning is approved, how will the area change?

We plan to replace the ageing dwellings on the Argyll Estate with new social and privately owned housing. The number and types of homes has not been finalised, but there will be a range of smaller 1- and 2-bedroom dwellings to accommodate singles and couples, and houses to accommodate larger families.

Private landowners will also be able to apply to redevelop if they wish.

When renewing concentrated areas of social housing, we look to create neighbourhoods that can be home to a range of different people who can create vibrant and interesting communities together. Such communities contain a mix of modern:

  • privately owned units
  • affordable units (for key workers such as teachers and nurses)
  • social housing for people in need.

They also offer richer, more pleasant surroundings with:

  • more useable open green space
  • improved community facilities
  • better road networks with transport links
  • improved retail spaces.

What is the timeline for rezoning?

September to late 2022 – the council reviewed community feedback and will decide whether or not to adopt the proposed plans. If the proposed changes are endorsed, the draft plans will be adopted and come into force.

2023 onwards – the NSW Land and Housing Corporation and other property owners can start to plan for renewal and lodge development applications for medium density housing once the changes to the Local Environmental Plan are endorsed and gazetted by the Department of Planning and Environment.

Why is Argyll Estate being renewed?

The social housing in Argyll Estate was built in a different time, for different needs.

  • Most housing at the estate was built in the 1960s and 1970s – these homes are nearing the end of their intended lifespan and are increasingly difficult to maintain.
  • 72% of social dwellings in the existing estate are 3-bedroom or 4-bedroom cottages. Many are occupied by only 1 or 2 people, meaning they are underused.
  • Today, almost 60% of social housing residents are over 60 years old, but the cottages at the Argyll Estate were not built for older residents and residents with limited mobility who can struggle with stairs and narrow hallways.
  • 84% of the people on our priority waitlist for social housing are applying for 1- or 2 bedroom homes – homes that the existing estate cannot provide.

Renewing Argyll Estate will provide better facilities for the whole community

Providing improved parks and open spaces, and better community facilities within walking distance of local shops can make it easier to do everyday things, like grocery shopping and meeting with friends.

Coffs Harbour has already been identified by state and local governments as a suitable location to increase housing supply, diversity and affordability. Argyll Estate is in a key location well served by public transport.

The proposed renewal will revitalise the area

Residents of the additional homes will:

  • support local businesses
  • strengthen the Coffs Harbour town centre
  • stimulate further commercial and retail development in the area.

How much social housing will the renewal deliver?

The number and types of social, affordable and private homes has not been finalised. There will be a range of smaller 1– and 2-bedroom dwellings to accommodate singles and couples, and houses to accommodate larger families.

Detailed plans will be developed in consultation with the community to inform the type of housing built. We will share information on the housing mix in future updates.

Will the social and private housing be similar in size and look?

Our new social housing is contemporary in design and is intended to be indistinguishable from private housing in the area. Social and private housing will be built to the same high standards and will be a mix of 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom dwellings to cater for different people’s needs.

We worked closely with the Government Architect to develop the Good Design for Social Housing (PDF, 3551.63 KB) requirements, which will be implemented in future design for social housing in the Argyll Estate.

All social housing will also be built to at least the Silver Level Standard of the Livable Housing Design Guidelines, providing improved accessibility for older people and people with disabilities.

How will existing social housing residents be supported during the renewal?

The Argyll Estate renewal is a long-term project that would be delivered in stages over the next 10 years. It is important to note that if you are a social housing resident you will not be asked to move straight away.

We understand that relocating can be difficult. If you are an existing resident, Land and Housing Corporation, Aboriginal Housing Office and the community housing providers for Argyll Estate are committed to working with you to understand your needs and find you alternative accommodation that meets them.

When would relocations start?

If you are a social housing resident, you will receive at least 6 months’ notice ahead of any relocation and will receive regular updates throughout the process. Leading up to the time to move, your tenancy manager will work with you to create a relocation plan, and all reasonable relocation costs will be covered. You may be relocated to a vacant property in the surrounding area or in the Argyll Estate as new social homes become available.

If you wish to move into a new home in the Argyll Estate after the renewal, you will be offered the right to return should you continue to satisfy social housing eligibility requirements and suitable housing is available.

How will you meet the needs of First Nations Australians living in the area?

We are committed to supporting and enhancing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Argyll Estate community.

Engagement started in February this year and should the renewal receive planning approval, will continue throughout the duration of the project.

We understand that the Aboriginal community has a strong connection to Argyll Estate, with some families living there for generations. We are committed to working with the Aboriginal community and supporting members throughout the renewal of the estate. A dedicated Relocations Officer will be appointed to work with the community to understand housing needs and find suitable accommodation. People may be relocated to vacant properties in the surrounding area or in the Argyll Estate as new social homes become available.

We will work with the Aboriginal community and implement the NSW Government’s Connecting with Country draft framework across the project to acknowledge, respect and celebrate the integral role that Aboriginal cultures and heritages plays in the area.

The Aboriginal Housing Office and the local Aboriginal land council are landowners in the Argyll Estate and are working with us to ensure cultural needs are incorporated.

The NSW Land and Housing Corporation will also prioritise Aboriginal procurement and workforce participation during construction and seek to create more job opportunities for the local Aboriginal community.

What will happen to privately owned land in the estate?

The privately owned land is also subject to the change to the planning rules. Private landowners may choose to redevelop in accordance with the rezoning proposal, should it be approved. But they may also choose to retain their homes as they are. Land and Housing Corporation and the council will not acquire or redevelop private land.

How will increased demand for regional services be addressed?

We will continue to engage with government agencies, including the NSW Department of Education, Transport for NSW and NSW Health, and non-government service providers throughout the renewal process to help shape future staging and delivery of services.

What else is going on in the area?

We have delivered 37 extra social homes in the Coffs Harbour local government area in the past 10 years. We are planning an additional 20 new social homes in the coming years and identifying potential sites for redevelopment.

What is Land and Housing Corporation?

Our work is to actively grow and manage the supply of the right types of housing, at the right time, in the right areas, for people in need in our communities.

Our work supports the government’s priority to reduce street homelessness by actively growing and managing the supply of the right types of housing, at the right time, in the right areas, for people in need in our communities. We work in every corner of our state, from the diverse metropolitan suburbs of Sydney to regional cities like Coffs Harbour.

More and more, social housing is a safety net for people in need who can’t afford to house themselves. Most tenants are older, past working age and live alone. The high demand for social and affordable housing continues to outstrip supply.

More information

If you are a resident of Argyll Estate, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have. Please call us on 1800 738 718 or email us at communityengagement@facs.nsw.gov.au to schedule a time that suits you best.

We will continue to keep you informed through regular newsletters, website updates and community events.

For questions about social housing tenancy leases and maintenance, please contact your tenancy manager, using the following details: