Proposed sale of land (Maude/Nixon and Edward Streets Car Park) for Social Housing Purposes

Request

In late 2021, Greater Shepparton City Council received a request from Beyond Housing and Wintringham to construct Social Housing on Council-owned land at 5 Edward Street, 115-121 Maude Street and 92 Nixon Street, Shepparton: the Maude/Nixon and Edward Streets Car Park.

Both organisations are Registered Housing Associations with long histories of delivering support to vulnerable members of the Greater Shepparton community and the wider Goulburn Valley through innovative housing and support services.

This proposal seeks to construct a three to four storey building consisting of a public ground floor car park, a residential car park on the second storey, and one-two bedroom apartments on the third and fourth storeys.

Further information on the initial proposal can be found in the agenda of the Ordinary Council Meeting held on 21 December 2021 - see extract below:

Photo of the car park

Council proposes to contribute to the project by selling or gifting the land for an estimated value of $450,000 based on a property valuation undertaken in late 2021. Once finalised, Council would take back possession of the ground floor car park land.

Section 114 of the Local Government Act 2020 requires Council, before selling or exchanging land, to publish a notice of its intention to sell the land and undertake a community engagement process in accordance with its community engagement policy.

Strategic justification

A number of planning documents and strategies have been prepared that assessed or considered the need for Social and Affordable Housing and increased residential development in urban centres across Greater Shepparton, particularly the Shepparton CBD.

The main documents are:

Affordable Housing is defined by the State Government under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 as “Housing, including Social Housing that is appropriate for the housing needs of very low, low and moderate income households”.

Following extensive consultation, Council resolved to adopt the Greater Shepparton Affordable Housing Strategy: Houses for People 2020 (the Strategy) in April 2020. In late 2019, the Strategy determined that Greater Shepparton was estimated to have the highest homeless rate in regional Victoria, with 5.56 homeless persons per 1,000 people, with 1,041 households on the waiting list for social housing. Rental affordability had also fallen by 10% between 2008 and 2018 with 27% of low-income households experiencing housing stress. With these alarming statistics, it was estimated that 42% of all forecast dwelling supply needed to be delivered as Affordable Housing to meet demand in 2036.

During the Strategy’s development process, Council’s role in supporting increased Affordable Housing stock across Greater Shepparton was explored. Traditionally, Council’s main role is to advocate for funding to build Social and Affordable Housing from the Australian and Victorian Governments. This will continue but the Strategy also recommended building partnerships within the community to coordinate efforts and maximise the resources across Greater Shepparton to achieve this. This could include negotiating with developers to build Affordable Housing, including Social Housing, in new residential estates, encouraging diversification in housing stock and alternative housing models, assisting tenancy support programs and, crucially, assessing Council-owned assets for suitability for temporary or permanent Affordable Housing options.

Council also subsequently resolved to form the Greater Shepparton Affordable Housing Reference Group to provide expert advice to Council on ways to realise Affordable Housing outcomes.

The Greater Shepparton Housing Strategy (GSHS) 2011 was developed to respond to existing and future housing needs in Greater Shepparton by the year 2031. The GSHS states that Council should support developments that contribute to a variety of housing types, especially semi-detached dwellings and apartments in urban centres.

The GSHS suggests that one way of addressing worsening housing affordability is by accommodating higher density living, such as apartment buildings, in appropriate locations where there is an identified demand.

The Shepparton CBD Strategy 2008 guides changes to future land use, built form, access and public spaces in the Shepparton CBD. The Strategy encourages medium to high density developments in the CBD and, specifically, recommends that Council-owned car parks be considered for future redevelopment proposals.

The Shepparton and Mooroopna 2050: Regional City Growth Plan is focused on accommodating Shepparton and Mooroopna’s population up to 2050. The 2050 Growth Plan identifies several opportunities for revitalisation and renewal of key development sites across the Shepparton CBD, in particular. The 2050 Growth Plan considers that higher density housing within Shepparton’s CBD will contribute to economic prosperity and address worsening housing affordability issues.

The findings and recommendations of a majority of these documents have been included in the planning controls applying to the Shepparton CBD in the Greater Shepparton Planning Scheme. The Planning Scheme guides the development of land across Greater Shepparton.

Clause 21.04 of the Greater Shepparton Planning Scheme provides several objectives on urban consolidation and growth across the Shepparton CBD to accommodate a growing population and encourage diversity in dwelling types. The Planning Scheme strongly supports residential development in Shepparton’s CBD through the construction of higher density residential and mixed-use developments providing a variety of dwelling types.

Maude/Nixon and Edward Streets Car Park is within the Activity Centre Zone (ACZ) at Clause 37.08 (Schedule 1) of the Planning Scheme, which seeks to accommodate a variety of uses associated with activity centres. Overall, the ACZ seeks to attract development and people to live and work in the CBD by providing a greater range of housing choices within close proximity of the Maude-Street Mall. This is expected to be achieved through higher-scale mixed-use developments, including residential, that will provide housing within the CBD, and increase activity and vibrancy of the CBD. The ACZ also encourages the redevelopment of vacant or underused land.

Consultation period

Council invited submissions regarding the proposed gifting or sale of the land by completing an online ‘Have your Say’ form, via email, and via post. Submissions were open from Friday 14 January to Monday 28 February 2022.

Hearing of verbal submissions

Greater Shepparton City Council heard 38 verbal briefings from members of the public on the proposal to sell or gift the land on Monday, 7 March and Tuesday, 8 March.

You can view the recording of the submissions in the video player below, and read our media release on our website.

Here is a list of each of the presentations used in submitters’ verbal briefings to Council:

Feedback received in submissions and additional work undertaken

Council officers received 733 submissions on the proposed sale or gifting of the land. In response to this Council officers prepared a Conversation Report outlining the consultation process, the common themes identified in submissions received and Council officers’ responses to each of these themes. A link to the Conversation Report can be found below.

Council also commissioned several additional documents to respond to common themes outlined in submissions, specifically:

  • an update to the Greater Shepparton Social Housing Economic Benefits Assessment prepared by Ethos Urban Pty Ltd and additional response to specific submissions:
  • a Social Impact Assessment prepared by Ethos Urban Pty Ltd:
  • a Planning and Urban Design Assessment prepared by Ethos Urban Pty Ltd:
  • a Social Housing Site Options Assessment of Potential Alternate Affordable Housing Sites in Shepparton/Mooroopna by SEMZ Pty Ltd:
  • a Report by Affordable Development Outcomes Pty Ltd to review and comment on the objectives and framework of Council’s Affordable Housing Strategy, provide an update on Affordable Housing demand in Greater Shepparton, and respond to key community concerns:
  • and an independent egress review for ACE College by Nicolas Building Surveyors Pty Ltd:

Next steps

Council will now consider the outcome of the consultation process relating to Council’s intention to sell or gift Council-owned land to Wintringham and Beyond Housing at 5 Edward Street, 115-121 Maude Street and 92 Nixon Street, Shepparton for the purposes of facilitating social housing at the Ordinary Council Meeting on Tuesday, 21 June 2022.

The conversation report and all additional background assessments can be found as attachments in the Agenda for the upcoming Ordinary Council Meeting to be held on Tuesday, 21 June 22.