Epsom Street Affordable Housing Project
We purchased the site in 2014 for the purpose of open space and affordable housing. Curlew Community Park was opened in 2019. This project continues the implementation of our masterplan for the site and would see residential development at the northern and southern ends of 7–45 Epsom Street, Laverton. Through this project, we aim to provide opportunities for people on lower incomes with a connection to Hobsons Bay to access housing that is rent capped at a proportion of their income.
Following public consultation in early 2022, we endorsed revised design guidelines(PDF, 4MB) that will inform the look and feel of any future development. The guidelines incorporate community input, including requirements relating to building height (three to four storeys maximum), dwelling density, car parking, vehicle access, and connections with the much-loved Curlew Community Park. We have also prepared a ‘What We Heard’ report(PDF, 100KB) which summarises the results of the community consultation.
If the project is funded and progresses, further consultation will be undertaken with the local community. The project will be managed and maintained by Housing Choices Australia (HCA) who are the Trustees of the Hobsons Bay Affordable Housing Trust. HCA are one of the largest community housing providers in Australia. We will continue to work closely with HCA on future stages of the project, including further community consultation.
Why are we considering this?
We have been planning and consulting on the Epsom Street Affordable Housing Project since buying the site in 2014, so we can create open space and explore the feasibility of providing affordable housing on the site.
Why is Council considering selling and transferring the land?
At the Council meeting of 12 September 2023, we resolved to transfer the parcels of land at 7-45 Epsom Street, Laverton (the land) to Housing Choices Australia (HCA), in its capacity as the trustee of the Hobsons Bay Affordable Housing Trust, for non-monetary consideration for the purposes of developing and operating affordable housing on the site subject to:
a. Securing external funding to deliver the project.
b. Housing Choices Australia agreeing and undertaking the provisions in the Contract of Sale and Section 173.
What was on the site before?
The site was originally the Laverton Primary School. In 2014, we bought 7-43 Epsom Street. We later bought a single residential lot at 45 Epsom Street to enable a more holistic design for the overall development.
Why has Council submitted an Adverse Possession Claim ?
We have put in an adverse possession claim for two small parcels of land to support the Epsom Street affordable housing project. When we purchased the land for affordable housing, these two small parcels of land were not formally owned by the previous owners but were instead held by possessory rights. This adverse possession claim is a purely administrative process that is required to confirm our rights to this land that we purchased in 2014.
See below a map identifying the parcels subject to the adverse possession claim:
Adverse possession is a legal rule that enables an occupier of a piece of land to secure ownership of it. Adverse possession requires an occupier to prove lengthy, uninterrupted and exclusive possession of the land for at least 15 years.
There is currently a sign on the land fronting Epsom Street relating to an adverse possession claim that will be on the site for a minimum of 30 days. This adverse possession process is run by the Registrar of Titles, not by us. If you would like more information, please contact the Registrar of Titles - firstname.lastname@example.org. The Registrar of Titles is responsible for investigating and approving any adverse possession claims.
What is the Hobsons Bay Affordable Housing Trust?
We have a long-standing commitment to affordable housing. We established the Hobsons Bay Affordable Housing Trust as the vehicle to grow and deliver more affordable housing for low-income residents and people with a connection to Hobsons Bay.
Housing Choices Australia (HCA) was appointed as the Trustee in June 2020. HCA manages the Trust’s assets and reports to Council on its activities and its progress against defined objectives. The key objective of the Trust is to create and provide affordable housing that meets the needs of the Hobsons Bay community.
We have worked in partnership with HCA as the Trustee to progress the project and seek funding for the project.
Who is Housing Choices Australia?
Housing Choices Australia is one of the largest community housing providers in Australia and currently owns or manages more than 7,000 properties across five states. HCA already owns and manages properties across Hobsons Bay, including in Newport, Spotswood, Altona, Altona North, and Williamstown. For more information, please visit https://www.housingchoices.org.au/
Who will live there?
To live in the proposed development, residents will need to meet income eligibility requirements and have an existing connection to Hobsons Bay.
The project will provide homes for local vulnerable people who may receive government aged or disability income support payments and for lower income-earning key workers whose jobs are essential to the functioning and liveability of our municipality, such as childcare, health and aged care workers, hospitality and retail staff, service industry staff and delivery personnel who are on the Victorian Housing Register.
What is Affordable housing?
Affordable housing refers to a range of subsidised housing types, including social housing provided by a not-for-profit and registered community housing providers, such as Housing Choices Australia.
How is community housing regulated?
The Housing Registrar manages community housing in Victoria. Housing Choices Australia must report on its performance to the Registrar. More information can be found here https://www.vic.gov.au/housing-registrar
What is a registered agency?
A registered agency is a Housing Association or Housing Provider that is registered under the Housing Act 1983. These agencies are part of a regulated sector with access to government funding.
If the land is transferred, how can we ensure it is used for affordable housing?
It will be a condition of sale that the land must always remain with a registered agency. The law will require HCA to develop and use the land for affordable housing.
How will the project be funded?
The Hobsons Bay Affordable Housing Trust will apply for funding from the Victorian Government to progress the project.
What is the Big Housing Build?
The Victorian government’s Big Housing Build program is a $5.3 billion investment in social and affordable housing. The program is being delivered to address the significant housing need in Victoria. For more information visit https://www.homes.vic.gov.au/big-housing-build . At a local level, over 9,000 households are on the social housing waitlist in the Western Melbourne region alone.
For more information, please contact Council’s Sustainable Communities Project Lead on 1300 179 944 or at email@example.com