The 21st Century Scourge that is Manufactured Home Estates.

Manufactured Homes

The residents of Tallwoods must think its Groundhog Day, once again! 

Now for the second time in 12 months they have to relive the nightmare that is a new Development Application for a manufactured homes estate of 202 homes for 303 Blackhead Road.

Manufactured Home Estate

In 2017, the Tallwoods and Hallidays Point communities united to fight the original development application which was for 202 manufactured homes. They successfully lobbied and campaigned to win support from nine of the eleven Councillors to reject the development  application with only Cr Len Roberts and Mayor West in support of the project. 

The applicant, Gateway Lifestyle then filed an application in the Land and Environment Court against Council’s decision and it was with some relief that the community discovered it was subsequently withdrawn from the Court earlier this year. 

Hometown America

Now it appears that Gateway has been sold to Hometown Australia Pty Limited (owned by the American company Hometown America) and that they may be behind what appears to be a very similar if not exactly the same development application recently filed by the owners of the land. The same that plan that was previously rejected by Council and withdrawn from the Land and Environment Court.

Hometown America, is one of the largest operators of Manufactured Homes Estates in the United States, with more than 60 properties across eleven states and a total portfolio value of over US$3 billion. 

Stress on the Community

It is at this point that one really has to ask the question how long and how often must a community have to fight imprudent developments, surely people are entitled to live in peace and security without having to constantly face attack on their sanctuary, to have to organise, campaign and lobby and disrupt their peaceful way of life.

The stress on people to constantly go through these sagas must be considerable and why, so that a greedy developer can get their own way?

MidCoast Council

Why isn’t the Council lobbying with the NSW Planning Department to have an MHE Policy that protects the interests of the community?  Why isn’t the Mayor leading a delegation of Councillors and residents to Macquarie Street, to argue some common sense to those dills in our State Parliament. Back in on 2 November 2017 when the original Tallwoods application was reject, Council also passed a resolution to the effect:

“That Council lobby the State Government to address concerns relating to planning controls for Manufactured Home Estates.” 

Surely, given the problems the NSW Coalition Government is facing with things like that notorious tramline that is $2 billion over budget and over a year late, and the gold platting of sports stadiums,  could there ever be a better time to be lobbying for our community in Macquarie street – the next State election is only 6 months away.

Leadership

We have to ask what is our Local Member doing about this? Frankly, here is an opportunity for Mr Bromhead to demonstrate some real leadership and deliver some real reform in support of his electorate and our community.

And what of the Labor candidate, Cr Dr David Keegan, why isn’t he up on his soapbox spruiking what he will do about MHE’s if he is elected? Oh, and wasn’t he the ‘mover’ of this motion above for Council to be lobbying the NSW Government on MHEs? What has Mr Keegan done to lobby the Shadow Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Michael Daley, who is also the Deputy Leader of the Opposition?

What IS a
Manufactured Home?

The real issue with these MHE’s is that due to a range of perhaps deliberate loop holes in planning they are a very uncontrolled form of development. 

Whilst MHE’s have been touted as a form of cheap accommodation, particularly in cities, the reality is that they are not really cheap and perhaps just another way of milking retirees.

They have also been marketed as over fifty-fives residential /lifestyle accommodation for people who wish to downsize but don’t want to move into a retirement facility; but once again they do not provide all the services of a retirement facility and they place stress on the local community’s infrastructure. 

Usually the purchaser of one of these supposedly relocatable ‘homes’ has to buy the house and then pay a weekly rent to the owner of the Estate, as well all the outgoings but they do not pay Council rates, nor do we suspect water rates? 

So the MHE residents use all the community built and maintained infrastructure plus services, but they do not contribute in Council rates and the on going maintenance of roads and other ageing infrastructure. 

What is also of some concern is that due to these loop holes in the planning laws, the developers can cherry pick and leverage off the best locations and build these MHE’s in a number of areas, including land zoned rural residential and in Caravan Parks. Many Caravan Parks are situated in prime locations.

With the result that Caravan Park owners are being taken out for the quick buck, the MHEs and the lifestyle villages are moving in. So much for the tourist that wants come to camp or hire a caravan around the MidCoast LGA. 

Manufactured homes are intended to be relocatable and generally built off site, but now there is a serious emerging issue in that some Councils including ours, are allowing some of these developers to build these homes on site and on top of concrete slabs, so how does this now make these homes relocatable?

In Sydney

Recently in Sydney, there has been some concern expressed by a number of Mayors over these MHE’s and over 55’s residences. As reported by Andrew Taylor in the Sydney Morning Herald:

“A trio of suburban mayors is leading a revolt against NSW government seniors housing policies, which they argue encourage the development of retirement villages and aged care facilities in unsuitable locations.

Michael Regan, the mayor of the Northern Beaches Council, said the state government should give back power to councils to ensure developments are in line with the local character, infrastructure and future plans for an area.

“Councils are best placed to make local planning decisions – not state government bureaucrats who don’t live here and have no apparent appreciation for what their policies mean on the ground,” he said.

Cr Regan has previously criticised the seniors housing policy, which he said could lead to the “de-facto rezoning” of rural areas for medium density retirement villages.

The Sydney North Planning Panel last month rejected an $84 million proposal to build a retirement village housing 95 apartments on the Bayview golf course, which it said was “an overdevelopment of the site”.

Cr Regan said certificates issued by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment had led to costly battles with developers over seniors housing proposed for Terrey Hills as well as the Bayview Golf Club.

“Site compatibility certificates are yet another example of the state government applying unworkable, blanket planning policies that often result in inappropriate development,” he said. “Recent examples have wasted time and money and caused great angst to the local community.”

Cr Regan’s concerns are echoed by the Liberal mayor of The Hills Shire, Michelle Byrne, whose council has adopted a formal policy objecting to the issue of SCC’s for seniors housing on rural land until proper planning has been completed.

Cr Byrne said seniors housing developments were prohibited in rural zones under the state government’s planning rules, unless a site compatibility certificate was issued.

“This allows the developer to then lodge a development application with council,” she said.

“But site compatibility certificates shouldn’t be issued without regards to environmental constraints, the appropriate bushfire protection measures being put in place and having adequate access to services and essential infrastructure like roads, parks and public transport. The site also needs to be able to handle future growth.”

Cr Byrne said retirement villages and aged care facilities were being used to extend the urban footprint into rural areas. A number of housing developments for seniors have been proposed for Dural in Sydney, including a proposal for a 72-bed residential aged care facility and 102 self-care dwellings that was rejected by the Land and Environment Court earlier this year.

“The scale of seniors housing developments that are being proposed in rural locations far exceeds the capacity of the local neighbourhood centres that will support them and they aren’t working within the existing character of the area,” she said. 

Philip Ruddock, the Liberal mayor of Hornsby Shire, said the council had no objection to seniors accommodation that was “appropriate”.

But he said: “If developers come in with a seniors development under a SEPP [State Environment Planning Policy] they can avoid the other planning controls that anybody else would have to meet.”

Cr Ruddock expressed concern in March about the development of seniors housing in the rural areas, which he said was “not consistent with the values of the rural area, results in ad-hoc development and exceeds the capacity of regional roads in the South Dural area”.

A $113 million proposal for a seniors living development in Dural comprising 146 units and 74 residential aged care beds was lodged with Hornsby Council in July. The DA includes a certificate issued by the DPE that the site is suitable for “intensive development” and an aged care facility is compatible with the neighbourhood.”

New Development Controls

It needs to be acknowledged that under the leadership of MidCoast Council’s Acting Director of Planning and Natural Systems, Paul De Szell, things have taken a turn for the better and at the recent Strategic Meeting of Council a resolution was passed placing draft Development Controls for Manufactured Home Estates on public exhibition. While this is a solid and positive step, the additional “controls”  really don’t provide a great deal of material authority to Council. The real work has to be undertaken by Council with the NSW Government.

Palms Oasis Caravan Park

Meanwhile the residents, owners and visitors of the 187 permanent site Palms Oasis Caravan Park who have lived and visited for many generations are now lamenting the takeover by Ingenia Communities Group (an interesting play on the word ‘community’) who, by all reports, have given them their notice to leave by the end of January 2019, as Ingenia intends to turn the Park into some type of over 55s Lifestyle facility. 

What are the consequences for tourism here if all the Caravan Parks get converted in to MHE’s or the so-called over 55’s? Not a good move. 

Halliday’s Point

Back at Halliday’s Point and Tallwoods, the community is now marshalling for the next barrage from Manufactured Home Estates, so have set up a website https://tw303action.wixsite.com/twaction 

Come to the beautiful Barrington Coast and retire among a plethora of fast-food, supposed “take-away” homes!  

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10 Responses to The 21st Century Scourge that is Manufactured Home Estates.

  1. Donna Delancel says:

    Generations of our family and friends have visited Blueys Beach and stayed at The Palms Oasis caravan park for 30 plus years, it is our 2nd home and we spend every xmas , new years eve and school holidays as well as summer weekends there with the hundreds of caravaners and campers. We visit the surf shop, eat in the cafes and restaurants and shop at the bottleo and local shops. We LOVE and respect this magical little community and the thought of this being changed forever with a big ugly unwanted development is shameful. The park owners are planning to completely demolish the whole site , no more beautiful palm trees to greet you as you turn off the lakes Way. Ingenia has been deceptive right from the start, putting up signs that it is Ingenia holidays – caravan , camping and cabins …while all the while trying to bribe council by gifting them land behind the park to get what they want. They always planned for this to be an over 55s , they always knew this is what it would become. The average age of people buying into these places is 76 years old , the area already has a population of 44% over 65 , how can this little torist spot support these new residents and what will become of their tourist trade that they rely on?

  2. Debra Suffling says:

    Thank you for your commonsense and factual article!We are experiencing the beginnings of another”over 55’s” development at Blueys Beach, starting with the request for evacuation/ removal of caravans & structure. Disasterous for local businesses, ridiculous location for what are statistically aged retirees not to mention us who have made it our second home and spend quality time with family and friends across 3 generations frequently. So many negatives & contradictory to the preliminary DCP, it beggars beleif they are even trying. We hope that the powers that be consider their own recommendations for the area, the impact on the tourist economy & expedite clear boundaries.

  3. Judy Britt says:

    My husband, myself & other family members own on site vans at Palms Oasis Caravan Park. Blueys Beach & surrounding areas has a distinct community atmosphere. The people in our park support the local shops, restaurants, cafes, clubs etc. We inject a lot of money into the community. This area is slice of paradise which relies heavily on tourism. This is not an area suited for an 55’s development. Their are no close services for the aging population of such a development. We need to keep these wonderful areas as they are, allowing for tourists & locals to support each other. If such developments as over 55’s are allowed in areas like this it will mean we will sadly be losing our affordable Australian family holidays & a way of life that we all love.

    • Maureen Camilleri says:

      How selfish not wanting others to experience the affordability of living in such a beautiful area…so many ageist comments…this area has always been a retiree mecca and will remain so..its about affordability and these homes also provide those that are cash strapped the opportunity to enjoy the coastal lifestyle that they would otherwise find out of reach… Tallwoods and Blueys Beach are out of reach for many in affordable real estate this will provide an opportunity for many to make their home here..

  4. Kendall Long says:

    Thank you for this report and i hope Mid Coast council have read it too. I Have been visiting pacific palms for over 40 years. We need more tourist accommodation not an over 55’s on the site. The infrastructure will not cope with 300plus over 55 residents and the only people making money is Ingenia. Once you buy a house for $350k how much will that be worth in 10-15 years when the market is flooded with elderly people trying to get out. You don’t own the land. Plus waiting 45 mins just for an ambulance is something to seriously consider. Council please don’t let Ingenia do this to this site at Pacific Palms.

  5. Council and Integrity Performance Watcher says:

    Beachfront at 21 Red Head Road, Hallidays Point – Welfare Valley by the Sea!

    As well as Mid Coast Council Ratepayers subsidising Gateway Lifestyle’s Over 55’s overdevelopment by the Sea at Beachfront – long-suffering Taxpayers are also subsidising the rents for many of these tenants – as well as the large amounts of Welfare payments flowing to them there.

    Gateway Lifestyle as part of its sales campaign is actively marketing that these homes’ rents are for many eligible for Rent Assistance from Centrelink!

    At Beachfront some of its Residents state the range of Welfare being received by its Tenants includes the Disability Pensions, Newstart Benefits, Sickness Benefits, Carers Pensions and Allowances, Age Pensions, War Vets Pensions etc.

    Some of its other residents who have little wrong with them at all – have gamed their former Public Service employers for large Redundancy and Superannuation Pension payouts when only in their 30’s – and have lived off these enormous financial benefits for decades care of the Public Purse.

    The one good thing about the current clean out of this old Caravan Park is that many of its long-term undesirables are being kicked out and forced to move elsewhere – there are now fewer Alcoholics and Court Convicted Paedophiles living in Hallidays Point!

  6. Andrew D says:

    Lets start with some basics – I holiday in Hallidays Point and surrounds and very much enjoy the tranquillity and the community including its amenities and people. I have done so for over 15 years and my 3 adult children often do the same with my grand kids as a matter of tradition/habit. I personally wish to build a holiday home in the area for my children to enjoy in the future also (coincidentally in a new sub-division)… I am NOT a developer or a builder, but very much familiar with the industry, planning instruments, and a modest share holding in the industry along with other sectors… I’m 58 years of age and reside in Newcastle.

    BUT – This one sided article written by an unnamed author is inaccurate in so many ways.

    1. The first picture is of a village called Central Village in Mayfield Newcastle. Yes – a manufactured home village but the toast of the town as it has offered affordable, sustainable, and quality homes to those looking to live in the locality without the spend of $700k plus. More importantly though – not what the Tallwoods site is promoting. I would suggest that the operators of Central Village wouldn’t be too happy with their images being used in such a negative way.

    2. Hometown Australia and/or Gateway are NOT behind the resubmitted development. This is incredibly poor research on the authors behalf and potentially damaging to the companies involved. A retraction is required to note the facts.

    3. The impact on the community is largely positive. More permanent residents offer more opportunity for local businesses to thrive and grow at a consistent rate. Last time I checked, the bowling club, Tavern, Golf Club, FoodWorks all need customers and clientele to survive… more people to the area can only increase this… To the ‘locals’ who don’t want more people… see how you feel shopping at Forster every week because FoodWorks shut down from low trade… especially during peak holiday season.

    4. Each resident of the village does not pay rates – agreed. But the operator of the village will pay rates to support the local infrastructure and community amenities. This is on top of the Section 94 developer contributions that have to be paid in order to proceed with any development in any council in any area of NSW. Therefore – if the question is being asked of how the development will help the area – best seek the comment of council and how they intend to spend the millions coming in from the contributions gazetted under their DCP.

    5. The over 55’s community – surely there is nothing against this age bracket in any community? Gentle, retired, respectful age group looking to take a slower approach on life and downsize for more manageable living. Generally, each household has one small car, less impact again. It also helps that there is a golf course near by to spend their time – I know I will. Far better for a community to have a large over 55’s contingent that is considerate of their environment rather than transient campers and tourists who come in, with varying degrees of respect and disappear.

    6. MHE’s were never meant to be retirement homes, they don’t promote this, nor do they intend to ever be. It is simply an alternative form of living, targeting those who are not willing or unable to afford aged care or retirement village facilities. It’s simple economics of society. Ingenia, Gateway, Secura, Hometown, etc have no messaging or marketing around their communities being Retirement homes in the true sense, so please don’t label them the same. The retirement village sector is another story with a Royal Commission being launched into their operations and exit fees… MHE’s dont have exit fees in NSW.

    6. Great Lakes area is not Sydney – so don’t even start to compare planning between the areas. Regional NSW is a great location for all ages and there are a lot of options for development for community benefit… Seniors housing for a severely ageing population is more critical than ever. Its not appropriate to build a 200 unit complex in the Northern Beaches… that makes sense because the services are already at breaking point… at Tallwoods – its a great opportunity to upgrade the services to provide the area with better infrastructure.

    7. The Tallwoods development looks to have a submission for homes built on site. Wonderful approach to supporting the local trades from the immediate area and the greater region such as Taree and Forster. There wont be ‘demountables’ being delivered to increase the damage the the roads, and trades will stay in the area and support the tourism and local businesses like the bowling club and cafes. Perhaps council could enforce (where suitable of course) that local trades are used to complete the project.

    Lets get real people… I honestly love everything that the area offers and for the most part, the community that I personally interact with are wonderful and progressive. I’m not either for or against the development, I just believe that the long term view on this needs to be considered for the greater good rather than the very evident ‘now’ mentality that is presented in this article that has so many holes and errors. Happy to debate where warranted against my comments.

  7. michael says:

    The reality is there are a lot of poor people who need somewhere to live. Like America where 50% of the population live off food stamps and there are tens of millions living in their cars, in converted hotel complexes or homeless. Now like everything else America being embraced by Australia.
    I would dare say something like 75% of residents in the MidCoast region are pensioners paying heavily subsidised rates and everything else. A giant white trash aged dumping ground. The ABS doesnt lie.
    funny how they also claim to be “christian” ie living in a hypocritical deluded fantasy world. These estates must be jebus’s work eh? God bless America. Not sure which god that is though. There are literally 1000’sof them.

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