ACT News

Dickson residents fear for their privacy

A group of Dickson residents are concerned they will lose their privacy and their sunlight if a six-storey residential development goes ahead in the property next door.

Apartment owners at the Coventry Apartments on Challis Street have raised multiple concerns about the neighbouring Cape Street development with the ACT Planning and Land Authority, saying it will have a negative impact on their quality of life.

Concerned: Dickson resident Kevin Graham fears a new development will overshadow his unit.
Concerned: Dickson resident Kevin Graham fears a new development will overshadow his unit. Photo: Melissa Adams

The new 224-apartment mixed-use development will be built over a 7284 square metre site in Dickson and will comprise five levels of apartments and one level of commercial space.

The public notification period for the $46.8 million development ended in August and developer John Russell said it would assist in the "revitalisation of the precinct".

The space: A site on Cape Street will be redeveloped into a six-storey apartment complex.
The space: A site on Cape Street will be redeveloped into a six-storey apartment complex. Photo: Supplied

But resident Kevin Graham said the new building would overshadow a number of units in the Coventry Apartments building next door, blocking the morning sun and removing privacy.

He said a large number of apartments in the development would face onto his complex, allowing a clear line of sight not just into their homes but into their communal garden area.

"Clearly there needs to be some level of development and the more you bring people in then there are more opportunities for various kinds of developments," he said.

"It just doesn't need to be six or seven stories high and taking away the amenity of existing residents."

Mr Graham said the communal garden area, with its bright morning sun, was a useful community resource for his building and hosted picnics and the occasional party.

"That was a significant factor in the decision to buy here," he said.

He was hoping there would be a redesign of the proposal to take residents' concerns into account.

In her eight-page submission to the ACT Planning and Land Authority, fellow resident Dr Rowena Martin said she had 14 concerns about the new development.

"Forty-three of the new apartments and their balconies will face the Coventry Apartments. This will result in a substantial number of windows and balconies that directly overlook the courtyards of the adjacent Coventry Apartments as well as the private communal open space," she said in her submission.

"By contrast, none of the Coventry apartments overlook Block 31."

She was also disappointed at the lack of consultation with Coventry Apartments residents, saying they had not been notified of a community meeting about the proposed development.

"[We] will be significantly affected during the construction of the new building and the enjoyment and value of [our] homes could be reduced by the design and height of the new building," she said in her submission.

"It is therefore extremely inappropriate that Coventry residents were not consulted on the proposed development via a letter drop or community meeting."

But Cape Street Pty Ltd director John Russell said the new Cape Street development was fully compliant with all requirements for solar access and privacy as per the code of requirements.

He was confident the new development would gel well with Coventry Apartments, as he had designed that accommodation complex as well.

"We built the project next door so we're aware of how it is and we designed it when it was built to accommodate something to be built next door at the height we've spoken about," he said.

He said he'd had an interest in the area for a long time and the new Cape Street residential complex would benefit occupants, retailers and the community.

"It's an exciting project for Dickson and in the revitalisation of the precinct, and the increased densities will work hand-in-hand with the proposed light rail project," he said.