Proposal for former St Luke's Anglican church site to undergo a $3.5million redevelopment

PICTURE PERFECT: The famous photo of Rawcliffe Street that ranked no. 3 picture of the nation in 2018.

PICTURE PERFECT: The famous photo of Rawcliffe Street that ranked no. 3 picture of the nation in 2018.

Local businessman Dale McNamara has plans before Singleton Council to build 12 residential units on a corner block of land that was home to the former St Luke's Anglican Church.

The land, located at the corner of Rawcliffe and Wynyard streets, still houses the brick church building and timber church hall.

Documents lodged with Council say the proposal will consist of four two bedroom units that will front Rawcliffe Street and eight three bedroom units will be accessed internally from a private access driveway.

Mr McNamara said the entire development, land plus buildings, would cost him around $4 million.

"But I believe this type of housing is just what Singleton needs especially right now," he said.

"My aim is to provide housing stock for local residents who want to downsize as there is currently nothing on the market in town that suits that buyer.

"This site is ideally located and I have people already asking me if they can buy a unit."

However, his enthusiasm for the proposal is not shared by all the nearby residents especially those living in the iconic Rawcliffe Street.

The Jacaranda lined street is a very popular tourist destination when the trees are in flower and it has been photographed many times being voted number 3 in a 2018 photo competition.

Artist impression of one of the two bedroom units that fronts Rawcliffe Street.

Artist impression of one of the two bedroom units that fronts Rawcliffe Street.

Today the street is home to only single dwellings with the closest units located on the opposite side of Wynyard Street. Given its status in town and the Hunter Valley for its scenery residents are questioning the size and scale of the unit development and how it could alter their quiet leafy street.

One Rawcliffe Street resident described the proposal as a massive overdevelopment.

"Its all about maximising the developer's profit at the expense of the street's amenity and that of the existing residents," they said.

"Looking at whats been submitted I would argue it is a sub-standard application lacking vital information on which the public could base any of their submissions."

A meeting was held in Rawcliffe Street on Sunday afternoon and according to those in attendance one of the major concerns, apart from the size of the development, was the fact no access would be available along Wynyard Street meaning all the traffic to and from the site would be through Rawcliffe Street.

Plans are before Council to remove these church buildings and develop a 12 unit complex on the site.

Mr McNamara who attended the meeting on Sunday and answered resident's questions regarding the development told the Singleton Argus that the reason there was no access along the Wynyard Street frontage was he wanted to create a type of 'gated' housing complex.

"Because I want to sell these units to older residents I want them to feel secure and with only one access driveway into them I think that is how they will feel."

As to the criticism that there are too many units in the current plans he said the site had room to easiy fit in 20 units.

A resident who attended the meeting said the development would be adding at least 27 vehicles to the quiet suburban street on a daily basis.

The former St Luke's Anglican church and hall will be removed to make way for 12 units.

The former St Luke's Anglican church and hall will be removed to make way for 12 units.

"Rawcliffe Street is not a wide street unlike Wynyard Street and it is not a thoroughfare so why not access units from that frontage," they said.

"Plus the developer, under current rules, could not dictate they were only sold to what he called older people.

"This is not a legitimate over 55s development that's just the developer trying to convince residents that they won't be sold to young people."

Another resident said if the proposal was smaller and had access to Wynyard Street there be less opposition.

"For Church Street residents whose backyards would be overlooked by the higher three bedroom units' balconies they will be losing privacy and be shaded," they said.

Rawcliffe Street awaits the Jacaranda blooms.

Rawcliffe Street awaits the Jacaranda blooms.

Mr McNamara remains convinced most people in the vicinity were keen on his proposal saying neighbours had approached him to buy a unit once they were completed. "This is great for Singleton," he said.

Singleton Council has extended the period of time for submissions on the development application from October 5 until October 12. Information regarding the DA can be sourced from Council's website at www.singleton.nsw.gov.au (DA Tracker and select Search, enter 8.2020.217.1) or can be inspected at Council's Administration Centre

*Residents names withheld as requested.