Concerns raised over new 30-townhouse development slated for Oaks Estate

Concerned resident Kate Gauthier outside her family's Oaks Estate home.Concerned resident Kate Gauthier outside her family's Oaks Estate home. Photo: Jamila Toderas

Oaks Estate residents are concerned about the density of a new $9 million multi-townhouse development slated for the village suburb.

Plans for 30 two-storey townhouses on vacant land facing Railway Street, between Florence Street and Hill Street, have been lodged with the ACT Planning and Land Authority.

The proposed project comes off the back of growing community concern that the 180-year-old village’s heritage is being watered down to pave the way for redevelopment, including a draft change to the territory plan to allow two and three-storey developments in the area.

The latest development proposed for the 8485 square-metre site includes a mix of three- and four-bedroom townhouses, each including a double garage

Developer Steve McCloskey of SM Precision Building said the design of the dwellings had taken into account the surrounding neighbourhood “to comply with the look of Oaks Estate”, with masonry, brick, rendering and cladding among the materials chosen.

“They’re aimed at families or people downsizing,” he said.

“They’ll be maintaince-free-type units and quite aesthetically pleasing.”

Each proposed townhouse includes living areas on both floors, en suites and walk-in wardrobes.

Mr McCloskey said original plans lodged by a previous developer for 20 single-storey dwellings on the site had been changed to avoid cutting down established trees surrounding the vacant block.

“Because of the way it was designed, we would have had to have knocked down a lot of old trees around the perimeter – gum trees and oak trees,” he said.

“That’s [one of the reasons] we redesigned the site, so we can keep established trees around the perimeter.”

He expected construction to begin mid-this year and expected the complex to be finished within 18 months, subject to planning delays.

Oaks Estate Progress Association president Adam Stephan-Slade said his group supported development of the former depot site but felt the proposed townhouses were not consistent with the community’s heritage character.

“We’d be keen to work closely with the Heritage Council and the developers to come up with a plan that is more in keeping with the heritage character of this area,” he said.

“We feel this would actually be of financial benefit, as such a development would be highly sought after from buyers.

“In general, we are supportive of the move towards three- and four-bedroom dwellings, as this will provide housing for families. But the density itself appears to be well out of scale with the surrounding low-density houses.”

Residents have until February 24 to lodge feedback. The development application can be viewed online at