Published in Inner West Courier, April 8 2017
CASH-strapped students would struggle to meet “affordable rents” charged by the University of Sydney in the latest proposal to build hundreds of new student lodgings at the Camperdown-Darlington campus.
The university is pushing ahead with plans to build a 656-room, eight-storey development on a narrow block of land between City and Darlington Rds in a bid to meet growing demand for on-campus accommodation.
But documents lodged with the Department of Planning reveals students could be in for a tight squeeze, with 95 per cent of rooms less than 10.3sq m — a shortfall on the minimum 12sq m standards set by State Government and City of Sydney rules.
The university argues the deviation from planning rules would be justified by offering affordable rents of $300 a week, 25 per cent lower than market rates.
In the documents, the university attacked the 12sq m limits as affecting its “ability to compete” on the international stage, referencing a list of major cities where limits are as low as 7sq m.
Newtown state Greens MP Jenny Leong warned the deviation “could set a precedent for unscrupulous, private developers trying to cash in on the demand for student housing”.