Lone free ranger

Discussion in 'Property Analysis' started by jins13, 3rd Apr, 2016.

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  1. jins13

    jins13 Well-Known Member

    19th Jun, 2015

    Please see below. Not sure if I would have stayed though

    Meet Barry, the last man standing against development

    When developers came knocking on Barry Dickson’s door, he was adamant that his home was his castle and that he wouldn’t roll over, sell up and move on.

    Four years later, he’s still in his neat Federation bungalow with its leadlight windows, decorative plaster ceilings and white picket fence, but the world around him is simply unrecognisable.

    His 106-year-old Kogarah home is towered over by a hulking ten-storey apartment block – a mere 60cm sliver of land away – with a nine-metre-tall black-painted boundary wall just outside the bedrooms, cutting out natural light and casting them into pitch darkness. New residents of the 84 units sit on the block’s walls or on their balconies staring down at him pottering in his tiny backyard.

    [​IMG]87-year-old Barry Dickson refused to sell his house in Kogorah to developers. who eventually built around him. Photo: Wolter Peeters

    “I’ve lived here over 60 years and brought up my four children here,” says Dickson, 87, looking up at his neighbours. “I hadn’t been married long and it was an absolute dump when we bought it for £13,000.

    “But it was a big corner block with the trolleybus around the corner, and I worked all my life to make it what it is today. My own father had died when I was eight, and I’d moved around a lot growing up, so I wanted my own children to have one place they could call home, and go to one school. I just didn’t want to move.”

    I dug my heels in and said I don’t want to sell.Barry Dickson

    The price of the old man’s stubbornness, however, has been high. He lost all his old neighbours when, one by one, they sold up to the developer and moved away, and his secretary and artist wife Betty died two years ago, killed, he says, by the emotional stress of being the one hold-out against the development and all the noise and disruption of the building process.

    [​IMG]Mr Dickson regrets not taking their offer as the stress caused during construction has taken its toll.Photo: Wolter Peeters

    It’s a development story that’s being played out in more and more suburbs across Sydney, as developers push to build more housing, and rezoning of traditional low-density areas make higher rise a profitable proposition. In some areas, like Castle Hill, home-owners have been banding together to negotiate lucrative deals for amalgamated sites.

    “People can’t be forced to sell,” says Castle Hill agent Craig Alexis of Gilmore Property Agents. “But it can be difficult if some do, but one or two don’t.”

    The decisions over which areas can be redeveloped are always made democratically too, says Chris Johnson of the developers’ Urban Taskforce. “People blame the developer, but development only happens if the planning rules, reached through democratic decisions by local and State Government with community consultation, say you can,” he says. “If some people lose out, then there needs to be good compensation.”

    [​IMG]“I’ve lived here over 60 years and brought up my four children here,” Dickson said. Photo: Wolter Peeters

    But some people simply love their homes, and have a right to choose not to sell, says Professor Susan Thompson of the City Futures Research Centre at the University of NSW. “It’s not simply a commodity or about an economic transaction for those people,” she says. “It’s a complex issue and there are winners and losers on both sides of the equation, for developers who want to build more housing, land owners who want to sell, and those who don’t.”

    When contacted by Domain, Deicorp issued a statement saying: “We are proud of our outstanding projects in the southern Sydney region, including the recently completed Moss Wood Apartments in Kogarah.”

    “I’m not against high-rise development at all,” says Dickson, a retired electrical contractor, Bathurst racing champion and grandfather of two.

    [​IMG]He lost his old neighbours, who have since been replaced with about 160 new ones. Photo: Wolter Peeters

    “We have a growing population and I know we need homes for them. They have to come. But it’s where they put them that’s the issue.

    “There are lots of developments on virgin ground or on old commercial sites that have gone out of business and that’s fine; they’re not affecting Australian suburban life. But when they come into local streets and put pressure on people who’ve been battling all their lives to get a home, then it’s such a shame.

    “The local councils roll over, some of the state politicians couldn’t run a bloody raffle, the Land and Environment Court is on their side, and people get the trembles and one by one they give in and leave. . I dug my heels in and said ‘I don’t want to sell’.”

    Kogarah City Council is holding an extraordinary council meeting on Monday, April 4 to consider its new city plan, which includes height limits and rezoning, while Dickson, who conjures up memories of the hit Australian movie The Castle, says he’s never wanted trouble.

    “But this is a lovely old home and we need to keep these old parts of Australia, not sweep them all away for little boxes. These are houses you’ll never see again. We need to ask, ‘What’s best for the country?'”

    And although he doesn’t regret his stand, he’s not sure he’d advise others to follow his lead. “I’ve had a pretty rough trot,” he says. “I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody.

    “If someone doesn’t want to sell, I’d say, Fine, but as long as you’ve got thousands of people on your side. If you’re on your own … it’s very, very hard.”
  2. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

    18th Jun, 2015
    Sydney or NSW or Australia
    Principles vs principal ($$)

    This guy will simply lose out as no-one will touch the site as it is not viable as a standalone development. Sure he has brought up 4 kids etc and is sentimental about the place but how much longer is he going to be able to care for himself (without assistance) and will need to sell to pay nursing home bonds etc? This will not be easy with 160 neighbours.

    There are plenty of these types of sites around ie unviable as single parcels of land for redevelopment. In some cases they can make a small development eg: infill developments but in many cases the LEP & DEC will require minimum setbacks and dictate land size etc which can't be achieved on a 600m2 block.

    Chris Johnson is the ex-NSW Government Architect - well respected & knowledgeable. Now heading up Urban Taskforce.
  3. datto

    datto Well-Known Member

    23rd Jun, 2015
    Mt Druuiitt
    I suppose the could turn his property into a car park one day.
  4. Ted Varrick

    Ted Varrick Well-Known Member

    21st Jun, 2015
    No Mans Land
    Wow, all those residents in such a high density type of living arrangement. Imagine what would happen if Barry reconsidered his horticulture preference...