Developer wants to place low-income families in city

A DEVELOPER wants to see more subsidised, "affordable" rental accommodation in inner-city areas to stem the flow of low-income residents to metropolitan outskirts, away from services.

David Hughes's $6.5 million four-storey, 36-unit development in inner Maitland was approved enthusiastically by councillors last month.

According to Mr Hughes, everyone should be able to live in the inner city, close to transport and without a car.

He said a similar affordable housing development he completed in Raymond Terrace last year had been a real success.

Rents are subsidised under a federal government scheme and are under $300 a week.

"Most of the people are trying to break the rental cycle, unable to save to buy a house," he said.

"There is a stigma attached to affordable housing but the tenants at Raymond Terrace are proud and there is a real community living there."

Mr Hughes said he first approached Maitland City Council about his development in the city's heritage conservation area, on the corner of Elgin and Steam streets, about two years ago and negotiations with councillors and staff followed.

Councillor Arch Humphery said he was concerned the development took so long to be approved.

"We have an obligation to provide people with a variation of housing and a thriving business district," Cr Humphery said.

But not everyone is a fan.

Elgin Street resident Darryl Stevenson said that while he recognised the need for affordable housing, he was worried that council approval seemed to be a mere formality.

If there were to be more developments of this type, Mr Stevenson said he would like to see the community better included in the approval process.

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