You are here: Home / Media / Rachel Forster site sold to highest bidder

Rachel Forster site sold to highest bidder

The former Rachel Forster Hospital at Redfern has been sold at the end of last year, following Planning Minister Frank Sartor’s approval of a concept plan for the $70 million residential redevelopment reports Candice Chung in the South Sydney Herald of February 2008.

The site, sold for $8.5 million, will be home to 150 new private housing units, including a publicly accessible park outlined on the concept plan.

The government has promised to ensure that the historical significance of the former hospital will be preserved.

“Important heritage items, such as the existing surgery building and colonnade structure, would be retained under the proposal and incorporated into the new development,” Mr Sartor said in a statement.

Proceeds from the sale of the hospital site will fund the development of a new community health centre at the former Redfern Courthouse and police station, which is expected to become operational in 2009.

Local community group REDWatch believes the sale of government land for private residential redevelopment may create a backlash in the long run.

“Right from the beginning we’ve taken the view that the government shouldn’t permanently alienate publicly-owned land,” REDWatch spokesperson Geoff Turnbull said.

“When you’re talking about increasing the population density in the area, you have to make sure that you set aside what’s going to be needed for the public domain in the future.”

Mr Turnbull said the sale of the Rachel Forster site demonstrates a lack of long term planning. “On the one hand, you’ve got the City of Sydney looking at what it needs to buy back to be able to increase the amount of green space in the inner city as part of its 2030 Strategy. But on the other hand, you’ve now got currently-owned government land going into the private sector.”

South Sydney Greens convener Irene Doutney said while the Greens are not opposed to urban consolidation and sustainable redevelopment, there are signs that local residents are experiencing a continual loss of social stability.

“We’ve lost schools, we’ve lost the court house, we’ve now lost a hospital – it’s just a constant taking away of the community’s resources,”

Ms Doutney said. “As a trend it could be bad for the public housing community. There’s going to be an influx of people with a lot of different expectations to local residents.

We would like to see a much bigger commitment to public housing in an area that needs affordable housing so badly.”

Photo: Rachel Forster site in Pitt Street, Redfern Photo: Ali Blogg

Source: South Sydney Herald February 2008 -