News State NSW News Works underway to change culture of housing estate

Works underway to change culture of housing estate

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Newcastle MP Tim Owen says he is working with police and a number of agencies to change both the look and the culture of a Hamilton South public housing estate.

While figures show there has been a decline in crime and anti social behaviour in the Fowler Street estate this year, the area is still dogged by serious criminal activity.

Last month a man was charged with the murder of a woman at a Fowler Street unit, while investigations are also continuing into a series of arson attacks.

Mr Owen says the housing department is trying to introduce a more family friendly culture.

“The external laundries, we’ve removed, because they were a hotspot for drugs and for people to meet there,” he said.

“We’ve been fencing sections off.

“A number of the studios, there’s been a really strong program there trying to convert the studios where you get a lot of single males, we are converting those inot one and two bedroom flats where that’s possible and trying to move families into that area.”

He says these small measures will hopefully help to stamp out the criminal element.

“We are well aware of the issue and we are trying as best we can within the resources we have to change the look and the feel of the place,” he said.

“There’s about 750 properties in that whole area.

“You can’t just knock it down and move people out.

“You’ve got to say how do we improve the amenity of the place and those sort of smaller things are the processes we go through within the bounds of what the government can do.”