More than one dozen homes to be knocked down in ‘sinking’ suburb

Parts of a “sinking” suburb in Sydney’s west have become a ghost town, with more than a dozen homes soon to be demolished after a developer bought them back from owners.

Lendlease has confirmed it will “remove” 18 homes in its Jordan Springs East development, several years after subsidence issues were first discovered in the estate.

The line of abandoned homes will be bulldozed starting in February after owners took up buyback offers on the properties, which were only built as recently as 2018.

It has since been revealed parts of the suburb are sinking due to issues with the fill used to prepare the ground, leaving some properties cracking and unliveable.

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“Since becoming aware of the ground settlement issues, we’ve been working with affected owners and administering a compensation scheme to address impacts,” Ranisha Clarke, the developer’s managing director of communities, said.

“As part of the scheme, a number of homes were repurchased from owners, and some of these will now be removed as they do not meet our own internal quality standards.”

News.com.au visited the sites of houses set to be knocked down on Armoury Rd, Private Ct and Navy Rd, and observed all of them to be abandoned bar one.

It is understood one resident did not accept Lendlease’s offer to buy back his home and will stay while a string of one- and two-storey dwellings either side are wiped out.

A few of the as-new looking properties had no visible issues from the street, but others were boarded up with wood or had smashed windows.

Peter Gaston, who moved to the suburb in 2018, said the last five years have been a “pretty frustrating” period for residents.

“The cracking in the houses was atrocious, bordering on dangerous,” he said.

“Long story short, the joint is sinking.

“The place is abandoned in places. It’s disgusting.”

Despite the bad press Jordan Springs East has received in recent years, news.com.au found several new arrivals who had moved in recently.

Patrick Smith lives across the street from a row of doomed houses on Armoury Rd, but said he didn’t realise they were empty.

“I did expect it to be a bit busier than it is,” he said.

Mr Smith said he was not concerned about his property but was surprised he was not informed about the situation when he moved in late last year.

“I would assume they would send out a letter box drop,” he said. “I would have liked to know.”

Another newcomer, Melissa Johnson said her family bought a home on Private Circuit in October – a street where two houses will be knocked down.

She said they knew “we were taking a bit of a gamble” moving in, having been across the issue through the news.

“Knowing that there’s houses two doors down that aren’t fit to live in is a bit worrying,” Ms Johnson said.

“The only issue is when we will go to sell, what will people think? Are people still going to be hesitant or reluctant to buy here?”

Of the 1000 new houses in Jordan Springs East, Lendlease maintains that only 90 of them were impacted by excessive ground settlement.

Resident Ali Shaikh said there is another problem locals have to contend with; the promised but still unfinished extension of the Wianamatta Parkway to a nearby industrial state.

As it stands, he said, there still is only one way in or out of the estate four years after the original opening date of the new road in 2019.

Apart from “wasting time” going the long way around to nearby suburbs, Mr Shaikh said he was worried about more serious issues too.

“It’s not safe either, only having one way out,” he said. “If that gets blocked off in a bushfire, that’s not good.”

Lendlease said approval for the connection to Links Rd, which would require a bridge being built over wetlands, was awaiting approval from Penrith City Council.

The council and developer were previously locked in a legal battle in the Land and Environment Court over plans for the road, with the court finding in favour of Lendlease in 2021.

Mr Gaston said his home, along with dozens of others in the suburb, was slapped with a planning notation from the council a few years ago.

The notice informs owners and would-be buyers of potential issues with properties.

He claimed Lendlease would not tell him why that occurred, almost two years after the fact.

“They’ve always been very secretive,” Mr Gaston said. “Everyone has to do their own research.”

In her statement, Ms Clarke said Lendlease would continue to “stand by our customers” and would provide ongoing support to residents.

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