The owner of grand and historic East Orange property Strathroy, Andrew McDougall, surveyed the scene about him on Spring Street.
He was perplexed, and perhaps a little grumpy.
"They pay people in planning departments a lot of money to create diverse communities like this," he said.
He can't fathom why anyone would want to risk all that is good in this little pocket of the city, just so that multiple social housing villas or townhouses could be built.
About 20 local residents, including Mr McDougall and his wife Deanne Phillips, gathered on Friday afternoon to protest the redevelopment of three 70-year-old social housing properties opposite Strathroy.
The redevelopment - flagged to tenants recently in a letter from the Department of Communities and Justice and a visit from the NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) - will see tenants moved on, with no timeline as to when, or information about whether they will be moved into new areas and have to enrol their children in new schools.
It is a decision that has caused a great deal of anxiety, and locals are digging in for a fight.
Mr McDougall and Ms Phillips have owned Strathroy for about 25 years, and they've developed nice friendships with their neighbours.
Among them is Hope Ryan.
Ms Ryan has lived in her social housing accommodation for four years and although it took her a while to get settled, she loves her property and neighbours.
"I'm worried what will happen to my pets if they move me into a property that doesn't allow pets," said Ms Ryan, who has assistance from Live Better.
Strathroy was built around 1872 for Josiah Parker, a chemist and stationer, and the first mayor of East Orange.
The Victorian style brick house has a large garden of around 2.5 acres, reduced through subdivision from its original allotment.
Over the road on Spring Street are three brick houses built around 1950. All three are home to social housing tenants, including Ms Ryan.
Next in the row are three former workman's cottages, built around the same era as Strathroy, and presumably used to house those who constructed, or worked at, the stately home.
The same families and their antecedents have lived in these workman's cottages for over 100 years, and all are related.
As the social housing land is owned by the state government, no development approval is required from Orange City Council, although any development must meet regulations.
"The first thing I'll be doing is getting council to back a motion against it so we can put a submission in opposing the development," said deputy mayor Glenn Taylor, who was at the protest.
"There are significant heritage issues here, with Strathroy, and these properties are 70 years old and examples of early public housing in Orange," Cr Taylor said.
"There aren't too many of them left.
"The Department of Housing has plenty of blocks in Orange, they've got houses that are vacant, houses that have been left to run down, and vacant blocks.
"Why pick a neighbourhood like this?"
NSW LAHC told the Central Western Daily no final decision had been made on the future of the three houses.
The Department of Communities and Justice told tenants the same thing.
The tenants and their neighbours are sceptical, however, as the tenants were notified last week that soil samples would be taken from the three properties in coming days.
One tenant said they were told by a representative of LAHC that it was looking at putting eight villas on the site.
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