Seventy-year-old social housing properties on Spring and Summer streets in East Orange will be demolished, the Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) has confirmed.
Soil testing at the properties began this week.
"LAHC is building more fit-for-purpose smaller housing, which meets local demand and the needs of tenants," said the LAHC in a statement.
Affected residents are being told by the Department of Communities and Justice, which manages the properties, that they are to be moved elsewhere, however no timeline or destination have been revealed.
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The LAHC said it was unable to confirm how many properties were impacted until after all neighbours had been informed.
At least one social housing tenant is happy to be moved to different accommodation, however several others are anxious about having to box up their lives and move to an unknown location at an unknown time.
The community around the affected properties includes the owners of historic house Strathroy, Deanne Phillips and Andrew McDougall, and three workers' cottages dating back over 100 years.
About 20 residents, including Ms Phillips, Mr McDougall, Justine Dunn, Laurie Dunn, Melissa Gow and Hope Ryan held a protest at the site recently, at which deputy mayor Glenn Taylor offered support.
They say the current mix of social housing tenants, renters and owners was ideal for their area, and that it represented best practice for diverse housing.
Some residents expressed concern that an influx of social housing properties will change the character of the area.
"Housing redevelopment projects such as this seek to build more new and better social housing to support people in need in the local community," said the LAHC.
"The LAHC is in the early stages of progressing the proposed renewal of sites at Summer Street and Spring Street, Orange.
"Staff from the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) have contacted each of the current tenants in person to inform them of the possible redevelopment of their homes and to start the relocation process.
"DCJ will work sensitively with every tenant to offer alternative accommodation which meets their needs."
The LAHC will release further details "about its projects after commencing preliminary community engagement, which is expected to start shortly".
"This preliminary community engagement will help us shape detailed designs for the sites," said the LAHC.
Orange City Council will call on the relevant state government housing department to outline its plans at the next meeting of council on November 17.
Cr Glenn Taylor told council on Tuesday night it was an urgent matter: "A lot of people will be hurt with this decision".
The LAHC doesn't require development approval from council.
Mayor Reg Kidd said council was unaware what the LAHC had in mind for the area.
"My question is, what are their plans? A number of them are substantial brick houses."
Council will be advised on what actions it could take on the issue.
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