From The Age March 30 2015

Read all about it.

Read all about it.

From today’s edition of The Age.

Urgent: Council’s plan for parkland next to 590 Orrong Rd

compulsory acquisition stonnington

Black marks the space dominated by sports clubs. Yellow marks the spot for everything else.

Victory Square under threat, playground demolished, (yet) more cricket facilities planned. 

The words below come to us from members of a new group: No Confidence in Stonnington, many of whom live near “ground zero”. Not only have these residents been lumbered with the gross over development that is 590 Orrong Rd, they are facing compulsory acquisition of their homes – using money from the developer.

That money – which is obligatory by law – is supposed to compensate locals  for the massive impact of the development. Instead it seems that the money will be spent in ways that hurts locals more and benefit one very specific group in the community. If that’s not enough, the group has drawn our attention to a hideous new possible masterplan for the Victory Square space. It seems that people – dog walkers, parents, kids, older people, joggers, those that just enjoy a (tiny) open space – will be ignored in favour of powerful sports clubs. If what you read below upsets you, learn more and take action at their website.  

Stonnington Council proposes to place a Public Acquisition Overlay over three homes adjacent to Toorak Oval and Victory Square (Amendment C 197) (homes at 10 and 14 Aubrey St and 1aFulton Street). They have already spent over $1.4M quietly acquiring 1 Fulton Street in 2014. They are in a position to spend millions of ratepayers’ funds on potentially acquiring homes because of the developer contributions they will receive, by law, from the Lend Lease development at 590 Orrong Road.

The anticipated open space needs generated by this development should have been provided at that land. The local community should not be required to provide land for the public open space needs generated by that development and had understood the development contributions from that development would go to improving existing open space, not acquiring more land.

Another master plan for Toorak Oval and Victory Square

The existing master plan does not contemplate the expansion of the park area. However, the Council proposes to spend money on yet another master plan for Toorak Oval and Victory Square and preliminary plans indicate that they wish to spend ratepayers’ funds to acquire the three homes and turn them into cricket nets and re-allocated car parking spaces. Victory Square will be turned into a mini football/cricket oval and will see the removal of the much used playground. It is likely that it will not longer be accessible for the many dog owners, parents, children and seniors, who use the park all day, every day.

Object by Monday 2nd February If you agree that this is certainly not the best allocation of ratepayers’ funds, nor the best outcome for the wider community, not just the influential sporting groups, please object. More details and an objection form here.

Broken 2010 Election Promises re 590 Orrong Road

With the 2 major parties busy making election promises, the Orrong Group can speak from 4 years experience of the failure of politicians to keep their promises post election.

Michael O’Brien said to parliament before the last election in late July 2010 (see Extract VicHansard 29 July 2010) about this development:

“If Stonnington residents are again ignored by this Government, I have no doubt they will respond at the ballot box in November, and it will prove fatal to the career of the member for Prahran”.

The full statement indicates the Coalition was against this massive over development in our suburb, and would assist and empower local government and the local community to stop it.

Indeed, the Member for Prahran announced just before the last election in October 2010:

” We will scrap the laws which make it easy for!developers to get approval for things like Orrong Towers. The Urban  Development Programme, A Brumby government document, earmarks the site for high rise developments with 440 dwellings recommended.

A Liberal Coalition Government will urgently review the Urban Development Program assessment for the number of dwellings appropriate for the site at 590 Orrong Road with a view to reducing the density in line with Stonnington’s local planning scheme and the protection of local amenity.
We will give power back to the local communities again to protect and shape the future of our inner city neighbourhoods.”

Despite the promises, and the ‘talk’ about giving power back to local communities, when Stonnington and the local community took prompt, active and direct steps to propose, strongly support and implement an amendment to the Planning Scheme to put density and height restrictions on the site, this government failed to comply with its prior election promise; and certainly failed to do so when  it counted.

Minister Guy could have made good on his Government’s prior election promise by putting interim controls on the site pending the finalisation of Stonnington’s proposed amendment to the planning scheme.

We pleaded with him to save our community from this ‘whelan the wrecker’ type assault.

But no, he sat on Stonnington’s request for the interim planning controls for months and months.And then, only days before the VCAT hearing, he denied it on the most unintelligible grounds.  

Instead, he intentionally allowed the developer’s permit application to go to VCAT, and exposed the community to the same planning rules which he vociferously opposed before the last election, as flawed.

And then in a final act of political cynicism, in October this year, just before this coming election, Minister Guy finally approved Stonnington’s and the community’s amendment to the planning scheme  – proving he agreed with it  –  but more than a year after the developer already obtained its planning permit!

This is a story about political deceit and negligence; and while that is not a subject about which voters need much reminding (which of course is tragic), it remains the case that we must remember that, as politicians go on their campaigns in pursuit of power, and boldly make promises asking the community to trust them – they are affecting peoples’ lives.

So, as building is about to start on this site, and the election is fast approaching, we can only repeat Michael O’Brien’s prophetic statement made before the last election:

“If Stonnington residents are again ignored by this Government, I have no doubt they will respond at the ballot box in November, and it will prove fatal to the career of the member for Prahran”.

Our experience over 4 years of the Coalition Government is disheartening. We can’t comment on the ALP in opposition.

The Orrong Group has maintained a non-party position but as planning is politics we feel it appropriate to comment now.

It is still open to both parties to rescue this site for the community. It is an ideal site for the Stonnington Secondary School. It would correct past errors of the Kennett Government which sold off the public land at 590 Orrong Road and of the Stonnington Council which sold public land at 4 Osment Street (the Council nursery and depot) in 2003 to the same developer (Frank Hargraves Skilled Engineering).

Margot Carroll
Orrong Group

OG in Stonnington Leader re VCAT changes

Orrong Group in Stonnington Leader

News worth reading.

Margot is making good copy discussing good planning. Read all about it.

We have a new Mayor

Mayor Melina Sehr.

Mayor Melina Sehr.

Welcome back to the big chair Cr Melina Sehr. Fourth time’s a charm. No reports on whether ex-Mayor Cr Stubbs cried when handing over the tiara.

BREAKING: 590 Orrong Road in The Age again.

590 orrong road lend lease

More coverage and a glimmer of hope for local democracy.

Once again 590 Orrong Rd and the marginal seat of Prahran are in the news. Who knows – VCAT may have to take note of community reaction to developments in future! Goodness – whatever next? Developers willing to compromise? Read all about us.

Coverage in Oct 16 The Age tells it like it is – too little too late by our “leaders”.

We all had better things to do but we did this anyway.

We all had better things to do but we did this anyway.

Thanks to all who turned up for our mid-traffic moment in the limelight. You all look smashing. Just a shame about the whole totally-pointless-Kafkaesque-Ministerial-limits-that-don’t-actually-limit-the-development thing. Read all about it. To be 100% clear – the recent much-heralded “limits” are for future applications for development. HOWEVER Lend Lease has already secured permission for its 13 story towers and 470+ dwellings. The announcement is timed purely for the polls and changes NOTHING for the developers.

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