OG attends planning forum – report

Orrong Group attends planning forum

Prahran residents, tired of being planned out of their beloved neighbourhoods attended a forum convened by Liberal candidate for Prahran Clem Newton-Brown last Wednesday night. The shadow minister for planning Matthew Guy spoke about the need for certainty in the planning process currently lacking and criticized the number of call-ins by planning minister Justin Madden. He declared the Orrong Road development at Toorak station likely to be called in despite MP Tony Lupton’s statement. 

The opposition’s planning policy has not yet been released but look out for it before the November 28 poll. (Meanwhile the government has just announced amendments to the Planning and Environment Act would be shelved until after the election leaving Victorians unsure of potential erosion of local planning authority. Angry residents at the forum were fed up with local government being sidelined and inappropriate developments going ahead despite council objections. 

Representing local government in Prahran, Stonnington councillor Melina Sehr spoke of the threat to the character of Prahran and gave many examples of the state government overriding the council to fast-track development in the area, including Chapel Street, Charles Street, Surrey Road and many more. She warned of how quickly the process can move ahead once a project has been called in. “You might get one week’s notice to present submissions.” 

The message from Clem Newton-Brown was clear: protesters need to make a big noise to be heard. Get the media involved and be loud. Convenor of Planning Backlash Mary Drost and Ann Reid of Malvern East Residents Group alerted the forum to a meeting planned for Hawthorn Town Hall in November and Upper House member Andrea Coote offered to table a petition in Parliament on behalf of Orrong Group objecting to the scale of the development at 590 Orrong Road. To Fight the Towers effectively we need to get as many signatures as possible. Watch this space for details about taking to your street with a clipboard. 

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