BREAKING: OG issues media release – read it and weep

Media Release

Monday 13 October 2014

Minister Guy shuts gate on Orrong Road after developer bolted!

Lend Lease still entitled to build 475 units.

Now, only weeks out from a State election, the Member for Prahran announced late last week that Planning Minister Guy has approved an amendment to the Stonnington Planning Scheme known as ‘Amendment C153’ that will apply to 590 Orrong Road.  This is the urban design framework or UDF that the community had been agitating for over four years.

The Minister’s decision is an admission by the Government that the Community’s and Council’s opposition to this massive development, and their demands for mandatory height and density restrictions, were reasonable and justified

While it is disturbing that Lend Lease remains entitled to develop this site under its currently approved plans permitting 19 buildings up to 13 stories, creating about 475 units, the Community may take some comfort in Amendment C153 because it will stop Lend Lease from increasing the height or density, or other adverse changes that fail to conform with the new Amendment.  The same constraints will apply if the site were to be sold to another developer.

For more than 4 years, Orrong Group has pressed Local and State Governments to amend the Stonnington Planning Scheme to impose reasonable and sustainable planning restrictions on this significant site by way of an urban design framework or ‘UDF’.

We argued for these UDF restrictions well before Lend Lease applied to VCAT for a development permit.

Even after VCAT issued a permit to Lend Lease, we continued to argue for these restrictions.  It is common for developers who have a permit to seek to increase the size of the proposed development.  With that in mind, we continued to press our case to ‘ring fence’ the damage that had already been caused.

Six hundred families objected to VCAT regarding this massive CBD/Docklands style development and, with Stonnington Council’s commendable support and cooperation, the community has fought against this development at VCAT and on appeal in the Supreme Court.

The Community is opposed to the approved excessive 475 unit development; the Council is opposed to the excessive development; and finally the State Government has approved the C153 Amendment acknowledging that what has been approved is excessive.

This Government promised before the last election:

“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 Stonington’s local planning scheme and the protection of local amenity.” (Emphasis added)

The Orrong Group repeatedly petitioned this Government to keep this promise to no avail.

After many months of the Council requesting the Planning Minister to put temporary planning controls on this site sitting idle on the Planning Minister’s desk, a few days before the start of the VCAT hearing, the Government refused the request for temporary controls.  Refusing this request, the Government exposed the Community to the highly predictable risk of VCAT approving the permit application under planning rules this Government had severely criticized.

Regrettably the approval of Amendment C153 is too late to modify the currently approved development plans  The community is upset at this State Government `breaking its pre-election commitment` and will take this into account  when deciding which way to vote in November.

It is still open to the Planning Minister Matthew Guy to achieve something positive for the Stonnington Community. He could persuade the owner, the Hargreaves family to act as a good neighbor and direct their developers Lend Lease to reduce the size of the development or better still the Minister could compulsory acquire this perfect site for the new Stonnington Secondary School, The site is located in the centre of Stonnington, has ample playing areas and excellent public transport. The current buildings could easily be re-configured for classrooms.

So over to you Minister Guy and Members for Malvern and Prahran

It would be interesting to hear also from the Shadow Planning Minister, Brian Tee.

Orrong Group Executive Committee

Margot Carroll

T: 0409 174 194

E: mlcarroll@netspace.net.au

Peter Matthews

T: 0413 209 650

E: peterm@beyondmedia.com.au

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