Liberal MP accused of breaking party ranks over ‘inappropriate’ development

Date:September 8, 2014 – 12:15AM

Henrietta Cook

MP Elizabeth Miller says she is merely supporting her local constituents. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones

A Liberal MP has been accused of breaking party ranks after she opposed a proposed development that sits within new state government residential zones.

Bentleigh MP Elizabeth Miller wrote to Glen Eira City Council on behalf of residents last month to raise concerns about a three-storey block of units planned for a quiet residential street in McKinnon.

She labelled the proposed 24-unit development on Penang Street  “inappropriate”, saying it would “drastically alter the streetscape” and its height was a concern.

“It will also drastically change the local demographic and cause a shift away from a family-friendly area to apartment-style living,” she said in her planning objection,

“I urge you to consider protecting this family-friendly neighbourhood.”

Glen Eira was the first municipality to implement the new residential zones, which the government says are designed to create clarity about where development should take place and which areas are protected.

About 30 local residents have lodged objections, including some at a nearby retirement village who fear it will exacerbate traffic congestion and make it harder to get around the neighbourhood.

Ms Miller said last August that the changes would protect residents’ backyards and would be “welcomed by the many families who’ve spoken to me about protecting local streetscapes”.

Former premier Ted Baillieu’s mother-in-law Joan Jubb, who has a billboard spruiking Labor candidate for Bentleigh Nick Staikos in her front yard, lives on the same street as the proposed development and fears it will destroy local amenity and create traffic issues.

Ms Jubb blames the proposed development on the new zones, which allow a maximum building height of three storeys or 10.5 metres in her street.

“The planning zones have allowed people to develop such a monstrosity,” she said.

Robyn Morgan, who lives next door to the proposed units, is spearheading a community campaign against the development, which, if approved, will demolish two single-storey weatherboard houses from the 1920s.

She said Ms Miller’s objection contradicted the Liberal Party’s own policy.

“It’s inappropriate for a small residential street. If we allows this sort of development to go ahead, it will destroy local neighbourhoods. We will lose all our afternoon sun,” Ms Morgan said.

Opposition planning spokesman Brian Tee said the new zones were “taking a wrecking ball” to suburbs. He said Ms Miller had broken party ranks by criticising a development that had been put forward in compliance with the new zones. “Denis Napthine should take the advice of his own MPs, who are breaking ranks to end this destruction.”

Ms Miller denied she had defied the party line. She said she had been overwhelmed with residents opposed to the development and had simply taken up their concerns with the council.

“I believe residents’ concerns are warranted, so I have written to council. It’s an inappropriate development for the area,” she said.

She said she was happy with the new residential zones.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy said the new zones had given residents greater protection against inappropriate developments. He said under the previous system, the area had no mandatory height limits. “You could put a 50-storey building in the previous zone.”

Mr Guy said Ms Miller was being a good local member by lodging the objection and the new zones were working well.

14 Responses to “Elections & Penang Street!”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Agree. Miller is feeling the pressure. Wrong target maybe. Hyams, Esakoff, Lipshutz, Pilling, Lobo, Sounness, Delahunty,Okotel are the ones who should be squirming since they are responsible. They’ll get off scot free because they will reject knowing that it will go to vcat and becuase of the shit planning the decision will have to go the way of the develooper. That’s the zoning and that’s the scheme. Solution is to change the zoning and change councillors and change administration.

    1. Smart Aleck Says:

      Ya forgot Magee

  2. D.Evans Says:

    The last few posts have very successfully in my opinion disclosed the nastiness of the new zones. I call this “nasty” because the zones and the way they were introduced runs counter to all accepted behaviour and tradition. Worse by far is the impact that the new zones are already having. People have bought their homes probably years ago, invested in renovations, created a community of neighbours and now this is all under threat. Large apartment blocks of 30 plus units on 1500 metres of land is not conducive to “neighbourliness” and a sense of community – and definitely not when most of these are likely to be single bedroom apartments that are geared to returning the largest profits for developers. Add on to this the impact of traffic and the waiving of car parking spots and the quiet suburb is turned into another rat run.

    For all the talk about “protection” even those people living alongside the new zones will have their lives compromised. I’ve looked at the maps and there are countless examples all through Glen Eira where minimal change is right alongside the grz or commercial zones. No amount of upper storey setbacks is going to reduce the overlooking and ugliness of a 3 or 4 storey backing on to a single storey backyard or facing something like this across the street.

    I thank the residents of Penang Street for organising themselves and putting the issue on the map, so to speak. I am maybe lucky enough to be living in a minimal change area. That’s not safe either. Three neighbouring blocks have been sold and will be redeveloped. They are large blocks which council urges developers to first subdivide in order to get around the two units per block embargo. I am gearing up to fight tooth and nail against multi unit development that will destroy my sunlight, my trees, and my area. The only message that can be deduced from what is happening is that everyone is under threat no matter where they live.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Guy’s singing from the Newton/Hyams song sheet – 50 storeys my foot. He’s as full of crap as this council is.

  4. anon Says:

    Miller doesn’t believe a word of what she wrote, there an election looming and she wants votes

    1. Anonymous Says:

      Don’t forget Millers letter of support for 6 and 10 story buildings in East Boundary rd last year.

  5. gleneira Says:

    Off topic, but we couldn’t resist the best faux pas of the year. David Southwick’s Facebook page ( features a story on Friends of Caulfield Park and contains the following line – “retaining the beauty of our wonderful park. — at Caulfield Park.” Trouble is that one you click on the “caulfield park” hyperlink, up comes CAULFIELD RACING. Now is that some kind of Freudian slip or what:-)

    1. anon Says:

      ha well if you look most of his pictures are of him at some event at the MRC. Still haven’t worked out what he has done for GLEN IRIS (or Caulfield for that matter)!

  6. Anonymous Says:

    What a dirty campaign Labor is waging to unseat Miller and get an even dirtier Staikos elected.

    Staikos was useless as a Councillor and his only experience is as a Labor Party staffer.

    1. anon Says:

      yes, he was hopeless, meeting after meeting he just sat there and didn’t open his mouth, took the pay and did nothing, I expect that’s what he’ll do if he ever gets into parliament

  7. gleneira Says:

    The planning conference for Penang Street is scheduled for the 22nd September in the council auditorium at 7pm. All residents concerned about the future of their streets should attend.

    1. Anonymous Says:

      The planning conference for Mavho St., Bentleigh is on tonight.- 6.30 p.m. at the Town Hall

      Penang Street residents (or at least a representative) should attend to get an idea of what they are in for and also some pointers on grounds for objection.

  8. Anon Says:

    Nothing will help with developments mushrooming in Glen Eira until all residents go to the steps of Victorian Parliament and demand that Mathew Guy rescinds the residential zones or steps down. Also blame your respective MP for allowing this to happen at your cost.

    1. Anonymous Says:

      You are forgetting how complicit Glen Eira Council is in all this. No consultation and no information. All Councillors failed the residents by not doing any homework or listening to what residents were saying.

      Once again they bought hook line and sinker the Administration’s line despite the Administration well documented and consistently leading them down the garden path. Blame the government, blame VCAT be damned, on the zone implementation all blame attaches to Council.

      I hear Councillors are becoming uncomfortable with what is happening and how angry residents are. Uncomfortable what the f*ck, they should try living next to the construction and foreverness of the four storey building.

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