PPS: Here’s The Age’s version of the latest events –

The outcry over inappropriate development is gathering voice and momentum. Residents in all suburbs are now experiencing the results of Glen Eira Council’s lack of timely, competent, and justifiable strategic planning.

Two amendments (C11 and C25) are the cause of what is now happening throughout Glen Eira. The former established what is known as the ‘urban villages’ (ie major activity centres of Bentleigh, Elsternwick and Carnegie) and the latter set up the inequitable ‘minimal change’ versus ‘housing diversity’ areas incorporating what are known as ‘neighbourhood centres’. Murrumbeena, Ormond, McKinnon, Bentleigh East for example are all ‘neighbourhood centres’ and not major activity centres.

Each of the above amendments went off to a Planning Panel. The Panel’s recommendations and comments are worth a revisit since they clearly state what Council was required to do in order to fully justify its proposals. Needless to say, after 14 years since the Planning Panel report on C11 was handed down, absolutely NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE. The introduction of the new zones merely reinforced all the already existing inequities and shortcomings without undertaking the required strategic work.

Here are some extracts from the two Panel Reports. The bolded sections are our emphases and pinpoint the tasks that were demanded but which Council has not completed.

Amendment C11 – Setting up the Major Activity Centres

Traffic/parking studies and urban design/built form frameworks are to be undertaken/developed to address traffic/parking issues and to ensure that design outcomes are appropriate.

The Panel recommends that, after approval, Council develop building design guidelines for all three centres

Council believe that “Urban Villages” provide many benefits for the immediate and wider community including:

• More energy efficient housing, environmentally sensitive development, pedestrian activity and social interaction;

• Improved amenity, quality open spaces and more accessible services and facilities;

• More vibrant town centres by increasing population in their catchments and by enhancing their attractiveness through improvements in amenity;

The Panel believes that proper “urban village” planning must address the following issues at the very least:

• Land use planning

• Built form

• Urban design

• Capital works spending based on the strategic allocation of developer contributions, open space contributions or other public funds.

• Car parking

• Traffic analysis

• Community facilities and services

• Public realm and the provision of spaces conducive to the needs of the resident, consumer and visiting population

• Public transport improvements and integration

• Open space connections

• Interfaces and transition with surrounding areas

• Promotion of aspects of the valued cultural attributes of the village such as unique ethnic or activity strengths


Amendment C25 – ‘Minimal Change/Housing Diversity’

The most damning comments in this Panel Report relate to the interim’ nature of the Amendment and the amount of work that Council still had to undertake. What was declared as ‘interim’ morphed into ‘permanent’ and was further ‘cemented’ with the new zones. The ‘neighbourhood centres’ in particular received much comment as did their arbitrary lines on a map.

The Panel concludes that boundary issues are something that are best addressed through detailed assessment of each centre, as indicated in the amendment as future strategic work. The boundaries identified in this amendment should only be seen as interim arrangements until structure planning exercises are undertaken.

The boundaries of the neighbourhood centres identified in this amendment are considered by the panel as interim at best. They will require review as part of detailed assessment of each centre.

The Panel does not agree with the concept that all activity centres categorised as neighbourhood centres in C25 are automatically suited for higher density residential development.

The Ormond Neighbourhood Centre is an example of an activity centre that, while obviously having a strong commercial base and a railway station, may not necessarily have the character or form to make it automatically attractive as a focus for intensified residential development. It is located around a wide, heavily trafficked road (North Road), it is not compact, easy to circulate through or have a distinctive urban form. Furthermore, the uses in this centre are dominated by office uses and the type of specialty shops the (sic) serve a regional rather than a local catchment. There are few shops providing the type of goods (especially food) that would service a purely local population

The Panel considers that rear boundaries should be preferred as boundaries rather than street frontages, to overcome problems where one side of a street is treated differently from the other side of the street.

A stated objective of C25 is to assist the vitality and economic basis of Glen Eira’s activity centres. This is an admiral objective but one that the Panel considers will not be addressed simply through residential initiatives. Further, the pursuit of residential initiatives in isolation from other economic, traffic, access and business development initiatives may actually be detrimental to the overall well-being of the centres.

At best C25 provides a holding mechanism until more specific and effective policies are developed for each of the neighbourhood centres individually. This issue is a serious one that must be addressed directly in the development of the Structure Pans for individual centres.

Traffic and parking issues should be addressed in the structure plans Council proposes to develop for its neighbourhood centres. Provided the structure plans take into account, and cater adequately for, increased demand, the impact on local streets need not become a significant issue. The Panel recommends that the structure plans to be prepared by Council for each neighbourhood centre address issues of parking and traffic generated by both residents and shoppers

The other significant issues noted by the Panel are the need for the further work identified by Council to be undertaken as soon as possible. This applies especially to the preparation of a Structure Plan for each neighbourhood centre that reflect both its current and future role as an activity centre and its potential

And then of course there is the Planning Scheme itself – full of broken promises that the following quotes reveal.

Clause 21.04 – Developing local structure plans / urban design frameworks to guide development in the neighbourhood centres

Developing “suburb” plans for each suburb which integrate land use and development planning, with planning for infrastructure, capital works, recreation, parks and gardens, street trees and business development.

Developing local area traffic management plans and parking precinct plans to control the effects of parking and traffic intrusion in residential areas.

Implementing local area traffic management changes in existing areas in consultation with communities to improve safety and amenity and discourage use by inappropriate traffic.

Investigating mechanisms which require developers to undertake street tree planting.

Investigating the development of additional development contribution mechanisms based on accepted principles of need, equity, nexus, accountability and timing.

Investigating urban design improvements to the public domain surrounding major public transport hubs in consultation with public transport service providers


Preparing Parking Precinct Policies for the following neighbourhood centres:

􀂂 Alma Village, Caulfield Park, Caulfield South, Bentleigh East, Glen Huntly, Ormond.

􀂃 Investigating the need for a cash-in-lieu policy to fund new car parks in various commercial centres.

Implementing a program of Local Area Traffic Management Plans in order to minimise disruption and increase safety of residential areas.


  • The basis and strategic justification for the introduction of the new residential zones is entirely suspect given that Amendment C25 was clearly seen as an ‘interim’ measure.
  • None of the required work has been undertaken by Council
  • The new zones fly in the face of many of the recommendations by the Panels
  • It is inexcusable that so much of the Planning Scheme is nothing more than words on a page and the promised ‘further strategic work’ is allowed to lie dormant and untouched to the detriment of all residents
  • The lack of consultation, review, and action needs to stay firmly in the minds of all residents when they next vote in 2016. Residents have literally been duped, deceived and dudded!