The latest Development Plan for the Mixed Use Precinct of the Caulfield Village reveals once again the failure of this council to keep its residents informed as to what is really going on. Worse still, the proposed plans are another example of MRC profit making and to hell with the local community.

Council Secrecy

The plans reveal the following (and we quote) –

On 27 May 2014 Glen Eira City Council (GECC) approved the initial Development Plan for Caulfield Village (DP 16060/2013) relating to that part of the Residential Precinct west of Bond Street. That Development Plan approval was subsequently amended on a number of occasions, most recently on 05 May 2015  (page 6 –Town Planning Assessment Report)

Condition 24 of Development Plan approval DP 16060/2013 required that the proposed design of the Normanby Road / Boulevard / PHE / Sir John Monash Drive intersection be resolved and approved by SJB Planning Council before further work on the future stages of Caulfield Village can advance. Following extensive engagement with State and local government stakeholders, an updated Integrated Transport Plan was submitted to Council for endorsement on 01 October 2015. (Page 13/14)

Thus, the MRC keeps putting in amended plans and residents know nothing about the amendments and what concessions have undoubtedly been granted to the MRC and by whom! There has not been any formal council resolution on the 5th May 2015, nor any notice that amendments were sought. Why not? And who made the decisions and under whose authority? And as we stated in our previous post, who made the current decision to ‘refuse’ the new Development Plan and what were the grounds of refusal? Why aren’t residents informed as to what is going on until after the fact?

The Development Plan

There is much that could be said about this current proposal. We will only highlight the most obvious things –

  • Another 397 apartments proposed in 4 buildings
  • Building A – 9 storeys of 56 one bedroom and 56 two bedroom
  • Building B – 9 storeys of 44 one bedroom, 56 two bedroom and 9 three bedrooms
  • Building C – 5 storeys of 36 one bedroom and 12 two bedroom
  • Building D – 7 storeys of 92 one bedroom and 36 two bedroom

Thus the percentage of family oriented three bedroom apartments is the wonderful number of 2.26% – whereas the documents claim 5%!

The proposed configurations of these apartments are also nothing to write home about. For example:

No of apartments under 50 square metres – 51

No of units between 50 and 60 square metres – 60

No of balconies under 8 square metres – 71

We remind readers that council caved in on the requirement for 8 square metres of balcony on a previous amendment. Also the State Government’s Better Apartments is looking at legislating for a minimum size and 50 square metres is one suggestion.

Traffic Management & Parking

  • Thanks to the incompetence of the Incorporated Plan, there is NO VISITOR CAR PARKING
  • 397 units plus retail only warrants 441 spots
  • The ‘statistics’ used date from 2010 and ‘updated’ in 2013! No mention of course of impacts on Eskdale Road, Newington, and other local streets all round the precinct!

Affordable Housing

We are so dumbfounded by this proposal that we cite it in full. Please remember that some councillors wrung their hands in dismay when there was no provision for ‘affordable housing’ in Precinct One. The argument put forward by the Lipshutzs and Hyams and Pillings of this world, was that the other precincts would fulfill this requirement. Well here is the ‘master plan’ for affordable housing, courtesy of the MRC. We are sure that readers will get a good laugh out of the following:

Aspirations for the provision of affordable housing within the Caulfield Village development are expressed in the Incorporated Plan. In the current absence of a Federal or State Government scheme to support the development of affordable rental housing, BPG has given detailed consideration to how it might self implement an opportunity for affordable housing within its development that is suitable to Caulfield Village and the broader Caulfield context.

The Caulfield Village & Affordable Housing Report at Appendix Q explores a variety of models that might be adopted to facilitate affordable housing opportunities within the development. It identifies the “Pathway to Ownership” model as the most appropriate having regard to the particular circumstances of the proposal and its context. Broadly, the model would offer assistance to low-to-moderate income renter households to purchase an affordable home in the Caulfield Village development by providing people in affordable or private rental with a savings record an opportunity for assistance to meet the necessary start up funds to facilitate ownership. Deposit subsidies from BPG to eligible participants also form part of the assistance package. The scheme would be administered by a community housing provider. It is anticipated that eligible purchasers would currently be living in community housing or private rental accommodation, with limited opportunities to otherwise enter the housing market.

The added benefits of the scheme include the direct expertise of a community housing provider to assist appropriate and eligible candidates on the pathway to ownership, and the freeing up of low rental accommodation previously occupied by participants in the Pathway to Ownership scheme.

The preferred affordable housing model, which will be known as Caulfield Apartment Start Program (CASP) could potentially be applied to any of the proposed accommodation within the development, rather than limited to certain apartments or apartment types. Likewise there would be no limit to the number of apartments able to be purchased under the affordability scheme. The model applies a subsidy to eligible purchasers, rather than dwellings. It is uncertain, until the scheme is up and running, what the uptake of accommodation through the Pathway to Ownership model will look like, but BPG is committed to implementing the program for accommodation within the Mixed Use Precinct, and potentially future development stages

Our final word of caution

Whilst the variously dated Incorporated Plan (ie some of the documents refer to the Incorporated Plan as being 2011 and other documents cite 2014!) stated that the maximum preferred heights for Precinct 1 was 5 storeys, we now have 6 storeys looming over Station St. This is because of the neat little trick perpetrated by the MRC and permitted by council of using the formula of AHD. This refers to sea level heights. Thus if the land is sloping, then instead of the preferred height of say 5 storeys, the MRC can build 6 storeys. Council of course, and all their expert planners, did not pick this up – or if they did, did not care! Thus we warn residents that the mooted heights of these building are just that – mooted and nothing is set in concrete!

PS: stuck between the four building of 9/10 storeys, and 5/6 and 7/8 storeys, the MRC proposes to create a ‘pocket park’. The accompanying visuals are astounding: vast expanses of ‘open space’ that make the area look like a major park and not a ‘pocket park’. No real high rise to dominate the site; no overshadowing whatsoever, and nowhere in the landscape plan could we find any data which states the size and dimensions of this proposed ‘park’. What we do know at this stage is that 25 onsite trees will be removed and 14 street trees at least!