The 3 images above depict an aspect of structure planning undertaken by different councils – and stand in stark contrast to how Glen Eira Council is approaching the same task.

Please note that:

  • Each of these councils includes vast areas of ‘residential’ land
  • Borders are clearly defined and are ‘reviewed’
  • Notations that ‘heritage’ areas to be ‘generally excluded’

Glen Eira’s structure planning concentrates exclusively on the main shopping strip (ie Centre Road, Glen Huntly Road, etc) and the surrounding residential areas (ie the zones) are ignored. The use of the term ‘shopping strip’ alone in the surveys was the clear giveaway!

Given that ‘structure planning’ is meant to deal with ‘activity centres’ as a whole, and that activity centres include far more than a single shopping strip, we find the approach taken by council far from adequate – especially in light of the countless comments already submitted by residents complaining about overdevelopment in their side streets. What we are therefore seeing is NOT a structure plan for an activity centre but a half baked approach to genuine community consultation and proficient strategic planning.

Finally, Council’s planning scheme clearly outlines what it considers to be an activity centre. Here is the one for Bentleigh –

By ignoring the residential areas included in the activity centre, we can only wonder at the efficacy of any resulting structure plan. If no current data on population, car ownership, developments, etc is included in the design of any future structure plan, then the very validity of the plan must be questioned. As shown in previous posts the vast majority of development is not occurring in the areas zoned Commercial, but in the abutting residential areas. The impact of this must be reviewed and questions as to capacity, infrastructure needs, etc. addressed before any window dressing occurs for the central shopping strips alone.