Alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear for residents as a result of council’s latest news item on its proposed planning agenda. (See:

Several things are clear:

  • There will NOT BE ANY STRUCTURE PLANNING for the myriad of neighbourhood centres in the foreseeable future. All that will happen is the production of an Activity Centres Strategy which will consist of a broad ‘vision’ and ‘guidelines’ that will undoubtedly go into the Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS), plus its probable inclusion as a ‘reference document’.
  • The promise of community representation on a steering committee for the Virginia Estate development from the start of the project (strongly voiced by Athanasopolous and Delahunty) appears to have been conveniently forgotten given this carefully phrased announcement –

In order to form a community led vision and key objectives for the precinct, we are conducting our own community consultation. This will inform the development of a structure plan, which will guide what can be built on the site.

Visit to tell us what you would like East Village to look like into the future.

The opportunity to provide feedback on this stage closes Sunday 16 April.

There will be further opportunities to provide feedback once a draft structure plan has been developed.

  • Murrumbeena and Hughesdale, despite what the Transforming Concept document states, will not be part of the structure planning program. Instead, council will be getting ready for major ‘value capture’ development as a result of the level crossing removals – ie Recommendations to the State Government’s Level Crossing Removal Authority, with suggested projects for Carnegie, Murrumbeena and Hughesdale
  • Of greatest concern is the following –

We will use the community feedback on your concerns regarding development in residential neighbourhoods to develop new building and development guidelines.

There will also be a more detailed focus on Bentleigh, Carnegie and Elsternwick.

These guidelines will shape future development for land in activity centres zoned as Commercial One Zone, General Residential Zone and Residential Growth Zone.

No mention of reviewing the zones themselves or the borders of these zones. No mention as to whether these ‘guidelines’ will result in revised schedules or merely be part of the MSS. No mention as whether these guidelines will be a ‘one size fits all’ across all neighbourhood centres or will cater to the individual needs of each specific centre.

There is much in this media release that is (deliberately?) vague and even contradicts previous statements. What is entirely ignored, and of major importance is the Minister’s recent announcement of changes to Plan Melbourne via his gazetting of Amendment C110. The changes provide councils with the opportunity to rework their schedules and to provide clear ‘neighbourhood character objectives’ for both the NRZ and GRZ areas. This involves much, much more than ‘building and development guidelines’.