According to council’s own set of figures for Bentleigh (presented below) the proposed changes basically maintain the status quo. That is, there is not too much difference between those properties in line for increased height limits and those areas where height has been reduced.

Adding up all the figures from the table we find that:

  • 243 properties are earmarked for an increase in height, whilst
  • 199 properties are supposedly going to experience a decrease in height

Leaving aside the question of strategic justification for most of these changes, we still ponder whether these statistics really reveal the true stor(e)y (pun intended!). A positive is undoubtedly the rezoning of heritage areas – which implicitly acknowledges the incompetence of what occurred in August 2013. However, the most important issue is whether all of these changes are in fact far too late and what they can achieve? This will of course depend on the resulting amendments and the strength of the long awaited Heritage policy.

A couple of examples should illustrate what we mean regarding the value of some of the proposed changes and how these examples throw some doubt on the figures provided by council.


The intention is to rezone 11 properties in Mitchell Street from 4 to 3 storeys PLUS increase another 10 properties from 2 storeys to 3 storeys. But the sticking point is that Mitchell Street already has permits for 4 storey dwellings (nos. 79-83 and 82-84). Number 77 also has a permit for a 3 storey dwelling and no. 92 is probably geared for sale as a council car park. Hence of the 11 properties along this single stretch of road, 6 already are at 4 storeys and another one will go even higher. Thus council’s figure of 199 properties set for a height decrease certainly do not reveal the true storey since no account is taken of what already exists in these figures.

Further, what of the 6 properties going from 2 to 3 storeys in Mitchell Street?  Why are they being ‘upgraded’? What is the purpose, much less the strategic justification? If the intent is to draw a straight line that corresponds with the heritage overlays of Daley Street and Bendigo Avenue, then this hasn’t been achieved. We are still getting a zig-zag line of housing heights that make no sense and contradict council’s claims about trying to avert the radial configurations set in 2013.


The same issues apply in Bent and Vickery Streets. Council proposes to rezone 25-31, plus 28 Bent Street to 3 storeys (ie 5 properties) and upgrade another 6 properties in Vickery to three storeys from the current 2 storey height limit.  No recognition is taken of the fact that permits for 4 storeys have already been granted to nos. 23,27-29 Bent Street for 4 storey developments. That makes it 2 out of the 5 sites that will be 4 storey. The blue markings in the image following are for the areas designated to now be 3 storeys, up from 2 storeys.


Residents really need to start questioning the efficacy, and strategic justification for some of these proposed changes. Is the solution to the current radial set up to simply increase height to the nearest bordering street? Does this really ameliorate the damage already caused or simply invite more damage to residential amenity? How much faith should ultimately be placed in the figures council presents – especially on the downgrading of heights in streets that are already chock-a-block full of 4 storeys. What consistency is to be found across all of these proposed changes? Why are some streets better off than others and why are upgrades along Centre Road so extensive? What does this augur for the eventual revealing of the plans for East Bentleigh? Will we now have entire activity centres blending into each other and stretching from Thomas Street to East Boundary Road? Remember that East Bentleigh is now also being ‘upgraded’ to a ‘larger’ neighbourhood centre – whatever that might mean!