In recent times Council has made much of heritage such as correcting the errors from 2013 by proposing to rezone these sites from their current four storey zoning to two storey. Yet when it comes to Carnegie, we find the same lunacy applies as happened in 2013 – ie no respect for heritage, for neighbourhood character overlays or Design and Development Overlays. We are of course speaking of Chestnut Street!

In the latest draft structure plans residents are offered two equally inappropriate choices in regard to this street and its surrounds. These are –

  • Option 1 — Retain the existing Neighbourhood Character Overlay and further protect Chestnut Street by providing a clear transition to Chestnut Street by stepping down in height, building type and zoning.
  • Option 2 — Remove Neighbourhood Character Overlay (NCO) in Chestnut Street and include the west side of Chestnut Street in urban renewal area and seek to extend Arrawatta Street

Here’s the ‘visuals’ of what’s proposed –

The lowlights of this ‘choice’ are:

  • Potential 4 storey development backing onto rear back yards of single storey places
  • Moving further west, the heights range from 4-8 to 8-12 storeys – surely visible from Chestnut?
  • Questions of overshadowing not addressed – especially since the sun sets in the west.

Option 2 lowlights are quite incredible –

  • The total removal of any heritage, neighbourhood character overlay on both sides of Chestnut
  • To be replaced by rezoning to three storeys to the east and 4 storeys on the western side of Chestnut
  • Maintaining the range of heights envisaged for the western sections of the area.

We find both of these options as simply mindboggling and inexcusable and standing in stark opposition to what the planning scheme and the proposed heritage updates state.

Council’s planning scheme states categorically at Clause 22.01 that the objectives are –

  • To recognise and preserve the aesthetic and cultural characteristics of heritage places which are held in high esteem by the community of Glen Eira.
  • To protect places identified as having architectural, cultural or historic significance and which demonstrate the various eras of Glen Eira’s development.

Next, we have the relevant Design & development overlay (DDO9) that covers Chestnut Street. It states:

To ensure that development along any residential interface be sympathetic to the scale and amenity of the residential area

With the introduction of Amendment C87 which created the NCO9 we are told that:

Chestnut Street and the McPherson Avenue Area, Carnegie are characterised by their many larger scale Edwardian era dwellings and several early California Bungalows. The key components of the character of these areas are the consistency of building forms and materials, the spacing between dwellings and the established planting themes (2013).

The 2014 Planisphere Updated report commented that there was a High degree of neighbourhood character significance. Additional controls warranted.

The Planning Panel Report of the time, and for which there were no objections submitted, also stated that –

Chestnut Street has a high degree of neighbourhood character significance and is distinct from surrounding residential areas.

It is recommended that Chestnut Street is maintained as an area of neighbourhood character significance and afforded statutory protection via Local Policy and NCO, thereby requiring a permit for demolition and construction of all buildings, including single dwellings. The NCO for Chestnut Street should highlight the distinct Edwardian era character.

So how does council arrive at the above options given its position on heritage? Here’s the ‘answer’ –

CHESTNUT STREET

The majority of submissions received related to the proximity of urban renewal area to Chestnut Street with calls from residents of Chestnut and surrounding streets to remove the Neighbourhood Character Overlay and incorporate the western side of Chestnut Street into the urban renewal area. It was thought that neighbourhood character in this area has been significantly compromised already and would be further compromised by the urban renewal behind, that many homes had deteriorated beyond repair and that the area can accommodate growth. In contrast there were also submissions requesting to retain the neighbourhood character protection. Some residents would like to see images to illustrate how the transitions may look.

The various submissions to the previous round of ‘consultation’ do include a score of identical proforma requests for removal of the NCO from the western side of Chestnut Street. The logic however is far from convincing. We are told that –

If the GECC is to meet the stated objectives of the Draft Concept Plan and key outcomes stated within the Building Transition Plan the NCO2 on Chestnut Street should be removed and the western side of Chestnut Street should be incorporated in the Urban Renewal Development area.

Surely the answer can’t be to simply remove the NCO so that it fits in more neatly with Council’s expansionist/prodevelopment plans? Wouldn’t a more logical response be that instead of giving the green light to anything from 4 to 12 storeys, that this ‘objective’ be curtailed and heritage maintained as stated in the planning scheme?

We also take issue with council’s apparent ‘endorsement’ of the idea that the ‘area has been significantly compromised already’.  A check of council’s planning register reveals that very little has been done to Chestnut street itself. In fact, the only applications coming in from 1999 are the following. Hardly a destruction of what was thought to be an area deserving of heritage and an NCO plus DDO!

13 Chestnut Street CARNEGIE – Partial demolition and alterations and additions to a dwelling on land affected by a Neighbourhood Character Overlay

8 Chestnut Street CARNEGIE –  Demolition and construction of front fence on land affected by the Neighbourhood Character Overlay and the Design and Development Overlay

7 Chestnut Street CARNEGIE- Demolition of existing dwelling and construction of a two storey dwelling on land affected by the Design and Development Overlay and the Neighbourhood Character Overlay. (refused)

1 Chestnut Street CARNEGIE – Partial demolition and construction of alterations and additions to the existing dwelling on land affected by the Neighbourhood Character Overlay.

20-22 Chestnut Street CARNEGIE – Construction of alterations and additions to the existing dwellings and buildings on common property (refurbishment of the existing apartment building)

Unit 1 16 Chestnut Street CARNEGIE – ALT/ADD TO DUAL OCC (CAR PARKING )

We should also point out that one resident’s wish to remove his/her property from the heritage/ddo/nco overlays was because it didn’t face Chestnut street and  – Given its position and the nature of the new planning overlays that surround our property, we believe we are now seriously exposed and financially disadvantaged by its inclusion.

CONCLUSIONS

Chestnut Street proper contains 23 properties.

  • The only ‘modern’ building is ON THE EAST SIDE OF CHESTNUT STREET.
  • THE DOUBLE STOREY BLOCK OF 1960’S FLATS IS ON THE EAST SIDE OF CHESTNUT STREET
  • SO HOW ON EARTH CAN WE HAVE A RECOMMENDATION TO REMOVE PROTECTION FROM THE WEST SIDE OF THE STREET AND THE ARGUMENT STILL CLAIM THAT THERE HAS BEEN MUCH CHANGE!

To prove our point here is the entire WEST section of all of Chestnut Street. Photos were taken today!