Presented below is the statement/question from one resident concerning planning for Caulfield South. We urge residents to listen carefully to the question the response from Torres.


Given what has been happening in South Caulfield in recent times it is extraordinary that this council has refused to progress the work on this centre in any meaningful way. We do not for one instance buy the excuse of lack of resources, or for that matter the need to provide sufficient strategic justification that will take another 2 years at least. One could very well ask:

  • How much strategic justification was submitted for the first interim height amendment for Bentleigh & Carnegie in 2017? One FOI result clearly indicated that practically nothing was submitted to justify the minister’s intervention. The outcome was surely ‘political’ rather than based on sound housing strategy!
  • Torres would like readers to believe that the so called City Plan is something entirely new compared to the Quality Design Guidelines that were accepted by council years ago. These guidelines had already stated on page 4: Protection of character and lower scale of shopping streets Community feedback has demonstrated a clear priority to protect the character, heritage and lower scale that define Glen Eira’s shopping strips. These strips are the communal centre of Glen Eira’s diverse neighbourhoods and as such they are a physical representation of the community’s collective culture. Recent planning applications for taller buildings in the heart of these shopping strips, have demonstrated the community’s strong concern about the potential erosion of the character of Glen Eira’s shopping strips.

The Quality Design Guidelines seek to address this aspiration and concern by developing

appropriate guidance for the traditional shopping strips that encourage:- protection of heritage facades and street scale; andlimiting building heights to a maximum of 5 storeys.

Hence, the proposed height limits had been set years ago and not as Torres implies with this latest document!

The Implications 

One thing is abundantly clear. The longer council (deliberately) delays and delays then it will become almost impossible for any Design & Development Overlay, or any Structure Plan to successfully argue for 5 or less storeys, when permits have been granted for 9 storeys. Is this the secret agenda?

The latest example of what’s happening is the newly advertised application for the old bowling centre in Hawthorn Road. It seeks:

  • 9 storeys
  • 90 apartments
  • A supermarket
  • 182 car parking spots (with waivers of 10)

Some statements from the actual application are worth citing given council’s pathetic definition/interpretation(s) of ‘community benefit’, its archaic Municipal Strategic Statement and the abject failure to provide anything in the planning scheme to ensure sustainable development (ie landscaping). All of these gaps the developer naturally uses to his advantage:

The height of the proposal is considered appropriate on the basis that it clearly addresses its principal Hawthorn Road frontage, with the provision of a community benefit through an activate road corridor which integrates with the streetscape, the design response appropriately considering its relationship to neighbouring land uses and built form. 

Clause 21.-01-2 recognises that Glen Eira’s population will continue to increase slightly over the next 20 years, however the size and growth of households are anticipated to be noticeably different. It highlights the State Government’s projection that the city will have 58,000 households by the year 2021, resulting in an increase of 13,000 dwellings from the recognised 45,000 households in 1996 

Given the neighbourhood centre context and otherwise the locational circumstances of the site relative to existing built form, the site does not lend itself to extensive landscaping. Nor is there an opportunity to provide deep soil planting areas. This arrangement is not uncommon within this part of the activity centre. The insistence on the provision of this would unreasonably compromise the development and would be inconsistent with the activity centre context. 

If this application does get up, then Hawthorn Road will look like this! Plus, the possibility of 3 supermarkets within a 70 metre radius, plenty of car parking waivers and the potential creation of a great wind tunnel given recent proposals. Well done council! Everything appears to be working to plan!