We have been alerted by a reader as to the following imminent development in Egan Street, Carnegie.

Whilst we have no problem with the need for more affordable and social housing throughout Victoria, we do have major issues with what seemingly is being proposed here.

Our reasons are:

  • The current interim Design and Development Overlay (DDO9) for this precinct has an 8 storey height limit.
  • The site has a permit for 8 storeys, so presumably this site has been sold on by the owner. Previous VCAT applications for this site featured applications for a 16 storey student block. This was rejected by both council and VCAT.
  • Car parking according to council’s planning scheme is deficient for both the apartments and retail sectors.

Of greatest concern is the fact that under Wynne’s Amendments and the Big House guidelines, third party review rights are removed. There will supposedly be ‘consultation’, with council and the community once the plans are released. The option however, of going to VCAT is removed.

Here’s what the legislation includes:

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Government policy is rightly pushing for more social housing after decades and decades of neglect. This however should not be assumed as a carte blanche for either government or council to IMPOSE upon neighbourhoods 10 storey (or higher) apartment blocks without the possibility of review.

For all council’s talk about the need for social housing, their actions belie their rhetoric. When the opportunities surfaced to extract significant social housing components in major developments Glen Eira council fell by the wayside and settled for the bare minimum. The latest Caulfield Village permit for 437 apartments contained only 21 such dwellings designated as ‘affordable housing’ – that’s a percentage of 4.8% and the reduced rent is only set for 10 years! We also have the debacle that is Virginia Estate where from at least 3000 apartments, social/affordable housing managed to eke out a miserable 5%! Other councils are now attempting at least 20% for their major developments.

Nor are we provided with any warning as to what council will offer up to the government. How much of council land will be sold off for social housing? Will residents be informed well in advance? How many of these apartments will end up in private developer’s hands – ie a ‘private/public’ partnership?

In the end, we see this as the start of a process that denies residents a say in the future of their neighbourhoods.