Council has published its submission to the inquiry on the current Planning & Environment Act, 1987 in today’s agenda. Whilst we agree with many of the comments, there are several major issues where council’s response is far from adequate or valid.

First, the ‘good points’.

  • Yes, there should be specific attention paid to the environment and sustainability
  • Yes, housing affordability is an issue, though most things are out of council’s control
  • Yes, heritage is important and there should be a fast tracking process for interim protections

Now for the ‘questionable’ responses!


Here’s what council has to say in regard to providing social/affordable housing –

Council has a policy requiring a minimum of five percent affordable housing on rezoned sites. Ideally, this should be extended to higher density development proposals and adopted at a state level.

By way of comparison, readers should note what Yarra Council as one single example only, has done with its percentages on social/affordable housing. In its 2019 Housing Strategy, Yarra states:

Yarra has worked with a number of site owners to provide at least 10% affordable housing. At the former GTV9 site, Richmond, affordable housing will represent at least 10% of the total number of new apartment dwellings. At the former Gasworks site, Fitzroy North a range of dwelling types will cater for a variety of housing needs including the provision of up to 20% affordable housing. Council will continue to seek additional affordable housing for our very low, low and moderate income community. (page 18)

Why Glen Eira should be ‘satisfied’ with a meagre 5%, when other councils are seeking up to 20% is the central question here. When we are so ‘committed’ to the need for social housing, then why has council been willing to settle for 5% on such massive developments at Caulfield Village over 2000+ apartments, and soon East Village, with at least 3000 dwellings on the cards. Further, why limit the creation of social housing only to those areas that will be ‘rezoned’ – presumably sites listed as Comprehensive Development Zones, or Priority Development Zones, etc. There have been plenty of developments on straight forward MUZ, or C1Z sites, that are well over 100 apartments.

Maybe, the answer is very simple. Requiring too much from developers in terms of social/affordable housing, will simply be another impediment to development that council is not willing to put in place!


A little background first. According to the 2016 census, Glen Eira has just under 9% of single bedroom dwellings and just under 30% of its dwellings that contain 2 bedrooms. That equates to well over a third of all our dwellings. Yet we have 50.1% of our population listed as families with children. This number is very likely to have increased by 2021 and is the cohort which according to common sense requires space. Further exacerbating the issue, is the lack of open space in the municipality.

Given these above stats, then the issue of space becomes vital – especially in this COVID world where more and more people are likely to remain working from home.

Over the years, there has been report after report (especially from the City of Melbourne, and The Age) revealing the dog boxes that have been going up. Many single bedroom apartments were under 20 square metres, and 2 bedroom apartments, less than 50 square metres.

So what is Glen Eira’s response to the question of whether there should be mandatory, minimum apartment sizes? Here’s what was stated:

Apartment sizes are already discretionary. This enables consideration to be given to the quality of the space in terms of flexible furniture layouts, circulation and good natural lighting. Smaller apartments are more affordable and policy and controls that aim to improve the quality of the space may be more useful than mandating a minimum size. Well designed smaller housing accommodates more people in well connected areas, close to shops and services, and offers an affordable housing option. The quality of the space is more important than mandating a minimum size. Mandating a minimum size may contribute to making affordable housing even more elusive than it already is.

We will leave it to readers to interpret the above and decide the real reasons for council’s opposition to mandatory sizes.

Submissions to the enquiry close this coming Monday. See: