Council has finally put up its responses to the questions asked at the Elsternwick Zoom Meeting. The document may be accessed via this link:

We ask residents to pay particular attention to the following question and the ‘answer’ –

What justification is there for 8-12 storeys?

Elsternwick is growing and there is demand for new dwellings and employment space into the future. State planning policy directs growth to activity centres. The draft Structure Plan aims to balance growth with protecting heritage and other characteristics valued by the community. While there are areas proposed to allow 8- 12 storeys to accommodate some of this growth, taller built form is restricted to a small part of Elsternwick, close to the train station and Nepean Highway. At the same time, the draft Structure Plan is proposing a considerable amount of down zoning from 4 storeys to 2, to protect residential heritage. Most of Elsternwick is proposed to remain low-scale.

 The claim that the decision to allow buildings of 8-12 storeys is ‘restricted to a small part of Elsternwick, close to the train station and Nepean Highway is not only inaccurate but wilfully misleading – especially when this statement is compared to the actual proposed heights along all of Glen Huntly Road.

It’s clear that a vast amount of sites will now be liable to accommodate a DISCRETIONARY height limit of up to 12 storeys! And many of these sites are nowhere near Nepean Highway or even the train station. Which leads to the most important questions:

  • When will council have the courage to call a spade a spade?
  • When will councillors insist that spin and obfuscation are not the hall marks of every single council pronouncement?
  • When will residents stop being treated as idiots unable to understand anything about sound strategic planning?


Somewhere between 90 and 100 residents showed up Wednesday night for the Elsternwick Structure Plan ‘face-to-face’ meeting with the Camden Ward councillors. Crs Szmood and Zyngier were present whilst Cr Parasol was an apology.

The night was extremely valuable in that residents could directly address councillors with their concerns, their views on the draft structure plan, and how they generally perceive officers’ attitudes to residents and their aspirations for the suburb.

We present below a selection of comments that were made throughout the 2 hour meeting. It was very clear that there was much dissatisfaction with the structure plan itself, but also the entire consultation process, and how little heed council pays to resident views.

Some of the following audio is not crystal clear. It was a very large room that often sounded like an echo chamber. So please bear with us and listen to these comments.

PS: It’s also worth mentioning that council stated that the audio of the recent Zoom meeting on Elsternwick would be published. It was also promised that all questions would be answered. It is now over 2 weeks since this event and we still have not been provided with this audio or the responses to the queries. Perhaps officers are simply hoping that residents would forget?!!!!!

Glen Eira residents have been told repeatedly that structure planning and associated Design and Development Overlays (DDOs) CANNOT provide MANDATORY height restrictions for commercial sites unless they are heritage listed or have other extenuating conditions. This of course ignores the fact that other councils have been successful in having their strategic planning approved and gazetted.

 The most recent example comes from Bayside City Council for the Highett Neighbourhood Activity Centre.  Here is the current zoning applying to this DDO. Note the Commercial zoning and the fact that these sites are NOT under any heritage overlay.

Here is the Bayside gazetted DDO – as recently as September this year!. Please note the 3 and 4 storey MANDATORY height limits.

Why has Bayside managed to implement a MANDATORY 3 and 4 storey maximum height limit on these sites, in comparison to Glen Eira’s 6 storey discretionary height for Caulfield South, Caulfield North and East Bentleigh? Why is our council so compliant and unwilling to achieve what other councils achieve? What is really going on within our planning department?

After 7 years of incompetency, we are still back at square one, where the agenda remains more and more development regardless of what it means for residential amenity and meeting community concerns.

Last evening’s zoom ‘information’ session on the draft Elsternwick Structure Plan was a small improvement on previous sessions held by council. At least participants could see who was present, could use the chat function, and could ask questions directly or via the chat component. It was also good to see 4 councillors present – Szmood, Zyngier, Pennicuik and Parasol. But, what hasn’t changed are the officer responses to residents’ queries and/or statements. Everything basically boiled down to the Urban Design Frameworks – which surprisingly are now up on the Have Your Say webpage together with the transport analysis.

This is surprising because previously in response to a public question the answer had been – They haven’t been put on the website because the amendment is yet to be authorised by the Minister for Planning. Once Ministerial authorisation is received, the full suite of reports and information will be made available as part of the formal amendment exhibition. So what has caused this change in ‘policy’? Perhaps the knowledge of resident opposition and continued criticism of how this council operates. However, we still have the situation where councillors vote on major strategic planning documents, and in all probability haven’t been provided with access to the foundational documents that are meant to justify the recommendations. In other words – they vote blindly and nothing approaches what we would regard as ‘evidence-based’ decision making.

Provided below are the questions/comments taken directly and verbatim from the chat function. Not a happy bunch of campers! Council stated that they would put up the audio on their website. We urge all residents to listen carefully to the responses provided to these queries/comments.

12 storeys is way to high for Elsternwick

The yellow section is not right. It is 12

You have also rezoned a heritage listed building – Caulfield Scout Hall, which is

I don’t believe the Council has a role in developing affordable housing, especially using precious open space. What precedent is there for that?

You 12 storey and 8 storey building heights opposite St Clements Church devalue Elsternwick. In this area you are creating a future ghetto that has not considered infrastructure support

St Clements Church is also heritage listed

Please explain your rationale for 1 and 8 storey building heights

The City Futures referral document 4th Jan 2019, (quote) ‘ in relation to housing need, the Elsternwick structure planning process population modelling found that housing targets for the area could be achieved with less intensive development 6-8 storeys with greater setbacks and fewer dwellings’. So why are you allowing higher, and mandatory or discretionary?

If bike paths are being installed which is a good thing, which streets will take the delivery trucks going for the new supermarket

You do realise what this building is – the scout hall? It is of high community value. your rationale for developing the scout hall is stupid. Do you value community space

allowing these enormous heights totally changes the landscape of Elsternwick and only result in over crowding and totally agree with above

Affordable housing should be the responsibility of all levels of government and society

Katie, you do realise that you are adding 8 and 12 storey building in a very small area. Where is the infrastructure. The step backs are also not right compared to other

Were there any homes in C239 now shown in this draft E’W structure Plan, this is a current request for heritage overlay to the Minister? Has this progressed, councillors voted on this to go to the minister for planning in Feb or March 2022

How much of this is depends on which government we have?

What can the Council do to actually protect or enhance the heritage value of the activity centre – which would protect it from overdevelopment? Many shops are in a poor state of repair, don’t remedy graffiti etc.

Katie, you may not be aware but there is signficant objection for 8-12 storey heights. You are not respecting the heritage of Elsternwick.

OBJECTIVE 5.1.3 of the Urban Design Guidelines for Victoria


To ensure buildings in activity centres provide equitable access to daylight and sunlight

Locate and arrange the building to allow daylight and winter sun access to key public spaces and key pedestrian street spaces.

Question: what protection will there be to avoid blocking of winter sun from the southern footpath of Glen Huntly Road?

The new building on Glenhuntly rd across the street from Horne st is HUGE far too big for this area. I think its 13 storeys and has a huge footprint, one of the “exceptions” Katy mentioned.

One ideal for open space  in higher density urban development is 2 hectares per 1000 people or 25% of the development land – both primary and contributory – how does this structure plan allow for ideal open space provision?

i am told other nearby suburbs have restricted their heights why has Elsternwick done nothing and 5-6 storeys are far too high to retain the village concepts and we don’t want to be surrounded by forest of high rise buildings instead of trees

The rationale for 12 storey heights on the west of the railway line was stated as that “it could not be seen from the east side of the railway line:. This is not a valid reason for creating 12 storeys

Has the Council made any enquiry or planning to perhaps roof/cover the railway channel to either create open space or strategic parking? if not, why not?

We have not seen the urban design document. However the peer review of the earlier version (circa 2017) (quality design guidelines) stated: Mid-winter overshadowing controls limit

development envelopes to the north of spaces

severely with the need for setbacks that are equal to

approximately 2.5 times the overall height of the


As an example this would require a 12 storey built

form to be setback over 90 metres from the northern

edge of a public open space.

My question relating to the above is therefore: has council chosen by introducing 12 storey height limits (discretionary) to ignore the previous findings and to ensure that development can proceed with no consideration for overshadowing at both the summer equinox and winter solstice?

Has the Council made any enquiry or planning to perhaps roof/cover the railway channel to either create open space or strategic parking? if not, why not?

The focus on removing cars from Carre St lacks logic and rationale – the access the street provides for residents south of the shops to G’huntly Rd is essential to ease load on Riddell Pde & Orrong Rd traffic. Also the 2 disabled parking spots are absolutely critical for disabled residents to easily access the shops, doctors, gyms, post office etc. The disabled spots in Stanley St carpark are too far away and its not possible to put disabled spots on G’huntly Rd. As a pedestrian area Carre St is unattractive as it is over-shadowed for much of the day & year – the parklet outside the café there is virtually unused as a result and is a waste of space.

the practical issues are not being considered  that these huge buildings will house large increase in people causing congestion and in my opinion we are already at capacity . We should focus on improving the current building and preserving open space and car parking

Why so much “discretion” in the Plan?  Developers will seek the maximum and beyond, and ratepayers – either personally or via Council – end up financially burdened by the VCAT process

The doc I referred to is City Futures referral, application # GE/PP-31572/2018 04.01.2019.

Has anyone studies the effect on the Trees

Its not a village any more, its a “hub”. All we have is village shops, one supermarket and a station..

Why should we think this plan will achieve anything given that the Elsternwick South plan which consumed huge amounts of time and no doubt money – and caused a lot of grief for residents at the time – is now apparently in the bin. Any hope of that plan helping with the imposition of height limits – which was a big part of the justification for it at the time – has proven to be fanciful given what has happened  in last few years.

and old trams! We need new trams. Council needs to demand it from Yarra Trams if we are getting ‘000s of people here

Please take the community feedback on reducing building heights seriously.  Innovative town planning would be able to find a way to achieve your objective without having to allow this. I am particularly concerned about your plans for St Clements Church and the Caulfield Scout Hall but also for Elsternwick as a whole.

totally agree our council representatives should be fighting for us to retain the village concept and avoid overcrowding and totally unreasonable to have 12 storeys

The advisers probably don’t live in wonderful Elsternwick , nicely put tracey

planning panel report for Melbourne city council c278 included this comment/recommendation for winter solstice standards for public open space – The Panel supports the shift to winter based controls. Winter sun access plays an important role in

providing high amenity in Melbourne’s parks year round, and in ensuring park health. The move

to winter sunlight protection is supported by high level policy, as well as community sentiment.

The Panel supports the proposed hours of protection. They reflect a more holistic understanding

of how people use parks for diverse reasons and through the day. People who wish to access

sunlight in parks and the amenity and warmth it provides should be able to do so when it is

convenient for them, provided it does not result in an unreasonable impact on development

potential. The shortened hours of protection for Type 3 parks are a reasonable and sensible

response to the existing shadow conditions in those parks.

Higher density residential development Guidelines-for-Higher-Density-Residential-Development-2.pdf ( – which was a subset of the Urban Design Guidelines states: local policy : where a shopping centre currently enjoys sun at mid winter there would usually be  a reasonable presumption that sun access will be preserved” (note this is now replaced by the words: provide winter sun – within State Govt Guidelines.  I will be documented this within a separate submission – we need the sun shine access on the south side for the trees (in a high priority Heat response area) and also for retail activity.)

We continue to be appalled at the manner in which this council conducts its business and its total disregard for residents and their views. The latest example comes in the agenda for Tuesday night’s council meeting and involves the Inkerman Road ‘Safe cycling corridor’.

Some preliminary observations:

  • The item consists of 510 pages out of a 1309 page agenda
  • The agenda was published around 10am on Friday morning – literally 4 days before the council decision (and this includes a weekend) – hardly enough time to read, digest, analyse, and comment by residents. Some of the associated documents date from August 2022 whilst one is from April 2022. Why couldn’t these have been published earlier so that residents can get their heads around them? When were councillors themselves provided with access to these documents?
  • From a very brief scan of the associated documents, nothing is definitive and recommendation after recommendation includes the need for further research once the project is given the go ahead – despite the plethora of caveat after caveat stating how difficult it is to provide real data and projections for increased cycling numbers, etc.  Nor do we know how much all of these consultant reports cost!

What is the most staggering aspect of this item is the following recommendation:

That Council:

1. Adopts Option 2 (Attachment 3) as the preferred corridor design for the purpose of community consultation, once the following pre-conditions have been met:

a) Funding to deliver the project is confirmed through Council’s future budget allocation process.

b) The City of Port Phillip resolves to proceed to wider community engagement on its section of Inkerman Road / Street.

2. No further design work and/or community consultation is to commence until pre-condition a) and b) have been met.

3. Informs community and stakeholders of Council’s resolution.


  • Why on earth would you commit council to an estimated expenditure of $14M+ before you undertake further (and hopefully genuine) community consultation on the actual options provided?
  • If voted in, then what impact on other projects does the $14M have? What would be abandoned or delayed – especially if no state or federal funding was received?


  • Option 2 is preferred even though it means that only 47% of current car parking will be retained. How many car parking spots will thus be lost?
  • Currently the estimated average daily cycle numbers for the Glen Eira sections equals 163 cyclists. The claim is that the increase in cyclists would fall ‘somewhere’ between 84% – 207%. Hell of a range forecast upon which to spend $14+M!!!!!!! and we’re even told that estimating cycling demand is exceptionally difficult
  • In terms of cycling instead of using the car the result is likely to be only about 6-8%!

Even if the number of cyclists along this stretch of road increased to 800 per day, that is still an expenditure of $17,500 per cyclist!!!! Nor is there any guarantee that this is money well spent in terms of overall safety – ie

The Independent Safety Review found that for both design Option 1 and 2, due to the bi-directional bicycle lane, there are expected risks for cyclists given the high number of intersecting driveway crossovers on the south side of Inkerman Road, largely applicable to westbound cyclists as departing vehicles may not expect a cyclist to arrive from this direction.

To address this the design includes the provision of bicycle line markings and surface treatments at the crossovers which serves to advise the presence of bicycle lanes. With the report concluding, “nonetheless, the prevailing issue is the unexpected arrival of a bicycle in the eastbound direction. As a primarily residential area, it is anticipated long-term residents will quickly adapt to the proposed design, and the risk associated with this item will reduce over time”.

On a wing and a prayer the above quote, rather than any assurance that in the early stages cyclists and motorists will be ‘safer’!!!!!


Glen Eira City Council is clearly addicted to grandiose projects that cost the earth and will look good on certain CVs. Whether or not the projects represent real value for money, or even achieve the desired outcomes is seemingly immaterial. All that matters is that agendas are rammed through and virtue signalling becomes the modus operandi for all council decisions.

Finally, we very much doubt that this important item is listed at the end of the obscenely long agenda by accident. What that means is that there will probably be very little time for ‘robust’ debate/discussion!!!!!

Council has stated that its intention is to create a new zone – NRZ2. The stated criteria for earmarking these areas are supposed to be sites along major roads/transport and that they are at a minimum 600 square metres in size. We have previously highlighted that there are countless streets that are not within coo-ee of such measurements. Here is another example – Sycamore Street in Caulfield.

Please note that there is only ONE SITE in the following image that is over 400 square metres. All of the rest are 300+ square metres – half of the size ‘recommended’ in the housing strategy. This leads to some basic questions:

  1. What on earth is this planning department doing? Have they actually bothered to investigate the sizes of the various streets earmarked for increased intensity? Or have they merely sat at a computer and drawn lines around various streets and properties?
  2. How can they produce criteria and then simply ignore them?
  3. Is this simply incompetence, or a total indifference to the basic rules of planning?

PS: here’s some more – Beech Street, Caulfield South.

All of the sites in this image are barely over 300 square metres, yet they are designated to become NRZ2 which means increased site coverage, reduced permeability, etc. In the attempt to make the measurements clearer, we’ve left off some sites, but their width and length is similar to those depicted. They will also be just over 300 square metres.

PPS – and Filbert Street, Caulfield South. Please note: not one site over 500 square metres and the vast majority just over 300 square metres.

Please consider carefully the above table. It provides a breakdown of what’s been happening between the 2016 census and the 2021 data. ‘Medium density’ is defined as townhouses, attached dwellings, units, etc. High density is apartments over 3 storeys. Profile id. has used the 2021 census and compiled these figures for each municipality. You can access the individual data sets from this link and then type in the required council –

We already know that Glen Eira is the 5th DENSEST municipality in the state – behind Melbourne, Yarra, Stonnington and Port Phillip. All of these councils are ‘inner Melbourne’ and most importantly, they include heaps more land zoned as Commercial – and that’s where most development has occurred in these municipalities. Glen Eira has about 3.3% zoned commercial compared to Stonnington which has 10% and more industrial land to boot. What this means is that development in Glen Eira has occurred everywhere in our quiet, residential streets. This has been further advanced by Glen Eira’s lack of any development levies on developers, ill considered zoning, no real tree protection to speak of, incomplete heritage protection, and a low open space levy especially for activity centres. All of these factors have accelerated overdevelopment in Glen Eira.

Yet the question of density remains irrelevant to our council. Given that we have the lowest amount of public open space per capita in the state, a drainage system that includes 100 year old pipes, 40% of the municipality covered by the Elster Creek flood plain, a pathetically low canopy tree cover, Council still wants more and more inappropriate development as evidenced by our recently adopted Housing Strategy and various structure plans.  All this when research clearly shows that high rise development has only one advantage – it is cheaper for developers to build whilst at the same time is less energy efficient and certainly does nothing for essential open space.

Remember that council plans to:

  • Increase site coverage in NRZ areas
  • Decrease permeability in NRZ areas
  • Remove the mandatory garden requirement in ALL GRZ areas
  • Reduce the open space requirement in various areas
  • Remove the 4 metre setback in NRZ areas
  • Upzone scores of residential streets from 2storey to either 3 or 4 storeys
  • Allow (as it stands at the moment) up to 20 storey ‘discretionary’ developments in certain areas
  • Reduce onsite car parking requirements in various spots
  • Allow 6 and 8 storey heights in heritage overlays

The Glen Eira planning department is god’s gift to developers as it has been for eons. Nothing has changed except that our density is going through the roof and will continue to do so if these strategic planning documents are allowed to go through without a whimper from our residents.

Below is another resident’s comments from last week’s council meeting. We again urge everyone to pay particular attention to the response provided by Torres.


Torres’ comments are inaccurate and completely misleading. His claim that what is ‘predominantly’ built in Glen Eira in relation to townhouses  are ‘four and five’ bedroom developments is false. The latest ABS census data (shown below) makes this abundantly clear.


According to the above table, the number of 4 bedroom dwellings in the ‘townhouse’ category is 1,761 out of a total of 13,778 dwellings. That equates to a percentage of 12.78%. If we look at the number of 5 bedroom dwellings then the percentage drops to 1.07%.  Not within coo-eee of being ‘predominant’ as claimed by Torres.

In terms of apartments, then the numbers are even more telling. There are a total of 256 four bedroom dwellings built in apartments for an overall percentage rate of 1.56%. For 5 bedroom apartments we get the magnificent ratio figure of 0.14%!!!!!

If we examine these figures even further, we find that HOUSES remain the largest building component that contain 3, 4 and 5 bedroom dwellings – and not townhouses or apartments.  And with the continued loss of detached housing in Glen Eira, we can only anticipate that the result will be more 1 and 2 bedroom apartments given that council has no control whatsoever over what developers wish to build.

If we even look at the breakdown of 3 bedroom places, then the percentage for apartment buildings with this number of bedrooms is 10.79% and for townhouses we get 42.61% – not even half. For Torres to therefore claim that what is being built in Glen Eira are ‘predominantly’ townhouses of 4 and 5 bedrooms is a total misrepresentation of the facts.

As the officer officially in charge of strategic planning in Glen Eira, it is surely not too much to ask that he is au fait with the current data (which has now been available for 5 months), and that public statements do actually mirror these facts instead of attempting to facilitate the pro-development agenda that constitutes the Housing Strategy.

A long, but critical post.

An article in today’s Age features two paragraphs which could also apply to Glen Eira City Council where ‘political expediency’ or bureaucratic expediency, usurps the ‘public interest’ time and time again. The paragraphs read:

Redlich last month delivered the John Barry Memorial Lecture at Melbourne University. Titled simply: “Governing with Integrity”, the lecture provides a disturbing summary of what Redlich has observed from his vantage point atop Victoria’s peak anti-corruption agency. He laments the way power is concentrated in the premier’s office in Victoria and other jurisdictions and how the unregulated influence of political advisers is circumventing important safeguards.

These are not arcane concerns about bureaucratic conventions. They go to the heart of whether the Andrews government – or indeed any government – is there to serve us or themselves. As the eminent jurist told The Age earlier this year, once governments start bypassing processes that are intended to protect the public interest, once political expediency becomes the driver of government decisions, “we’re on a slippery slope” to the latter.

As we’ve said countless times, residents and councillors are basically superfluous to the running of local government in Glen Eira. At best, compliant councillors become the rubber stamp for bureaucrats, or at worst they are viewed as impediments to achieving the bureaucratic vision. Residents simply don’t count unless there is massive negative publicity. All of this can be illustrated with one single example – the refusal to publish the complete set of responses to the Housing Strategy and the subsequent reliance on the most tenuous and laughable excuses for this decision.

We ask that you listen carefully to the following exchange which occurred at Wednesday night’s council meeting between a resident, the CEO and the Mayor and contemplate what this signifies in the context of the above Age paragraphs.


  • What kind of honesty do we have when the CEO can state –it isn’t our practice to release public submissions when this HAS BEEN a consistent practice until recently. A previous post listed examples (apart form Local Law, council plan submissions) where the complete set of responses were published and even included some Facebook comments. See:
  • She also says our response….was certainly consistent with council’s policy in terms of community engagement. Council’s Community Engagement Strategy (page 25) lists as one of its objectives to improve the way we report the outcomes of community engagement back to the community. There has certainly been no ‘improvement’ over the past few years as outlined above. Also as part of the ‘priority actions’ we have this promise – Increase transparency about what the community feedback was, how it was considered and how it has influenced the decision. There is a mighty chasm in the feedback report on how feedback was considered, and the precise outcomes that were influenced by this feedback. Basically, if we accept the feedback report, residents have absolutely no idea why things were changed as a result of feedback, and why things remained the same. This does not equate with increased ‘transparency’and certainly does not come close to the following ‘outcome’ listed in the strategy – The community will be able to see how their feedback has or has not influenced Council’s decisions.
  • McKenzie’s concern about identifying respondents is another lame excuse. The Have Your Say survey responses have ALWAYS BEEN and remain anonymous and published as responses with no names attached. Even published emails have had the writer’s name and email address redacted. This has not been a problem in the past. To suddenly turn it into a major concern is nothing more than a desperate scramble to hide the truth in our view.
  • No previous Have Your say surveys included the notation that responses would be made public. To suddenly claim that anonymous responses would ‘breach confidentiality’ is simply unbelievable. Furthermore, in order to cover up, council is now committed to spend more ratepayers’ money on sending out letters to all respondents asking for their permission to publish. This argument belongs in the world of Monty Python and illustrates the extent this administration is willing to go to in order to protect themselves, and hide the truth.
  • McKenzie also claims that council’s approach was ‘compliant with our policy’. No it wasn’t! Please refer to council’s ‘Transparency Policy’ for starters. (See:


  • Magee’s pathetic intervention shows how little he knows of council’s own policies, or how unwilling he is to adhere to the policy if the situation gets a little uncomfortable for the powers that be. There is NO REQUIREMENT that the public participation component be restricted to simply the asking of a question. Council’s own ‘guidelines’ ( make it clear that residents are free to either ask a question or make a statement –

Public participation at Ordinary Council Meetings is subject to the discretion of the Chairperson, available if you wish to ask a question or make a statement relating to Council’s role, functions or business.

So what does all this mean? It is clear that council has much to hide. Otherwise why wouldn’t the complete set of responses be made available?  What is in the responses that could possibly cast doubt on council’s decision making? What does this say about integrity, transparency, and basic down to earth honesty of this administration and its lackeys? And surely when something as important as the adoption of a housing strategy that will set the scene for the next 2 decades is up for decision, this MUST BE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST! And please remember, even councillors were denied access to the complete feedback for quite some time.

It is abundantly clear to us that the warnings given by Redlich in the Age article apply in spades to Glen Eira City council!