The opening few pages of council’s Discussion Paper on the Planning Scheme Review correctly state that:

  • There has been a dramatic increase in the number of ‘mid to high rise’ apartment blocks built in middle ring suburbs such as Glen Eira
  • That population growth in Glen Eira is anticipated to require 12,000 new ‘households’ up to and including 2031. This figure is calculated from 2011 according to Vic Future 2015 and not 2016 as implied. That means that Glen Eira needs an average of 600 net new dwellings per year to meet its ‘quota’.

What the Discussion Paper DOES NOT REVEAL and is essential for a complete understanding of what is happening in Glen Eira due to the Planning Scheme and the zoning, is –

  • that building approvals are approaching 2000 new dwellings per year. Hence a 300+% increase on what is deemed as necessary to meet demand.
  • Building approvals of course, do not take into account the number of planning permits granted and these figures have also gone through the roof since the introduction of the zones. Even if only 50% of these planning permits are acted upon and construction completed by 2031, we estimate the number of net new dwellings per year to be in the vicinity of 2,500 new dwellings given current trends.
  • Council does not reveal that since the introduction of the zones close to 5000 planning approvals for net new dwellings have been granted. Thus, apart from the 300% increase per year, Glen Eira will meet its nominal ‘quota’ not in 2031 but more likely in 2020 at this rate!

Council provides no figures that enable comparisons with other neighbouring councils. Residents have no idea as to building activity in these other municipalities. No comparisons are provided on number of new houses built compared to number of apartment blocks; no comparisons in terms of ‘density’ and what this ‘building boom’ does to overall density and impacts on open space. This is significant since Glen Eira with its meagre 38+ square kilometres has one of the highest population densities in the state. The only council with a higher population density is Port Phillip – but this council is unique in terms of its Capital Zone Status, its ‘inner ring’ categorisation, the Docklands, etc., and its large tourist and commercial centres.

The table presented below is worth considering in our view. It reveals how Glen Eira compares with its neighbours in the Southern Region and elsewhere in terms of building approvals for the six months from July 2015 to December 2015. The stats come from the Australian Bureau of Statistics published in early 2016.

COUNCIL DENSITY PER SQK SIZE – SQK BUILDING APPROVALS FOR HOUSES BUILDING APPROVALS FOR UNITS TOTAL NEW DWELLINGS
GLEN EIRA 3385 38.7 198 741 942
BAYSIDE 2680 36.0 199 160 375
CARDINIA 57.92 1280.6 812 74 888
CASEY 615.72 409.9 1867 161 2041
FRANKSTON 1032 131.0 163 93 259
DANDENONG 1627 36.26 289 220 514
KINGSTON 1479.4 91.0 206 217 425
MORNINGTON 200.09 518.23 483 252 738
MORELAND 2887 51.0 240 858 1120
DAREBIN 2719 53.0 167 820 995
GEELONG 177.64 1247 1105 111 1222
HUME 332.5 504.0 1133 239 1372
MARIBYRNONG 2458 31.2 99 1339 1441
MELTON 536 527.3 894 153 1047
PORT PHILLIP 4871 20.62 27 1176 1217
WHITEHORSE 2365 64.0 296 1050 1348

 

In Glen Eira, the relationship between single house replacements and multi unit development is around 1:74. That means that for every single new house built, there are 74 apartments built. With just under 39 square km, and no open space to speak of density, infrastructure, traffic, will inevitably be impacted upon.

So what does the Discussion Paper propose, or even ask, in response to these trends? What can the Planning Scheme do to halt the further erosion of residential amenity? If we are to go on the questions proposed it would seem that very little can be done. We do not agree and feature some preliminary questions below that residents might like to consider asking at the forums. We welcome any other suggestions that readers would like to proffer.

  • Will council be introducing any Environmental Sustainability or Water Sensitive Urban Design policies into its planning scheme as Bayside, Yarra, Stonnington, Whitehorse and other councils have done? If not, why not?
  • Will Council be introducing Parking Precinct Overlays into its RGZ and GRZ zoned areas to manage traffic in its centres? If not, why not? Will Council be creating the long promised Parking Precinct Plan for its activity centres? If not, why not?
  • Will Council be introducing any tree protection measures into its Planning Scheme in order to halt moonscaping as other councils have done? If not, why not?
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