GE Consultation/Communication

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released its latest figures for building approvals in local councils. The numbers are for a six month period – July 2017 to December 2017. As can be seen from the table below, only Monash has had a greater number of permits granted. However, once we take into account Monash’s size (81 square km) and its proportion of houses to apartments, then Glen Eira still leads the pack in terms of increasing density, lack of open space, minimal single house replacements, and most mind boggling is how our ‘neighbours’ can have less than half of the developments that are occurring in this municipality.

Given these figures it is unbelievable that our council is paving the way for more and more development via its current planning strategies rather than attempting to seriously curb this growth.



Why is it that Port Phillip, Bayside and Kingston councils can publish the progress on the Elster Creek Catchment flooding mitigation project and Glen Eira is silent – apart from seeking councillor endorsement for the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in June 2017?

These other councils have had no qualms in letting their residents know that:

  • A community forum was held
  • An action plan has been devised
  • CEOs have met several times

In Glen Eira all of this remains secret. Since Glen Eira is the major ‘culprit’ as the Elster Creek Catchment covers huge areas of the municipality, one would have thought that Glen Eira residents should at the very least be kept up to date with what is happening. Yet, there was nothing up on council’s website regarding the recent community forum. There is nothing in the minutes regarding the proposed ‘action plan’. Why the silence and why when we have again had more recent flooding is there this reluctance to give this issue the attention it deserves?

Here is the link to the Port Phillip data –

And uploaded HERE is the report on the community forum.

2017 has been interesting to say the least. 5 new councillors elected in 2016 brought hope that much which was amiss in Glen Eira would finally be rectified. Alas, whilst there has been some ‘progress’, there is still a long, long way to go.

Our ‘summary’ –

The Positives

  • Telecasting of council meetings – finally
  • The promise of a tree register – finally (although this could go much further and be part of the planning scheme rather than the Local Law)
  • ‘Community participation’ sessions at council meetings
  • Ostensibly, increased ‘community consultation’
  • More concrete action on heritage – ie application for Dandenong Road property

The Negatives

  • The (deliberate) drip feeding of information on structure planning
  • Extension of one year on work completion resulting in more opportunity for inappropriate development
  • The refusal to listen to the majority of community views – ie Harleston Park basketball court; height limits for Carnegie, Elsternwick; Virginia Estate, etc
  • Inundating residents with masses of documents released simultaneously
  • Lack of detail and justification in these documents – ie no ‘discussion papers’ that objectively present the pros and cons of each issue
  • No explanation as to why the Local Law has to wait until 2019 for review & no mention of notice of motion
  • Support or silence on State Government’s so called ‘reforms’ on planning
  • ‘Consultations’ that fail to ask the ‘right’ questions
  • Repeated refusal to answer why, when Glen Eira is exceeding its housing ‘quota’ by miles, this council is determined to facilitate more and more development
  • Continued and significant decline in ‘community satisfaction’ surveys and yet no action on the perennial problems – ie parking, traffic management
  • Majority of open space levy goes to existing open space and NOT THE PURCHASE OF ADDITIONAL OPEN SPACE. Plus the recent change to reporting on open space expenditure where monies spent on ‘improvements’ no longer feature together with the levy income.

The ensuing months should reveal whether or not these councillors are prepared to listen and then act on what the community has so emphatically stated in regard to structure planning and what their priorities are.

We would also like to thank all our readers for their support and wish everyone a fabulous 2018!

PS: Here’s a photo sent in by a resident to show what happens when loading bays are waived. (1) truck parks in ‘no standing zone’ (2) parks next to white line forcing other cars into oncoming traffic (3) no safe ‘sight lines’


An application for a 13 storey, 115 or 117 unit development at 233-247 Glen Huntly Road & 14 Rippon Grove, Elsternwick raises innumerable questions about ‘consultation’ within Glen Eira and the quality of officer reports.

The recommendation is for a 12 storey building and the reduction of units to 111. VCAT has already approved a 10 storey development.

Below is a screen dump of the current zoning. What this means is that there is the potential for a 13 storey development sitting alongside 4 storey developments, according to the zoning. Council sees no problem with this – in line with some of its current ‘structure plan’ for Elsternwick! Readers should note that the officer report does NOT include this map, rather it is an aerial shot that reveals nothing about zoning! Deliberate?

The vast majority of the proposed dwellings are 2 bedroom. On page 11 of the officer’s report we find this bullet point:

High density residential development is acceptable at this location; however the building should incorporate a more diverse mix of apartment sizes. The design is overly dominated by two-bedroom dwellings and does not contribute adequately to diversity in the centre. 

Then on page 17, ‘compliance’ with the Planning Scheme on housing diversity is listed as – The application consists of a good mix of dwelling sizes’. The point here is that this is supposed to be a response to DWELLING DIVERSITY, and not simply DWELLING SIZE! When the proposal is for 2 one bedroom, 4 three bedroom and 111 two bedroom dwellings for a total of 117, then what ‘diversity’ is achieved? It’s also unclear as to whether we are talking about 115 dwellings or 117 dwellings since this number alternates throughout the report.

On parking we find council is again very generous in what it is willing to waive.

The most disturbing aspect of this report however is the following  –

Council is in the process of preparing a Structure Plan for Elsternwick and Quality Design Guidelines that will potentially inform future planning controls such as local policy, zoning and overlay provisions for the area. These are currently undergoing the second of two phases of consultation before going to Council for adoption in early 2018. In these plans, the site is designated within an area that is identified as being suitable for 8-12 storeys in height.

Whilst the Structure Plan is not at a stage that can influence the decision making process for this application, the recommendation to delete one floor will result in a building height in keeping with the expectations for this area. Notwithstanding, based on the existing character and built form outcome in the area, a building at 12 storeys is considered appropriate.

Everything in the above suggests that council has already determined that 12 storey height limit will remain in its structure planning and that for all the guff about ‘consultation’ and listening to the community, this aspect is set in concrete and will not change.

Finally, we repeat that council’s record in lopping off one or two storeys for cases that end up at VCAT is appalling. They have not been successful in even one such instance that we are aware of. Thus get ready for 13 storeys in Elsternwick and others that will be even higher given this precedent!

What is the future for ‘Moorabbin’ likely to be? We have used inverted commas, since council’s plans for ‘Moorabbin’ are really plans for Bentleigh! Moorabbin as such, is in Kingston and not Glen Eira! Admittedly Plan Melbourne has nominated ‘Moorabbin’ as a Major Activity Centre. The borders of this ‘activity centre’ are not identified in Plan Melbourne and everything has been left up to local councils.

The rail station is in Kingston. There is a structure plan already in existence by Kingston where their side of South Road and Nepean Highway is divided up into a number of precincts. The tallest buildings will be 7 storeys, mainly along Nepean Highway and one fronting South Road. All the rest according to the structure plan will be 3 and 4 storeys.

We can only speculate what Glen Eira has in mind, but it behoves residents to consider the following and its implications:

  • Moorabbin (aka Bentleigh) has been allocated the prize of a Major Activity Centre with ‘opportunities for urban renewal’
  • It is thus upgraded from a Neighbourhood Centre
  • It also includes ‘major focus for housing growth opportunities’

Given that ‘urban renewal’ means the potential for 12 storeys in Glen Eira terminology, is this the future set down for this area? And if not 12 storeys, then how high? – 7 storeys? 8 storeys?

Below is the current zoning for this proposed new Major Activity Centre. Please note that surrounding the commercial area, the zoning is mainly GRZ1 – ie 3 storeys.

We speculate that the following is likely to occur –

  • Three storeys up against 7 or 8 or 9 that will become the ‘urban renewal sites’ is not feasible. That would mean that many of the streets surrounding the commercial zones will also have to be ‘upgraded’ – ie to 4 storeys or even higher. You wouldn’t want 3 storeys sitting alongside even 6 storeys!
  • Since the borders are also likely to be expanded, it would not surprise if the GRZ zone was expanded into the current Neighbourhood Residential zones.

We admit this is all speculation. However, knowing how our council has operated throughout this entire process, nothing would come as a surprise. If we are wrong, then all council has to do is be upfront and deny categorically that this is what they are planning! Silence of course can only be interpreted as ‘consent’!!!!!

The following example highlights what can be achieved when residents and council work in unison to deliver positive outcomes for the community. It features Banyule Council’s fight to ensure that the Ivanhoe Activity Centre Structure Plan contains MANDATORY, rather than ‘discretionary’ height limits.

Unlike Glen Eira City Council, Banyule was not prepared to sit back and argue that mostly ‘discretionary’ height limits was the way to go. They lobbied the Minister in conjunction with their residents and have recently achieved complete MANDATORY controls for the entire activity centre. Further Banyule council is also part of the ‘pilot program’ investigating mandatory heights for all activity centres. Moonee Valley is also part of this program. Why isn’t Glen Eira? Has our council even asked, much less uttered one single official word to put any pressure on government? The answer is NO!

We also present the Save Ivanhoe letter to Wynne asking for (and ultimately getting) mandatory heights.

The joint effort by both residents and council should be a salutary lesson for Glen Eira. And so should the processes undertaken by Banyule – ie open, transparent consultation and consensus!


Helen Carr and Luke McNamara
Co Convenors
Save Ivanhoe Residents Group

Hon Richard Wynne
Minister for Planning
Victorian State Government

19 September 2017

Dear Minister

RE: Mandatory Controls for the Ivanhoe Activity Centre

We are following up progress on the implementation of Mandatory Controls for the Ivanhoe Activity Centre.  This proposed action comes out of the Banyule Council community meeting in May when you stated that you were happy to introduce such controls given the extraordinary level of planning by the community and Council in the delivery of the Ivanhoe Structure Plan.

The Ivanhoe Structure Plan was developed through an unprecedented intensive and extensive Council planning process over three years. The community engagement was extensive. There were dozens of community sessions and workshops held and attended by traders, residents, developers, Council staff, Councillors and state politicians. Banyule Council employed the services of MGS Architects to do a street by street analysis of the activity centre zone. Council created a Community Consultative Committee (CCC) who met regularly for two years to work through the details of the plan.

The Save Ivanhoe Residents Group was a key player throughout this time, informing and harnessing the participation of many hundreds of residents and making a significant contribution to the outcome. Our contribution included participation on the CCC, dissemination of information to residents, ongoing discussion with Council and key stakeholders, site inspections, community forums and the review of the conceptual plans and documentation.

Over 1200 individual submissions were made to Council.

The ultimate plan delivered for the Ivanhoe Activity Centre was one where developers, traders, residents and Council agreed, through discussion, analysis and compromise on how to deliver future growth and development of the Activity Centre, in accordance with State Planning Policy.

The Structure Plan was reviewed by State Planning Department to confirm it contributed significantly to future density growth and also reviewed by a State Government Planning Panel. The guidelines for heights, setbacks and specific provisions in seven different precincts in the Activity Centre were endorsed through this process.

Despite the community request, these guidelines were not prescribed. Consequently many developers have blatantly ignored these guidelines, as have some VCAT decisions. More recently developers have been spurred on by the State Government’s changes to allowable heights. This has undermined the hard work and everything that our community and Council agreed was appropriate and reasonable to ensure growth and development but to avert rampant overdevelopment, destruction of neighbourhood character and future liveability.

A current example of over development is the 10-storey development application for 40 Upper Heidelberg Rd. This was refused by Banyule Council and is currently before VCAT. [VCAT Order: P1645/2017]. This proposal exceeds the guidelines height by 60% and has none of the required setbacks or the landscaping required for the site. It is situated on the most prominent ridgeline in Ivanhoe and will have significant negative impact on local residents, neighbourhood character and general amenity. It will be visible throughout Ivanhoe and from East Ivanhoe, Alphington and Eaglemont. It is at complete odds with local planning policy and process and will create a precedent for the area. Furthermore VCAT rejected a very similar development in the early 2000s. This earlier and similar sized proposal, although half the height, was thrown out as inappropriate due to excessive bulk and adverse impact on amenity.

As a consequence of continual developer disregard for the Activity Centre guidelines, there is widespread anger in the community that the Plan has been so undermined, discounted and ignored.

Save Ivanhoe Residents Group believes it is essential to protect the integrity of the Structure Plan for the development of the Ivanhoe Activity Centre. Therefore we are asking that you urgently approve mandatory controls on height and setbacks throughout the Activity Centre in accordance with the Structure Plan.

Furthermore we ask that you do so, or publicly signal your intent to do so, prior to 9th October VCAT Compulsory Conference regarding 40 Upper Heidelberg Rd. To do this will signal to developers that local planning guidelines are to be respected.  It will signal to the community that your government is responsive to and respects local community and Council planning processes. This is particularly urgent to give guidance to VCAT regarding all current applications scheduled for review.

We welcome development and growth in Ivanhoe. However no developer has the right to ignore the requirements of the Structure Plan and in doing so lead to the needless destruction of liveability now and in the future.

Yours sincerely

Helen Carr & Luke McNamara

Anthony Carbines. Member for Ivanhoe. E.
David Davis, Shadow Minister for Planning. E.
Samantha Dunn, Vic Greens Planning Spokesperson. E.


Development in Glen Eira shows no signs of slowing down. Planning Permit Victoria provides a monthly listing of NET NEW DWELLINGS granted permits. We now have the data for the first four months of the current financial year – ie July through to the end of October, 2017. As with building permits, Glen Eira puts our ‘inner south ‘partners’ to shame – and please remember that the vast majority of these permits would not as yet have gained their building permits. They are simply the okay to proceed, not necessarily to build as yet.

We highlight Stonnington, Bayside, and Boroondara since Plan Melbourne ‘Refresh’ has lumped these municipalities together under the ‘inner south’ category. Plus Council makes much of Plan Melbourne’s ‘expectations’ for housing growth to 2051. It’s just a pity that Council refuses to present any argument that Glen Eira is well and truly meeting its targets and that some of these other councils are lagging far behind when size, commercial zoning, open space, etc is taken into account IN ADDITION to the actual dwelling numbers! This position of course does not meld well with a pro-development agenda!

Here are the net new dwelling permit numbers:

Even more disturbing is the data for subdivisions over the past financial year (ie 2016/17). What should be remembered is that some of these subdivisions also include subdivisions of land, not just for dwellings. For example: one lot of say 1000 square metres is subdivided into 2 lots of 500square metres each. The developer can then put in an application for multiple dwellings on each lot. Hence, the figures presented below are ‘conservative’ in that the final dwelling figure could be a lot higher.

Looking at all the figures such as building permits, planning permits, size, amount of open space, density, land zoning, etc, Glen Eira remains the most overdeveloped municipality in this group! Yet not a peep about any of this. No public statements such as emanated from Boroondara when Wynne introduced VC110, no real opposition to any of the suggestions in the government’s discussion paper on the Victorian Planning Provisions in contrast to countless other councils, and no insight whatsoever into how to conduct genuine and meaningful consultation. And to rub salt into the wounds, Council is gearing up for more and more development – though it is unlikely that council will ever admit this. If Calcutta isn’t completely here as yet, it is around the corner if council has its way!

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