GE Transport

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.



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.


We’ve received the following email from a participant at last night’s Virginia Estate forum. Several questions arise from this:

  • Given this will be the largest development in Glen Eira’s history, the turnout is disappointing. More disappointing is the failure of many councillors to show up!
  • The economic analysis is still to make an appearance on the VPA website and it is nearing mid December and consultation closes soon. How can residents provide meaningful comments when they have nothing to comment upon?
  • Since when does council have no control over building heights? Has council already caved into whatever the developers and state government want?
  • We’re supposed to have had a Community Reference Group, yet no names have been made public so how on earth can these people ‘represent’ their community when no resident knows officially whom to contact to provide ‘feedback’?!! Nor do we know how many times this committee has met. No minutes or reporting back to council has taken place. In fact, we believe that this committee was basically ‘sworn to secrecy’. Another example of sham ‘consultation’ -standing in sharp contrast to what happened with the Alphington Mill reference group where minutes and agendas were made public and everyone knew who was on the committee. Woeful and deliberate stuff Glen Eira Council!

Here’s the email:

There was a mix of about 38 people there, Hyams and Taylor attended as did Libs candidate for Bentleigh Asher Judah.

Glen Eira’s representation was minimal and in the background and consisted of a few young female officers handing out Glen Eira’s Draft Quality Design Guideline book in the hallway, with nothing about the proposed East Village Activity Centre on show.

The opening presentation/slide show from VPA’s Steve Dunn took too long, leaving not enough time for questions; and there was no systematic reporting back from each table.
There was little new information from VPA to move ahead with.

Yvonne from the Residents Consultation Group/Panel took the podium and gave the development the big tick, basically saying what is proposed is better than what is there now, with reservations on Councils ability to control the final outcomes on height limits and traffic.

Residents used question time to rehash their same concerns of traffic overflows into their streets. Traffic issues took the lion’s share of the question time.

At about 7:30 a panel of at least 8 people assembled to answer question only 3 were used the others said nothing, Ron Torres took a few questions on building heights with the development. The person from the Education Dept took a few questions on the proposed school, the main concerns here, were to do with having the drop off and pick-up areas within the Village and not on the boundary residential streets.  (traffic related again).

Other concerns were:-
/flooding on the site
/Council not being able to control the building heights as the development progress (Ron Torres took these concerns on,  and asked for submission to the activities centre consultation and mention mandatory height limits being protected under law and mostly VCAT proof.

/The soccer club from Marlborough Reserve wants another soccer field, and suggested that by moving the existing soccer field forward and using the proposed aligning open space in the Village, they could be another synthetic field in. The answer from Steve Dunn was basically this was a done deal, Ron Torres hedged on this done deal statement,  saying Marlborough reserve was council open space and nothing has been decided.

My feelings are the residents are going to get done to death here. Issues like quality of design, rooftop gardens, larger set backs on North and E/Boundary roads, sustainable design, impact on Centre Road shopping strip, lack of public transport,  and where all these thousands of hoped for workers are going to park hardly got a mention.

One suggestion was subterranean parking. If all the other buildings are going to have similar subterranean car parks, you can imagine the permeability levels of the whole site will be very low, not to mention the sense of building subterranean car parking areas in a SBO area. The VPA is very secretive on onsite car parking, digging out these car parks will remove most of the polluted soil from the site, although the disposal costs of this spoil will be huge. It will be interesting to see if and how they justify these subterranean car parking areas in an SBO area.


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