Sunday, September 7, 2008

Knoxfield Planning Issues

 Planning Issues in Knoxfield.


Cr Mick Van de Vreede along with Cr Debbie Field have both been active in their support of Knoxfield residents in their fight against over-development, especially double storey townhouses. Both played a critical part in developing the Knox Housing Policy of 2007 and have stated quite unequivocally that they got it wrong concerning the 400 metre distance from Neighborhood Activity Centres for medium/high density development. They have stated they did not realize the impact this would have on village type neighborhoods like Knoxfield. Thus Cr Mick Van de Vreede moved the call-up item for Cr Debbie Field in her absence at the August Council Meeting. If council’s report supports the move to alter the Knox Housing Policy of 2007 and have it approved by the Minister for Planning for inclusion in the Melbourne 2030 Planning Policy it will alleviate the impact of this medium/high density housing in Knoxfield and in Kathryn Road in particular. I’m confident council’s report will support this move. This call-up item is the result of much lobbying by David Chaney and myself.


Combined with this call-up item is also the report being drawn up by council for an earlier call-up item by Cr Debbie Field to look at “preserving the unique character of Knoxfield’s high canopy indigenous trees”. Each development includes the removal of trees, as in No 75 Kathryn Road, where development has just commenced.

Last Friday representatives of Knoxfield residents, Irene Fullerton, Irene Kelly, David Chaney and Ian Simpson, met with Shaun Leane MP Legislative Council, to brief him of our concerns and he recommended that a “Moratorium on Development in Knoxfield” be applied until Knox City Council completes its study of the “unique character of Knoxfield’s trees”. Shaun Leane said he would make an appointment with Justin Madden, Minister for Planning, this week to recommend his course of action. The residents were delighted with this recommendation, as it will provide some breathing space from the constant barrage of planning applications being submitted to council for the Knoxfield area. This pressure has been constant since April when we were first alerted to the impending developments.


Residents will be aware, though, that a Planning Consultative Meeting is to be held for the development at No 40 Kathryn Road on the 16th September and No 44 Kathryn development will be considered by council at its September 23rd meeting. Residents are appreciative of the opportunity provided by Knox City Council to object to developments and to provide constructive criticism at the Planning Consultative Committee Meetings. This does not occur in many councils across Victoria.


Melbourne 2030 and its lack of foresight in planning is the major cause of the problems in Knoxfield. The effect of the 400 metre medium/high density development zone around Neighborhood Shopping Centres is the direct cause of the planned developments in Knoxfield. Policy developers just looked at a solution to a problem without considering the impact of that policy and how it could devastate a community. Lack of planning to upgrade 1960’s infrastructure has resulted in power blackouts caused by a transformer not coping with the load on cold mornings. Drainage and sewerage problems are a constant problem as is the water pressure. The older suburbs, ill planned as they were in the 1960s, just cannot cope with the demand placed upon them by a large increase in the population. Other issues include Knoxfield Shopping Centre being included as a Neighborhood Activity Centre, which is the smallest of those listed in the Knox Housing Statement 2007, it doesn’t have the transport facilities of the others named and doesn’t even have traffic lights controlling entry to the centre for cars and pedestrian traffic. Other centres like Wellington Village, Rowville Lakes, Studfield and Knox Gardens are larger, have greater services, traffic lights and much better public transport services.


Other Melbourne 2030 issues that are of concern are the restrictions placed on planners in relation to planning applications:

  • Planning applications must be considered in isolation, even when neighboring properties both have planning applications which would result in an additional 21 houses.
  • Rescodes are only guidelines and are not prescriptive
  • “Vegetation Overlay 3” does little to protect the indigenous high canopy trees
  • Restrictive timelines imposed upon the council to make decisions, and
  • The repetitive nature of residents needing to object to each planning application when similar arguments apply to all applications.


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