Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Press Release from Peter

 Look what they’ve done to my suburb Ma! (with apologies to Melanie Safka)

With the backing of the Victorian State Government, developers are moving in, buying up existing single dwelling properties and then turning them into high density double story townhouse ‘estates’.  This is not only happening in the city of Knox but right across Victoria.

Some larger ‘garden suburb’ blocks in Knoxfield are set to be redeveloped with 10 or 12 double & single story townhouses.

The impact of up to 50 people living on a single block is compounded by the growing number of similar developments already built or currently in the planning stages.

Developer supplied plans are often vague, ‘ResCode’ rules are being bent and council guidelines are being ignored in the rush to put as many ‘investment units’ as possible onto existing blocks in quiet established residential areas.

Neighbours are suddenly realising that they will have multiple two storey houses on their fence line, restricting their views, natural light and encroaching on their privacy.

These high density developments are also overloading critical utility services such as power, gas, water, sewerage & storm water systems.  These utilities, planned in the 1960’s, were never designed to handle multiple occupancy housing.  Who will plan, organise & pay for the required infrastructure upgrades? Not the developers!

These developments usually require the clearing of all existing established native & non-native vegetation.  This flora cannot be replaced in the short term and is already impacting on the numbers of native birds & wildlife that are unique to ‘green’ suburbs in the Knox region.

Limited off-street parking provided in these developments leads to traffic problems and accidents where residents & visitors have to park in numbers on narrow suburban streets.

Many of these developments supposedly cater for family living but little though is given to providing a reasonable community area on site for children to play in safety.

Neighbourhood action groups are springing up all over Melbourne to fight many of these proposals but local councils only have limited powers to reject these planning applications.  The developer can always appeal to VCAT which can over rule council & residents objections.

Under the State Governments ‘Melbourne 2030’ housing plan any remaining local government powers will soon be removed.  This will prevent all but adjacent residents from fighting development proposals and it will be at State Government level.

Whilst residents continue to oppose inappropriate local development the real changes are needed at State Government level.  We need to tell our elected State Government representatives that local planning decisions must remain with our elected local government representatives and not with someone in an office in the CBD who has no idea of local planning issues.

We need people to write to their local State Government representatives asking them to force changes to the 2030 plan to allow major control to remain with local council planning groups.


Peter Shearman

Janden Close



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