OPEN SPACE – ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY?

The following is the content of a formal letter, delivered today to Mayor Jamie Hyams, alerting Council to an opportunity to acquire a significant parcel of cleared land (3142 sqm) which abuts Riley Reserve, Murrumbeena, and could readily be incorporated into the Reserve.

The self-explanatory letter, which has also been emailed to each Councillor, outlines the benefits and advantages that GERA sees arising from the acquisition of the property located at 487 Neerim Road, Murrumbeena.  The letter is also in line with residents aspirations for increased open space as expressed in “The Glen Eira Community Plan, 2012” (Theme 5- Recreation and Open Space, page 25), which includes the following statements

“Open space is a vital community asset that provides benefit for the whole community … The immediate benefits of open space are well documented … The City of Glen Eira has the lowest amount of open space of any city in Melbourne and Council will actively seek new opportunities to increase and optimise open space for residents.”  Council “invests a significant amount in providing facilities that meet the needs and aspirations of a growing and dynamic community”

As the property’s auction date is 20th December, 2012, GERA realises time is of the essence (as is typical of unexpected or unplanned opportunities) and trusts that Council will undertake actions to acquire the property.  GERA and Glen Eira residents look forward to Council’s response which will be posted on this website. 

Residents may wish to make their own representations to Councillors re the acquisition of the land.

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Letter

Dear Jamie,

Re:  Opportunity to purchase additional Parkland

We are writing to alert Council to a rare and unique opportunity to purchase a large property (3142 sqm) at 487 Neerim Road, Murrumbeena which adjoins Riley Reserve and would be a significant addition to Glen Eira’s parklands.  The following advertisement re the sale of this property appeared in “The Weekly Review”, dated 28th November, 2012.   Additional details from the Agents Website are provided as an attachment.

487 Neerim Road, Murrumbeenaa

GERA strongly advocates that Council give appropriate consideration to acquiring the property for the purposes of increasing Glen Eira’s limited public open space (on a per capita basis, Glen Eira has the least open space in metropolitan Melbourne – Glen Eira 4 hectares per 1000, average for Metro Melbourne 7 hectares per 1000).

The advantages of acquiring this property are

  • Adjoins existing Riley Reserve and at 3142 sqm would be a significant addition to the reserve
  • The property has been cleared of previously existing dwellings while significant mature vegetation has been retained.  Therefore, costs of converting the property to public open space would be minimal.
  • The top estimated price for the property is $2.2m which favourably compares to the $2m Council paid for 2 house lots adjoining Packer Park in 2011.  The 487 Neerim Road property is approximately 25% larger than the 2 Packer Park house lots and, unlike the 2 Packer Park lots, does not require demolition works.
  • The property is located in a minimal change area and acquiring the property for parkland would add significantly to local amenity and retention of the neighbourhood character and streetscape.
  • The property is conveniently located close to the Chadstone Shopping Centre and the Murrumbeena, Hughesdale, Dandenong Road Housing Diversity (high density) areas.  All three housing diversity areas are undergoing rapid transformation from being predominantly single/dual occupancy and 1-2 storey dwellings to becoming high rise (minimum 3-4 stories) multiple unit dwellings with limited private or communal open space.  Such developments will result in demand for public open space far exceeding the provision of open space in the area.
  • It is noted that in 2009 against substantial opposition from local residents, Council approved a development application for the site (23 double storey residences).  This application was later appealed at VCAT and a much larger development (3 stories, 28 residences) was approved.  VCAT considered proximity (within 500 metres) to the Murrumbeena Housing Diversity Area outweighed any minimal change or neighbourhood character considerations. VCAT’s 2009 decision effectively set a precedent for high density “creep” into this minimal change area.  Council acquisition of the property for parkland would prevent this “creep” and secure a substantial addition to parkland in an area with a high demand for parkland.
  • Funding (even if the purchase price is higher than the quoted $2.2m) for the purchase should be available from the State Government legislated Open Space Contribution Levy, paid by developers (a maximum 5% of land value at time of subdivision) should enable Council to fund both the acquisition and costs to convert the vacant land to public parkland.

In view of the above advantages, GERA strongly advocates that Council avail themselves of this rare opportunity to make a substantial addition to Glen Eira’s well-known lack of public parkland.

Cc:       Via email –  all Councillors, Via website posting – Glen Eira Residents

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Attachment – Ex Hocking Stuart Website – 5th December, 2012

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