Tag Archives: Carnegie

STRUCTURE PLANNING FORUMS

UPDATE 17/5/2017

Don’t forget to attend tonight’s Structure Planning Forum for Elsternwick.  Details are

Wednesday, 17th May, 6.30pm–8.30pm at the Caulfield RSL, 4 St. Georges Road, Elsternwick.

UPDATE 8/5/2017

Don’t forget to attend tonight’s Structure Planning Forum for Carnegie.  Details are

Monday 8th May, 6.30pm–8.30pm

Boyd Room of the Carnegie Library,

7 Shepparson Avenue, Carnegie

As we have pointed out many times, this is an opportunity for residents to assess and comment upon the Structure Planning work currently being undertaken by Council.   It’s about how Council is planning for the expected future developments in the centre and Council’s proposals for ensuring that the Carnegie Centre continues as a safe, socially and economically viable Centre that is readily accessible to all.

If you want a say in what can/should be built where and what basic needs (eg. open space, safety, traffic parking, neighbourhood character) Council should plan to provide for a burgeoning population then attend the forum.

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For those not aware, commencing next week, Council is holding  Community Forums* on the preliminary results of the Structure Planning work being undertaken as a result of the 2015 Ministerial Directive for Glen Eira to review it’s planning scheme.

We urge all residents and interested parties to attend the forums – numbers count.  The Structure Planning (first recommended by an Independent Planning Panel in 2003) currently being undertaken sets the requirements/standards for future developments in Glen Eira, ie what can built where (ie. locations, building uses, heights, footprint, setbacks etc.) .   It also incorporates the myriad of related planning issues (eg. traffic, parking, open space, tree protection, heritage, drainage etc.) which fall within Council’s planning responsibilities.

Although the current focus is on the major activity centres and skyrail route, the requirements set for these centres will also have significant impact on the

  • Requirements determined, at some yet to be determined future time, for the smaller activity centres (a.k.a. Neighbourhood Centres) and
  • Flow on impacts (eg traffic & parking) for the surrounding areas (ie. the smaller activity centres and Neighbourhood Residential Zone).

Now is the appropriate time for community involvement – the planning scheme requirements are being set.  Once set, it is too late to object to planning permit applications that are in compliance with the requirements ( eg. those that have been approved for Carnegie and Bentleigh since the current zones were implemented in 2013).

Below is an email which highlights some of the issues identified by the Centre Road Bentleigh Group (the Group can be contacted via email – centreroadbentleigh@gmail.com).   GERA believes that many of the issues raised below are equally applicable to Carnegie, Elsternwick and Murrumbeena and that the residents of these areas may wish to add further concerns at the forums.

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Over the last few years, Bentleigh residents have been actively lobbying Council to put in the right controls and plans for future developments within the area.  As an outcome of this lobbying, some interim height controls have recently been introduced and Council is now also undertaking a Bentleigh shopping centre and surrounds structure planning process. This structure plan will significantly influence future development

 Our thoughts on the preliminary plan are:  

  • There is no meaningful increase in open space and this is an issue with increasing development and also the general lack of open space in Glen Eira (lowest in Melbourne).  
  • It is proposed that the existing car parks are to be consolidated into a multi-storey with the remainder to potentially be converted into more residential developments. This is not acceptable (Stonnington for example are doing one underground car park and developing open space above). 
  • There is limited if any innovation or creativity in the plan.  
  • It is proposed that the library be relocated ($20M plus cost) however this was not identified as a need by residents.  (perhaps Council wants to sell off the current library site for a major development?). 
  • There is no direction included for future development heights. 

In summary, we believe that more work needs to be done to deliver a plan that is consistent in quality with other local government areas.  

 Please attend the community forum to again ensure Council clearly understands the views of residents.  Numbers are important, please also forward this onto friends. 

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As always, if you have any comments or need additional information, please feel free to comment on our Facebook Page

 

*Details of the Forums, together with support documentation, is available on Council’s website

Bentleigh

Wednesday 3 May, 6.30pm–8.30pm at the Bentleigh Senior Citizens Centre, 2 Arthur Street, Bentleigh to further discuss this preliminary plan.

Carnegie

Monday 8th May, 6.30pm–8.30pm at the Boyd Room of the Carnegie Library, 7 Shepparson Avenue, Carnegie

Elsternwick

Wednesday, 17th May, 6.30pm–8.30pm at the Caulfield RSL, 4 St. Georges Road, Elsternwick.

Murrumbeena

The previously advised 24/5 Murrumbeena Structure Planning Community Forum appears to have been cancelled and has been replaced with a Structure Planning Forum for the East Village Development.  Details of this Forum are provided below.

East Village

Wednesday, 24th May, 6.30pm–8.30pm at the Duncan McKinnon Reserve Pavilion, Cnr. North and Murrumbeena Roads, Murrumbeena

 

WALK AGAINST SKYRAIL

UPDATE 21/06/2016

Congratulations to those who organised and attended the “WALK AGAINST SKYRAIL”.   The event was well attended (900+) and received significant media coverage.

ABC News

The Age, 19/06/2016

One significant point we’d like to clarify is the proposed height of Skyrail.   The most frequently mentioned height of 9 metres (i.e. approx. 2 stories flat roofed) is the distance between street level and the base of the concrete railway line structure only.  The below diagram, put together by the No Skyrails group, shows the completed structure’s heights – at stations, between stations and in comparison with surrounding single storey, pitched roof homes.  Even though the structure’s width is not depicted, the structure will dominate the skyline and will have major impacts on access to sunlight and rain water for the surrounding areas (ie. nearby residences and the proposed below Skyrail public parkland).

Skyrail heights

 

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GERA has been asked by the No Skyrails/Lower Our Tracks folks to advise our readers of the below “Walk Against  Skyrail”.    While we believe that the removal of level crossings is a long overdue of State Government priority, we also believe that, given the magnitude of the proposal,  there has been insufficient open analysis and assessment of possible options and their impacts.  GERA supports the Lower Our Tracks Inc. in their quest to ensure the best outcome is achieved and encourages readers to learn more by attending the Walk.

Below is information, supplied by Lower our Tracks, about the ”Walk”.  It is followed by additional information on a recent Ministerial Amendment to all Municipal Planning Schemes impacted by the proposed Caulfield Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project.

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WAS Flyer

Map

We are keen to get as many people as possible coming along to the walk so that they can see just what the scale and impact of this proposal will be.   We are asking that anyone who cares about the impact of this proposal, their families and friends  join us in numbers at the Walk Against Skyrail.

Recently we had news that the planning minister Richard Wynne has put through an Amendment GC37 to the planning scheme  –  this was very unusually put through on a Friday – and is wide sweeping in its impact – it gives the State Government full power over any other overlays or authorities (such as the council) to carry out works.

Lower Our Tracks Inc is not political – it is a community group with members of all backgrounds.

CHILD AND PEDESTRIAN SAFETY – ACCESS TO CARNEGIE PRIMARY – Part 2

UPDATE 2/6/2016 – Second Sign Installed

The second sign, banning vehicle usage of the laneway during peak school usage times, was installed at the Koornang Road laneway entrance on 30/5/2016.

UPDATE 29/5/2016 – Signage Installation

Last Friday 27/5/2016, one month after Council decided to “ban” through vehicle usage of the Koornang/Shepparson laneway during peak school access times via signage, residents were notified that the signage would be installed that day.

After 12 months of wrangling with Council, the residents were delighted to see the signage being installed – the signage is highly visible and readily understood.

Alas, the “spanner in the works” became readily apparent when only one sign was installed.  And that installation was at the Shepparson Avenue laneway entrance rather than the Koornang Road laneway entrance.  The Koornang Road entrance being the entrance most used by motorists seeking to avoid the Koornang Road traffic congestion.

As Council has been unable to advise why only one sign was installed, residents are admiring Shepparson Avenue signage and wondering if they should do a quick whip around to fund the Koornang Road signage.

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27/4/2016 UPDATE – Council’s Decision

After 11 months of frustrating argy-bargy between residents and Council, at last night’s (26/4) meeting, Councillors decided to end the impasse on the significant cyclist and pedestrian (particularly child) safety issues that exist in the Koornang/Shepparson laneway section in Carnegie.

Councillors decided to restrict through vehicle laneway usage during peak school access times (a.m. and p.m.) via signage (cost = $200.00).  If motorists continue using the laneway as a “short cut/rat run” after the signage has been installed or, as per Cr. Magee, if a “catastrophe occurs”, residents were assured that Council will consider installing a removable vehicle barrier in the laneway section during peak school access periods.

While residents welcome the end of the impasse, many are left wondering why it took so long for Council to “do something” that addresses a clear-cut safety issue and are fully expecting to return to the fray sometime within the next twelve months.  They believe that signage alone is unlikely to be an effective, long-term deterrent for those motorists who think it acceptable to use the laneway as short cut/rat run during peak school access times.

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In May, 2015, concerned residents first contacted Council re the inherent risks associated with combined through vehicle and cyclist/pedestrian (particularly parents and young children) usage in a section of the Koornang Road to Tranmere Avenue, Carnegie, laneway  –  the laneway, which connects to the Koornang Road School Crossing, provides a significant pedestrian short cut to the Carnegie Primary School.  The section of the laneway deemed unsafe by residents is the Koornang Road to Shepparson Avenue section which is being used as a “rat run” (a.k.a. shortcut) to avoid  Koornang Road traffic congestion.

Over the ensuing 11 months, there have been frequent communications between residents, Council Officers and Councillors – yet despite this communication, Councillor and Officer site visits and publicity in the local media,  residents report Council has maintained a “do nothing”  (Leader article 12/01/2016)  approach that favoured vehicle over cyclist/pedestrian laneway usage.

Therefore, when in response to a reported incidence,  Councillors formally requested an Officer’s Report 2016 03 15 Extract from Minutes of Council Meeting), outlining the possible measures that could be taken to close the laneway to through vehicular traffic during peak school access times, residents welcomed that initiative.  It was seen as a positive step towards ending the current impasse that would provide an objective assessment of the current issues, their potential solutions and lead to a safer environment for families accessing Carnegie Primary via the laneway.

Unfortunately, Friday’s published Officer’s Report, presented by the Manager, Strategic Transport, does not provide an objective assessment of either the current issue or potential solutions and the proposed recommendations do little to ensure a safer environment within the laneway.  Particularly as the residents simple yet effective, proposed solution of installing a bollard and appropriate signage in the Koornang/Shepparson laneway (estimated total cost $400)* section has been overlooked.

* Although both the cost of bollard and speed hump installation was sought in a public question (15/3/2016 Public Question Extract) surprisingly Council was unable to provide that information.   The estimated cost is therefore reasonably assumed to be equivalent to the recently advised cost of manufacturing and installing 6 time restricted parking signs in Elsternwick ($200) plus Council’s advised signage cost of $200.

LANEWAY DETAILS

 To recap details of the details of the laneway included in GERA’s previous posting

Street Directory with measurements

  • The multi coloured dotted line denotes the laneway access to Carnegie Primary School from Tranmere Avenue.
  • The Red dotted line denotes the Shepparson to Tranmere section of the laneway that is not currently deemed unsafe by residents, however, given the pace of development along Neerim Road it may become unsafe in the future.
  • The Black dotted line denotes the Shepparson Avenue/Koornang Road, Carnegie, section of the laneway which residents argue is currently unsafe.
  • The Blue dotted line denotes a closely aligned laneway that connects Koornang Road with Graceburn Avenue and the Carnegie Primary School.

The Koornang/Shepparson laneway section

  • Is 80-85 metres long and 3 metres wide and surrounded by solid high fencing – given current vehicle widths, cyclists and pedestrians (particularly those with strollers and/or young children yet to develop risk awareness) are provided with little scope for action.
  • The laneway’s significance in providing pedestrian access to Carnegie Primary, has been recognized by Council’s placement of a supervised school crossing in Koornang Road. The school crossing connects this laneway with the Koornang/Graceburn laneway.
  • The 4 properties abutting the laneway section do not use the laneway for vehicular access to their properties – all use on-street cross overs (driveways). Residents have advised that  property owners have given verbal approval for the laneway to be closed to through vehicle traffic.
  • All vehicular usage of the laneway is through traffic seeking a short-cut to avoid traffic congestion at the traffic lighted Koornang/Neerim or Koornang/Truganni intersections.
  • Allows for through vehicle traffic, where as the Elliot/Tranmere section of the laneway is permanently blocked to through traffic by an aged, permanently installed bollard.
  • As per the Glen Eira Road Register (December, 2015), Council is responsible for traffic management within the roads/streets that connect with the laneway and in the laneway itself.

OFFICER’S REPORT

 GERA makes the following points with regards the discussion issues included in the Manager, Strategic Planning’s Report

  • GERA and residents accept that through vehicle usage of the Koornang/Shepparson laneway section during peak school times is relatively low (ie. an average of 3 vehicles, where residents consider 1 too many) and usually at low speeds consistent with the laneway’s narrow width.   However,  Council’s expectations that motorists, who knowingly use the laneway during at peak school times as a time saving “short cut”, will use caution and stop to allow cyclists and pedestrians to pass safely are not being met.  Rather than slowing or stopping,  vehicles continue moving forward while blowing their horns.  Cyclists and pedestrians are then required to squeeze up next to the wall when cars come past because even they only just fit through” in a confined space that does not provide either party with space to respond to the consequences of “a moments inattention”.

 In short,

  • the risks to cyclists and pedestrians (particularly parents with strollers and/or young children not known for either attentiveness or risk assessment) far exceed any “short cut” benefit to motorists, and
  • allowing continued through vehicles (presumed to be driven by local residents) laneway usage, in order to avoid traffic congestion at either the traffic lighted Koornang/Neerim or Koornang/Turganni intersections, creates an inherently high risk situation that is difficult to reconcile with accepted good traffic management concepts.
  • Closing the laneway to through vehicle traffic will have minimal impact on motorists both in terms of time/distance and traffic volumes. Not closing the laneway to through vehicle traffic will have a major impact in terms of time/distance (approx. 500m – as it will involve accessing the School either by Neerim Road (North) or by the Crossover (South) then “doubling back”).   This extra time/distance, combined with the safety issue may well result in increased traffic congestion as parents opt to drive rather walk their children to school.

  • Council’s stated intention to install speed humps during the 20016/17 Financial Year
    • Is an expensive solution (vs. a simple bollard – $400 estimated), and
    • Does not address the principal issue, ie. the presence of through vehicular traffic, travelling at relatively low speeds and not giving way to cyclist/pedestrians, and
    • In the absence of definitive timeline (eg. July, 2016 vs. June, 2017), allows a high risk situation, that has existed beyond its use by date to remain unaddressed for an indefinite period.
    • The cost of installing the proposed speed humps is not known as Council, surprisingly was unable to provide the information (15/3/2016 Public Question Extract).
  • Council’s inclusion of the Koornang/Graceburn laneway (via the Councillor’s unanimous resolution for a Report on the Koornang/Shepparson laneway) is questionable since, during the past 11 months, neither the residents nor GERA have implied, or raised, any safety issue regarding the Koornang/Graceburn laneway.

Both GERA and residents, agree with Council, that Koornang/Graceburn laneway’s sharp right angle corner and partially paved surface makes it “not trafficable” to modern through vehicular traffic.   Additionally, it lacks the smooth concreted surface (installed by Council approx. 3 years ago) and straight, clear line of sight that exists in the Koornang/Shepparson section of the Koornang/Tranmere laneway.    A more appropriate comparison would be with the Elliot/Tranmere section, since both are of the same dimensions (length and width), are a confined by high solid fencing and provide a straight, clear line of sight.  A permanently installed aged bollard, which prevents through traffic in the Elliot/Tranmere section, being a major difference.

 GERA makes the following points with regards the options presented by Manager, Strategic Transport

  • For the reasons outlined above, the validity of the inclusion of the Koornang/Graceburn laneway in a objective risk management assessment of the Koornang/Shepparson laneway section is seriously challenged.   As are the implications
    • that because the Koornang/Graceburn laneway is used to provide rear vehicular property access it cannot be closed and therefore neither can the Koornang/Shepparson laneway, and
    • that the “restriction of access to the laneways, by way of erecting a barrier, such as a gate or bollard(s) …. Would be a permanent arrangement that applies at all times. The process does not enable the bollards to put in place only at specific times”.

Bollards may be permanent or temporary and it is conceivable that bollard placement and removal could be included in the duties of the Council’s School Crossing Supervisor.

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  • GERA believes that designating the Koornang/Shepparson laneway section as one-way traffic only (direction yet to be specified) in an attempt to reduce vehicle volumes will yield an uncertain outcome. Signage by itself does not restrict vehicle access.  While we acknowledge that one-way designations are a known traffic management treatments for  “rat runs”,  to be effective in managing traffic flows they require an opposite direction one-way designation in close proximity.  Since this is not available, GERA supports the recommendation not to implement this option.
  • Similarly, as per GERA’s previous posting, designating the laneway as a Share Zone is not a preferred option. While a Shared Zone acknowledges that vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians share a common space,
    • It’s advantage is that at all times cyclists and pedestrians have legally enforceable rights of way over vehicles and vehicle speed limits are usually restricted to 10 kph.
    • However, It’s disadvantage is that it does not prohibit through vehicle traffic and therefore, GERA and residents do not support it’s implementation
  • Council’s preferred option is to restrict turns accessing and exiting the laneway, at various times during the day, via signage. However, as mentioned previously this does not restrict vehicle access and unless monitored by a traffic infringement officer is unlikely to provide a long term solution.  There is a definite probability that motorists, who consider it acceptable to use the laneway for through access while it is occupied by cyclists/pedestrians, will continue to use the laneway regardless of the signage.  Therefore, GERA and residents do not support it’s implementation.

In summary, GERA urges Councillors making a decision on the most appropriate and effective option for eliminating the risks within the Koornang/Shepparson laneway section to take a step back and undertake an objective assessment of the issue.  Quite frankly, both the situation and the most appropriate solution are so simple that many are scratching their heads wondering why after 11 months the issue has yet to be addressed.

  • The situation is that a small number of vehicles (ie. 3) consider it acceptable to use the laneway as a time saving short cut during peak school access times and by doing so create a an unacceptable level of risk for cyclists and pedestrians. Combine this usage with motorists sporadically failing to exercise the level of caution expected by Council and that level of risk escalates to beyond unacceptable.
  • The solution is to prevent through vehicle usage during peak school access times by installing a vehicle blocking barrier (eg. gate or bollard) and no through road signage during specified time periods.

 Whether it’s a gate or bollard installed as a temporary or permanent barrier is open.  However, aside from giving a high priority (ie. within a month) to the installation of either a gate or bollard. we urge Councillors to give consideration to the following

  • Bollard (at an estimated cost of $400) will be as effective as a gate and less costly vs. a gate which requires a support posts (bollards?) and design features that will not impede cyclists, pedestrians with strollers or those with mobility disabilities.
  • While the current discussion has focused on peak school usage, the Koornang/Shepparson laneway section is also used on a daily basis, during off peak school access hours, by not only through vehicle traffic but also by cyclists/pedestrians/disabled accessing the Koornang Road bus service, the local convenience stores/services near Truganni Road and the Route 67 tram service. This cyclist/ pedestrian/disabled usage should be considered when determining temporarily or permanently closing the laneway to through vehicle traffic.

CHILD AND PEDESTRIAN SAFETY – ACCESS TO CARNEGIE PRIMARY

Readers may remember a Leader article (12/01/2016) entitled “Lane Impasse” that related to calls from residents to restrict through vehicle traffic in a section of a Carnegie laneway that is used by pedestrians to access the Carnegie Primary School.   The resident’s concerns relate to significant safety issues that arise when vehicles (seeking to reduce commute time, a.k.a. “rat running”) and pedestrians (particularly parents and young children walking to/from the Carnegie Primary School) are combined in a confined space (3m x 75-80m) defined by high fencing.

Residents advise that Council is still not “budging” from it’s June, 2015 decision to install signage and discourage pedestrian use of laneway as Council cannot restrict access to the laneway.  This is despite the residents continuing to report issues of vehicles not exercising caution when using the laneway (the latest report being made early last week).

GERA is supporting the residents over this significant safety issue and provides the following analysis of the issues (together with proposed solutions) to assist them in their future dealings with Council.

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Composite

  • Council’s letter, dated 12/6/2015 identifies the laneway as a “road”, however, this is not supported by Council’s 2015 Road Register which designates the laneway as a “right of way” rather than a road. Although a Right of Way is not defined in the Road Register, Council’s website provides a “Uses of Rights of Way” policy* that states

“Rights of way were principally created as part of subdivisions for the purpose of providing ancillary services to properties, which include sanitary collection, deliveries to retail, commercial and industrial properties.   Most rights of way were never intended to be the principal means of access to any property, nor are they wide enough to cater for public vehicular through traffic and/or pedestrian access.”

  • There is an apparent contradiction in the statement (above attached Leader article) that “council’s transport planning manager was unable to restrict access to the laneway because properties next to it could, in future, create an access point” in that Elliot Avenue’s access to the Elliot/Tranmere section of the laneway has an aged, permanent bollard installed that prevents through vehicle usage.

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  • Street Configuration
    • If the laneway is unable to be safely used by pedestrians to access the Carnegie Primary School (and the Route 67 Tram Service), this will add a significant extra distance for pedestrian school access as it will involve accessing the School either by Neerim Road (North) or by the Crossover (South) then “doubling back”.   This extra distance (approximately 500m), particularly when combined with the current and expected future disruption caused by construction in and around Neerim Road, is contrary to Council’s Sustainable Transport Policy and may well result in increased traffic congestion as parents opt to drive rather walk children to school. In contrast, the increase in travel time incurred by confining vehicles to the road network proper is minimal.

Street Directory

The multi coloured dotted line denotes the laneway access to Carnegie Primary School from Tranmere Avenue.

The Black dotted line denotes the Shepparson Avenue/Koornang Road, Carnegie, section of the laneway which residents argue is currently unsafe.

The Blue dotted line denotes a closely aligned laneway that connects Koornang Road with Graceburn Avenue and the Carnegie Primary School.

  • The significance of pedestrian usage of Koornang/Tranmere laneway to access Carnegie Primary School has been recognised by Council, via locating a school crossing that links the laneway’s access point on the eastern side of Koornang Road with a closely aligned laneway (located on the western side of Koornang Road) which connects Koornang Road with Graceburn Avenue. The Carnegie Primary School being located on the corner of Truganni Road and Graceburn Avenue.

Eastern Side Laneway Access

Western Side Laneway

Further, taking into account Council’s above Rights of Way definition and

o   the close alignment of these two laneways (Koornang/Tranmere and Koornang/Graceburn), and

o   the residential nature (ie. the absence of retail, commercial or industrial activities) of development in the area serviced by the Koornang/Tranmere Laneway, and the absence of laneways to provide for sanitary services for each property, and

o   the limited number of properties ( 16 – all with on street crossovers/driveways, none currently using the laneway for vehicular property access) that could be serviced by the Koornang/Tranmere laneway, and

o   the Elliot Street bollard, and

o   that the laneway terminates at the eastern boundary of the Carnegie School Zone (ie. Tranmere Ave)

it is reasonable to conclude that providing pedestrian access to the Carnegie Primary School was a significant (if not primary) factor in the creation of the Koornang/Tranmere laneway.

  • The adequacy of the crossing signage recently installed at the laneway’s Koornang Road and Shepparson Avenue access points. Residents report that this signage is not clearly visible to drivers because of

o   height, and

o   placement that faces the other side of the road rather than traffic travelling north or south on either roadway

  • The possibility of relocating the lighted speed limit signage facing traffic travelling north on Koornang Road to a location that is before (rather than after) the school crossing.
  • Undertaking an analysis of the current and future laneway usage by both pedestrian and vehicles.

While the Koornang/Tranmere laneway is located in a Neighbourhood Residential Zone (which restricts redevelopment to 2 stories and 2 dwellings per lot), the laneway’s proximity to the Carnegie Growth Zones (3-4 story multi unit development zones) points to a likely significant future increase in pedestrian laneway usage (to access Carnegie Primary School) not only in the Koornang/Shepparson section but also in the Shepparson/Tranmere sections. Similarly, through vehicle usage of the laneway is also likely to increase.

Laneway Streets and Zones

Therefore, in line with good planning concepts, GERA urges Council to consider applying the results of the Council’s review of the Koornang/Shepparson section of the laneway to all sections of the laneway.

Finally, GERA suggests Council consider implementing at least one of the following options

  • In each laneway section, installing

o   a bollard (similar in width to the cast iron poles commonly used for traffic and parking management purposes and of a height that would impede through vehicle usage without impacting pedestrian usage) in the centre of each of the 4 laneway sections and in line with the rear property boundary of the abutting lots, and

o   “no throughway” signage at appropriate locations, eg. at laneway access points, on each bollard.

Such bollards and signage should

o   be relatively inexpensive*, readily available and easily installed, and

o   have little impact on a possible future requests from abutting properties for property access points to be provided via the laneway.

* In August, 2012, in response to a Public Question, Council advised “that the cost of six parking restriction signs manufactured and installed by Council’s depot was less than $200” (ie. less than $33.33 each).

  • Designating the laneway as a Shared Zone and installing appropriate signage (not GERA’s preferred option).

Such a designation would recognise that, while pedestrians and vehicles share the laneway, special rules apply to laneway usage, ie

o   that, at all times, pedestrians have a legally enforceable right of way over vehicles within the laneway

o   a low vehicle speed limit (typically 10 km/h) is applicable within the laneway.

However, such a designation may take time to implement and become widely known/accepted and encourages through laneway vehicle usage.

 

FROGMORE UPDATE

Many readers will remember GERA’s unsuccessful “ Save Frogmore Campaign” (1 Wahgoo Road, Carnegie) and Glen Eira Council’s shameful 9/6/2015 decision to abandon applying heritage protection to Frogmore House before it could be assessed by an Independent Planning Panel (effectively denying all stakeholders access to the appropriate due planning scheme amendment process). The end result being the demolition of Frogmore House occurring in July, 2015.

Unfortunately, it appears that an addendum has recently been added to the shameful Frogmore Saga.   This time it is related to processing the of the planning permit application for a two storey Aged Care Facility which includes a proposal to remove 88 trees from the site.

BRIEF RECAP

The 9/6/2015 decision to abandon heritage decision for Frogmore was made

  • despite
    • a Council commissioned Independent Heritage Expert Assessment (Jan, 2015), which unequivocally recommended Heritage Protection at the Municipal Level.
    • it being inconsistent with the Glen Eira Municipal Strategic Statement, Glen Eira Planning Scheme and the 1987 Planning and Environment Act objectives of planning for Victoria. Inadequate strategic justification was provided to support this inconsistency.
    • a recommendation from the National Trust
    • considerable community support for Heritage Protection to be applied to Frogmore (petition of approx. 1000 signatures, planning conference 300+ letters of support for protection vs. 2 against protection)
    • Council’s
      • Instigation (reportedly by Mayor Magee) of an Interim Protection Order for Frogmore in Jan, 2015
      • 2/2/2015 6 to 3 decision to proceed with Heritage Protection based on the January, 2015 Heritage Advisor’s Report (For Protection Crs. Sounness, Okotel, Lobo, Delahunty, Esakoff and Magee; Against Protection Crs. Pilling, Hyams and Lipshutz)
  • based on
    • reliance on an inappropriate process (the planning permit approval process) to determined Heritage Values vs. the appropriate Planning Scheme Amendment process
    • reliance on an outdated (2002) Municipal Wide Heritage Assessment that recognised Frogmore as significant but excluded it from Heritage Protection in part because in was not located in a heritage protection area.   This flawed 2002 application of  the “safety in numbers” concept to heritage determination overrode the January 2015 assessment (which in addition to many other factors), recommended protection due to it’s individual location (rarity) and took into account social and demographic changes that had occurred since 2002. “It’s a victim of it’s own rarity”
    • that the potential purchaser (Jewish Care) had acted in good faith and undertaken significant expenditure in identifying and negotiating the site for re-development as an Aged Care Facility. FYI – caveat emptor is not listed as either a planning or heritage consideration
    • an unsubstantiated determination of Net Community Benefit of 120 beds. With 120 beds equating Jewish Care’s assessment of site potential if Frogmore wasn’t retained.  Clearly, this net community benefit calculation ascribes a zero value to heritage.
    • the decision of Heritage Victoria not to award State Level Protection to Frogmore which was a decision based on an assessment at the broader State Level rather than smaller Municipal Level. Council’s use of the Heritage Victoria decision as a justification, ignores the fact that Heritage Protection, within Australia, provides for heritage recognition and protection at the Municipal Level. It also ignores the fact that Council’s commissioned 01/ 2015, Heritage Advisors Assessment was undertaken at the Municipal Level and recommends protection at that level

 “Frogmore is significant to the locality of Carnegie and Murrumbeena and City of Glen Eira and should be conserved as one of the cultural assets of the city   … Frogmore House should be included in the schedule to heritage over lay clause 43.01 by the Glen Eira Planning Scheme”.

  • a casting vote – in the absence of the Mayor (Magee) and declarations of conflicts of interest (arising since February, 2015) from the Deputy Mayor (Delahunty) and Cr. Esakoff, the immediate past Mayor Cr. Pilling took and chair and exercised his casting vote. (For Protection Crs. Sounness, Okotel, Lobo; Against Protection Crs. Pilling (2 votes), Hyams and Lipshutz)

CURRENT ISSUE

9/6/2015              Decision to abandon heritage protection

17/6/2015           Planning Permit Application for a 2 storey Aged Care Facility at 1 Wahgoo Road, Carnegie, lodged with Council for Council review.

21/7/2015            Frogmore House Demolished

13/9/2015            1 Wahgoo Road, Carnegie site aerial photo ex Nearmap

wahgoo spetember 2015

15/9/2015           Advertising period for Planning Permit Application commenced, ie. plans made available for residents review and possible objections.

Included in the permit documentation provided for residents review is a proposal for the removal of 88 trees – we’d appreciate readers assistance in finding them in the above 13/9/2015 aerial photograph.

To aid you below is a aerial picture of the site circa January, 2015.

Frogmore H&L

And a picture taken during the July 2015 demolition works

012 T

29/9/2015           Advertising period completed. Objections received to be considered by Council in near future.

NO MORE FROGMORE

RIP Frogmore T

We regret to inform readers that at last Tuesday’s (9/6/2015) Council Meeting, Councillor’s resolved to withdraw/abandon heritage protection for Frogmore via the planning scheme amendment process (ie. heritage overlay).

Thus, Frogmore’s future will now be inappropriately determined by a planning permit approval process which does not consider heritage unless that heritage has been previously recognised via a heritage overlay.

The Age – 11/6/2015

National Trust 10/6/2015

Historic Home to face the wrecking ball – 11/6/2015 – Magic1278 (linked added 16/6/2015).

Glen Eira Leader – articled added 16/6/2015.

Leader on Frogmore Decision T

GERA believes that the resolution to halt the amendment process

  • does not give appropriate consideration to the heritage retention values shown by the significant community support for the preservation of Frogmore.
  • does not recognise that the Planning Scheme Amendment process is the appropriate  heritage recognition process
  • has disregarded current expert heritage advice without sound reasons
  • has not provided adequate strategic justification for withdrawing/abandoning the amendments

AMENDMENT C136  and C137 BACKGROUND

These amendments were initiated by residents (ie. a petition comprising approximately 1,000 signatures) in December, 2014, and resulted in a Council decision to commission an Independent Local Heritage Assessment of Frogmore.  Council defined the Assessment’s terms of reference.

On 3/2/2015, based on the findings and recommendation of that Independent Local Heritage Assessment, Council initiated amendments C136 (Interim Protection) and C137 (Heritage Overlay, ie. permanent protection).

 “Frogmore is significant to the locality of Carnegie and Murrumbeena and City of Glen Eira and should be conserved as one of the cultural assets of the city.  …  Frogmore House should be included in the schedule to heritage over lay clause 43.01 by the Glen Eira Planning Scheme”.

 The above 2015 Frogmore Independent Heritage Assessment (a.k.a. Graeme Butler Report) recommendation was based on a detailed analysis of

  • Frogmore’s heritage merits (historic, architecture, rarity and associations) in its own right, and
  • in comparison with Glen Eira’s identified historic building stock

and measured the analysis results against the assessment criteria

  • applicable to Glen Eira’s 1996-2003 Municipal Heritage Survey and
  • Heritage Victoria’s current heritage criteria, assessed within the context of the Glen Eira municipality (5 of 8 criteria satisfied, only 1 is required to be met)

 The National Trust supports the findings and recommendation of the 2015 Frogmore Independent Local Heritage Assessment.

 On 9/6/2015, although nothing has occurred that would alter the 2015 Frogmore Local Heritage Assessment findings or recommendation, the resolution not to proceed to a hearing before an Independent Planning Panel was made, based on a casting vote.  In the absence of 3  Councillors which included the Mayor and Deputy Mayor (apologies from the Mayor and Deputy Mayor Delahunty and Cr. Esakoff declaring conflicts of interest which had arisen since their participation in the 3/2/2015 resolution to commence the protection process), the immediate past Mayor (Cr. Pilling) took the chair and the casting vote.   The voting was 4 to 3.

Voting for withdrawal/abandon – Crs. Hyams, Lipshutz and Pilling (2 votes)

Voting to continue the amendment process – Crs. Sounness, Okotel and Lobo.

 DISREGARDING ACCREDITED EXPERT ADVICE

  • The 2015 Frogmore Independent Heritage Advisor’s Local Assessment should supersede the 1996-2003 Glen Eira Municipal Heritage Survey, which excluded Frogmore from a local heritage overlay.   However, support for the withdrawal/abandoning of the Amendments C136 and C137, is reliant upon the 1996-2003 Heritage Survey.  A survey which contradicts the findings and recommendation of the 2015 Independent Heritage assessment.
  • The need to consider Frogmore in the context of the municipality (9/6/2015 Officer’s Report) does not justify abandoning the planning scheme amendments. Nor does it recognise that the detailed 2015 Frogmore Heritage Assessment was undertaken at the Local Level.
  • Asserting that the 2015 Frogmore Local Assessment recommended protection “because” of associations (refer Officers Report – 9/6/2015) “downplays” the 2015 Local Heritage Assessment’s recommendation that is based on a detailed assessment of Frogmore’s historic significance, architectural merit, rarity and associations.
  • Inappropriately referencing Heritage Victoria’s March, 2015 Assessment (which did not recommend State Level Protection), “blurs the line” between State and Local Assessments. When a State Assessment recommends State Level Protection, local level protection automatically follows. Conversely, the absence of State Level protection does not, and should not, impact recognition of significance at the Local Level.
  • The 1996-2003 decision not to include Frogmore in a heritage overlay was based on
    • Frogmore not being located in an “identified heritage area” – this is not a current heritage assessment criteria and arguably a stand-alone location enhances, rather than diminishes, heritage value.
    • Addition of extensions (1960’s – 1990’s) surrounding the building – Amendment C137 does not apply to these extensions which are described as being “superficial” in the 2015 Frogmore Local Assessment
    • Obscured street visibility (due to extensions) – not a heritage assessment criteria and able to be addressed during re-development.
    • Non original modifications – the 2015 Frogmore Local Assessment did not find these modifications significant.
  • Does not adequately consider the National Trust’s recommendation to preserve Frogmore via the applying a local heritage overlay.

STRATEGIC JUSTIFICATION

  • Given the 2015 Frogmore Independent Heritage Advisor’s Local Assessment findings and recommendation, Glen Eira Council’s decision not to proceed with local heritage protection for Frogmore is inconsistent with the

– purpose and objectives of the Glen Eira’s Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS – Clause 21.10) and

– Glen Eira’s Planning Scheme (GEPS – Clause 41.01 – Purpose) and

– objectives of planning for Victoria, as identified by the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

The supporters of these amendments (C136 and C137) agree with the objectives and purposes of these documents and have consistently argued that good planning should result in an outcome that would retain Frogmore for current and future residents without preventing redevelopment (Aged Care or other permitted use), albeit a “scaled back” development. The protection of heritage values is a valid planning consideration in planning decisions.

  • The site is a large site (8,000 sqm, of which approximately 1,000 sqm accommodates Frogmore House and its significant vegetation identified in the 2015 Frogmore Local Heritage Assessment) that presents a unique opportunity for a good planning outcome that caters for multiple community usages, ie. preservation of heritage and redevelopment as an Aged Care Facility that is consistent with and encouraged by the above documents.

Abandoning Amendment C137 will not put in place orderly planning controls that conserve and enhance buildings identified as significant while also providing for sympathetic redevelopment that balances the present and future interests and needs of Glen Eira’s residents.

  • The suggestion that planning issues (particularly those related to heritage issues on large lots) are more appropriately addressed during the planning permit approval process (Officer’s Reports 3/2/2015 and 9/6/2015) is inconsistent with the above documents and will result in ad hoc, piecemeal decisions. The planning permit process only considers planning controls that are in place – no heritage controls = no Frogmore.

Abandoning Amendment C137 will not provide an appropriate forum to consider Frogmore’s heritage.

  • It is extremely difficult to see “The Minister for Planning has, to date, not responded to Council’s request of 4 February 2015 to place interim heritage control over the land” as a justification to withdraw/abandon the amendments.

Additional comments

  • No plans for the proposed redevelopment have been lodged with Council and, contrary to Officer’s Reports (3/2/2015 & 9/6/2015), the site has yet to be acquired by the potential developer. The sales agreement is conditional upon obtaining planning approval.
  • Net Community Benefit (NCB) – refer 9/6/2015 Officer’s Report (Section 6 Public Notice – Objectors), is frequently mentioned yet rarely documented or quantified. Recent discussions determine its value as being 120 beds.
    • No detailed professional analysis substantiating this determination (that NCB = 120 beds) has been presented.  The potential developer’s optimal proposed development comprises a 120 bed facility and the loss of Frogmore. Despite the 2015 Frogmore Local Heritage Assessment, this NCB determination clearly assigns a zero value to heritage.
    • Neither the Officer’s Report (9/6/2015) or Councillor discussion refer to the proposed developer’s planning conference comment that while their analysis indicated that a 60 bed facility was viable and would enable Frogmore to be retained, the developer was not interested in a lesser development and would prefer to look for an alternative site
  • That the potential developer had acted in good faith, undertaken due diligence and incurred significant costs in identifying the property as suitable and plan preparation (Officer’s Report’s 3/2/2015 & 9/6/2015 and Councillor discussion). While this is a regrettable situation, it is however, not a strategic justification for abandoning the heritage protection process.
  • That by abandoning the heritage overlay process, the potential developer avoids lengthy delays in site redevelopment. This is not a strategic justificiation for abandoning the heritage protection process.

It sets a dangerous precedent if unsubstantiated Net Community Benefit, “good faith”, costs incurred by the developer and the avoidance of developmental delays are deemed to provide sufficient justification for abandoning the planning scheme amendments. The protection of heritage values is a valid planning consideration in planning decisions.

In conclusion,

  • we re-iterate our earlier comments that Glen Eira Council has not addressed key planning issues and disregarded accredited heritage advice. The end result being a decision to withdraw/abandon planning scheme amendments C136 and C137 that is without adequate strategic justification and denies all stakeholders access to the appropriate due planning scheme amendment process, and

– reviews the 2015 Local Heritage Assessment and the withdraw/abandon justifications

– decides an appropriate course of action ie. either deny Council’s application to withdraw or abandon Amendments C136 & C137 or use Ministerial Direction to ensure that an appropriate heritage recognition process is undertaken.

SAVE FROGMORE – HELP!!!!! (Part 4)

On behalf of the Save Frogmore campaigners, GERA is asking readers to assist in lobbying Councillors, prior to next Tuesday’s (9/6) meeting, to reject a recommendation to abandon Planning Scheme Amendment C137 which applies a Heritage Overlay (HO154) on Frogmore House (1 Wahgoo Street, Carnegie).

The recommendation to abandon Heritage Protection for Frogmore is found in the Officer’s Report  included as Item 9.6  in the Meeting Agenda and reads as follows:

 “Recommendation

                 That Council

  1. Abandons Planning Scheme Amendment C137 and advises the Minister for Planning, and
  2. Writes to the Minister for Planning withdrawing the request for interim heritage controls over the land (Amendment 136)”

The information presented to support abandoning the Heritage Overlay is highly questionable (and will be questioned in our next posting).  A vote accept the äbandonment will see Frogmore disappear forever in the “figurative blink of an eye“.   On the other hand, a vote to reject the recommendation to abandon the amendment will

  • acknowledge the key issue of heritage and it’s value to the community by
    • re-affirming the findings of the council commissioned Independent Heritage Advisor’s Assessment, which deemed Frogmore as meeting the threshold for inclusion in the local heritage overlay under Clause 21.10 of the Local Planning Policy Framework – a framework which Council has a responsibility to uphold.
    • allowing the planning approval process, as recommended by the Independent Heritage Advisor Assessment, and voted for by Council on 3/2/2015, to run its due course (and save Frogmore for at least as long as the planning approval process takes).
  • be accordance with
    • Council’s heritage policies and strategies of
      • Protecting places identified as having architectural, cultural or historical significance.
      • Ensuring sympathetic redevelopment and renovation of areas and places identified as having architectural, cultural or historic significance in the municipality.
    • the objectives of planning for Victoria (as identified in the Planning and Environment Act 1987) of
      • Conserving and enhancing those buildings, areas or other places which are of scientific, aesthetic, architectural or historical interest, or otherwise of special cultural value; and
      • Balancing the present and future interests of all Victorians.

Details of significance of Frogmore are available in GERA’s earlier postings

Save Frogmore, Save Frogmore – Part 2Save Frogmore – Part 3 – The Planning Conference

As previously mentioned our next posting will review and question the Officers Report and it’s recommendation, however, at this stage that is a secondary concern.  Right now our primary concern is “getting the word out” and encouraging readers to contact each Councillor, either by phone (leave a voice message if necessary) or email (to each Councillor individually – if the email is addressed to multiple Councillors only first Councillor will respond), prior to next Tuesday’s Council Meeting.   Please do not rely on others to do the lobbying – they are relying on you.

Councillor Contact detailsCouncillor Contact Details0001 – click to enlarge