Media Releases 2011

Council disappointed by Minister seizing planning control of important local sites

21 July 2011

Atherton Gardens The local community was unlikely to have much of a say in the development of important sites in Yarra after the Minister for Planning seized planning control of them, Yarra Council said today.

Yarra Mayor Alison Clarke said the Council was shocked and disappointed that the Minister for Planning had taken planning control of the Fitzroy and Richmond Housing Estates and other local sites owned by the Office of Housing.

Cr Clarke said the Minister would now be responsible for preparing and approving master plans for the sites, and for assessing detailed planning permit applications for them.

She said the Council was keen to see more high-quality public housing built in Yarra, so that existing tenants could have a better quality of life and people on waiting lists could get a home.

“However, we don’t know what the Minister’s intentions are for these sites, and we have reason to worry given his recent support for towers elsewhere in Melbourne,” Cr Clarke said.

She said while the Minister may ask Council for its views on any development proposals, there would be no requirement for him to ask for community feedback.

“The local community has a right to have a say on matters such as the height of any new buildings and the need for enough open space to be provided within any development,” Cr Clarke said.

“Sure, the Minister may get a quicker outcome by pushing through his plans, but that is likely to come at the expense of local community members having a say,” she said.

Cr Clarke said the Council had not been consulted about the Minister’s intention to take control of the sites, having only been informed yesterday that the change would be introduced today through the publication in the Government Gazette of an Amendment to the Yarra Planning Scheme.

She said the Minister’s actions contradicted the planning platform which the Coalition took to the last election, which stated: “The Liberal Nationals Coalition reaffirms that communities, via their local council, should maintain their role as a decision-maker over planning decisions within their municipality".

The sites which the Minister now controls the planning future of are:

  • The Atherton Gardens Estate, which includes land generally bounded by Gertrude, Napier, Condell and Brunswick Streets, Fitzroy
  • The Napier Street site, which includes land at 100 to 110 Napier Street, and 66 and 68 Little George Street, Fitzroy
  • The Richmond Public Housing Estate, which includes land generally bounded by Highett Street, Belgium Avenue, Vere Street, Risley Street, Church Street, Anderson Court and Lennox Street, Richmond
  • Land in Griffiths Street, Richmond (a block of land on the corner of Griffiths and Highett streets, which is owned by the Office of Housing)

Works to redevelop some parts of the Atherton Gardens Estate and the Richmond Housing Estate are getting underway, after the redevelopments were approved by the previous State Government last year.

More information about the Amendment made to the Yarra Planning Scheme by the Minister is available on this Department of Planning and Community Development webpage.

For media enquiries about this issue, please contact:
Ainslie Gowan
Coordinator - Communications
9205 5177 / 0400 933 700 



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