The City Council’s failure to plan for Melbourne

It is often said that the City Council should be given back its planning powers? But should it?  The Council should not be judge jury and legislator.

The Council should be the administrator and have planning authority to determine the strategic plans for a city but it should not the the decider or interpreter of the planning scheme.  May councils do not have the skill or professionalism to determine what is good and what is bad.  Any limitation and restrictions should be spelt out in the planning scheme. A scheme which the City Council should have limited control over.

The Council should be an advocate on a planning decision but not the judge. To this extent the idea of decisions being made by professional planning authorities is a good one.  But the authority MUST consider and interpret the planning scheme in force correctly.  It the scheme is failing to address issues of broad community concern then it should be amended and the deciding body must reflect on those controls.

All too often we see the City Council itself ignore their won rules and guidelines like the time when Steven Mayne, Deputy Chair for the Planning portfolio ties to circumvent and ignore height limits that have been in force in the city for decades.  Planning on the run at a whim must be avoided at all costs

More often than not we also see the City Council pt up a pretense to fight an application when in fact they do not oppose it but do so for a variety of reasons one being community political pressure.

Ron Adams and Geoff Lawler are classic examples of administrators that ignore the planning scheme when it suits them.  The City Council has failed to incorporate policies designed it protect Melbourne Victorian Verandahs with Rob Adams actively seeking to allow balconies projecting over the foot path destroying the historic street scrapes.  his is an area where the City Council has absolute control as the building projects over public space,

Concerned at the loss of heritage and the impact it has on the Victorian Street Scape the City of Melbourne commissioned, be it reluctantly a document on Lygon Street verandahs. A policy that has been forgotten and not included in the latest planning review.

Anther example of slight of hand is the failure of the City Council, Geoff Lawler in particular to act to protect the amenity in Domain Rd. South Yarra.  The changes in State planning  that have been forced on the City Council means that the Domain Road precinct has now been classified as a Commercial One Zone (C1Z)  “Upgraded: from a Business one zone (B1Z).  The new C1Z planning zones come with an as of right use for licensed premises where the former planning

The Domain Rd precinct was designed to facilitate the needs to the adjoining residential precinct.but over the years the amenity of this precinct has been allowed to deteriorate, with the Council doing noting to protect its use and development.   Under the old planning scheme licensed premises needed a planning permit.  Under the new C1Z scheme retail premises no longer need a planning permit ad has a as of right use.  Licensed premises falls under the definition of retail premises and such such they too do not need a planning permit.  Night clubs tavern and the like where restricted before the amendment now they can be established without the need to even apply for a planning permit

Clem Newton Brown has been called on to act and to have licensed premises removed from the definition of retail premises. Something that Clem has failed to act on,  His inability to represent the local residents is an issue that is of considerable concern and one that has not gone unnoticed.  Residents in South Yarra have indicated they will campaign against him should he not address this issue

But it is not just Clem’s issue, The City of Melbourne also has responsibility for this issue and they have done nothing. Geoff :Lawler was oblivious of the changes which effect not only South Yarra but North Melbourne, Carlton, East Melbourne and a host of other prec9incts that now fall under the provision of the new planning zones.

The City Council has placed in the too hard basket planning South of the Yarra, .South Bank has no provision for servicing residential amenity and South Yarra is in decline. It is just not of any interest to the City Planners who are looking to be engaged in newer more challenging developments such as Docklands and the Fisherman’s bend precincts.  South Yarra dd not even get a mention in the City Council’s five year plan and budget.

I would not hold my breath thinking that the ALP will address these issues either.  They have been  absent form the community debate for decades and have done nothing.  

Underutilised, Poor Urban Design and Planning South of the Yarra

The Age has published two articles by Jason Dowling and Clay Lucas that highlight problems with City of Melbourne planning and urban design.  Issues that the the City has failed to tackle.

Ask any resident in South bank or South Yarra and they will tell you that the lack of basic amenity and infrastructure is the main drawback of inner city living south of the Yarra 

There is no central focus for daily shopping in South Bank   The City Council has allowed the Domain Road precinct to deteriorate to the point where it no longer fulfills its intended use. 

Most notably is the lack of quality delicatessens or small supermarkets.   There are numerous seven elevens and a few small convenience stores that provide milk and basics.  Residents of South Bank and South Yarra are forced to either travel to South Melbourne or Prahran to buy daily produce South Bank lacks a residential amenity commercial precinct or square.  What business there are cater for the office workers not residents. This lack of amenity and planning has an impost and cost on inner city living.

The decline in Domain Road and other inner city residential commercial precincts are expected to further deteriorate as a result of inactivity and failure to act in behalf of the City Council. The changes to planning schemes introduced by the Minister in July 2013 will only exacerbate the decline further .  The shift from Business 1 zones to Commercial 1 zones will remove controls over planning and development designed to inner city residential development.

It comes as no surprise that the article in the Age reports that up to 8% of houses surveyed are empty.

The CIty Council has wiped its hands freom responsibility to plan or develop South of the Yarra.  the recent budget and 4 year plan has no projects or expenditure spent on South of the Yarra.  The Council Urban design team and planners have abandond this poart of teh city for the new precincts and new projects. Projects such as Docklands and Gishermans Bend that are also doomed to fail in the same way as South bank has.  As long as property hold and increase their value the Council will ontinue ti hide in the shadow of inactivity and complacently and Inner City remain captive to the car as a node of transport.  Eff9rts by the City Council to lock down the city by exempting developers from car p0arking requirements without a fee will not help.   Money collected from a car0-parking levy could and should be used to encourage more development of amenity and supporting residential use.

Rob Adams and Geoff Lawler and the City Urban Design and Planning departments turning a blind eye and ignoring the problems will not make it any better.  Part of the problem is the organisational disconnect between the two departments.

Kensington Times: Reply to Residents’ Association Survey

Some Kensington Issues:
We seek your views on what action do you commit yourself to campaign activelyaround.
What do you see as the key issue for residents in the seat of Melbourne generally and Kensington in particular. 
Specific local issues:
Reintroduction of a truck ban in Kensington Rd, Epsom Rd and Macaulay Rd.
Over the last 20 years, there have been various levels of regulation over the use of these roads by heavy vehicles.  A 24/7 ban on heavy vehicles was removed by the Kennett government.  It was replace with a limited access ban by the current government (no trucks between 7PM and 7AM).

It is not the role of Councillors to hold the answers or be responsible to every issue but to give voice and a mechanism for community issues to be properly aired and considered on their merits.  Each precinct does not exist in isolation.  It my belief that Council needs to build a proper process of expert committees that address specific issues.  These committees would have community representatives and persons who are experts in their field on them.  There should be a Transport committee that can oversee council administration and policy development on all forms of transport, Public transport, roads and bicycle network development and review State governmnet polciy as it effects the City.  

Of course issues and concerns over heavy vehicle movements need to be address to protect residential amenity.  Better access to road infrastructure, better planning and alternative need to be properly considered to meet these needs

Mandatory Height overlays

There is strong support for the concept of mandatory building height overlays (in other than declared activity zones).  The ongoing MSS process has also generated both significant interest and concern for residents
What, in your view, would constitute appropriate development in Kensington?
Again there is no one formula that can be applied to address and specific area.  Heritage and development planning controls are important to protect areas of significance.  Council’s role is to oversee the process of community consultation and policy development which should be left to the professional staff and expert in their field to determine.  Residents and stakeholders should have direct input into the committee process.  Any decisions that come from the committees would be subject to final approval by the elected Council were there is no consensus or agreement.    
South Kensington Station and JJ Holland Park
The proposed Metro One link will have a portal in the proximity of JJ Holland Park (The only major open space recreational area in Kensington).  Residents are overwhelmingly opposed to any of the park being used for the portal. 
What is your view on access to or the usage of Holland Park for major infrastructure projects?
Open public space should not be seen as a Publicly Aquiered Resources Kits (PARK) for private or public development. Parks and open public space are sacrosanct and any proposal to impact on their surrounds MUST meet with community approval.
These are issues that need to discussed and resolved by an effective and functioning committee structure ensuring that stakeholders and members of the community are given a voice.  These issues do not just effect Kensington and many of the same issues are confronting all communities across Melbourne.  We have to restore community representation and participation in local democracy.  This is best achieved under the current system through the Council committee structure.  For too long Councillors have been overloaded and expected to sit on all committees and decide on every issue an d in the process they are swamped by the work load. The administration pray on this and use it to direct Council away from the issues that really matter. By divesting a degree of responsibility to the committees Councillors can hopefully focus more of their attention on oversight and further consultation ensuring that the system is functioning and the administration are held to account for their actions and policy development.  Councillors should not sit on expert committees.  They can not be judge and jury of their own proposals.
Childcare Shortage
There is an ongoing shortage of childcare in Kensington.  What would you do to facilitate additional childcare places in and around Kensington?
Again these are issues that need to be address in detail by expert committees responsible for overseeing the development of Council policy and service delivery.  The role of the committee is to facilitate community discussion and planning.  Each local precinct should be entitled to representation and a voice. Members of community organisations wishing to participate in a particular field of expertise can and should be recruited to assist in this role
Council services
What additional services do you think that council should provide to residents?
These are decisions that need to be discussed and determined in consultation with all stakeholders and community representatives. The role of the Council is to facilitate consultation and community participation to try and meet their expectations and needs. It is pointless to just be reactionary to any proposal.  Residents and Businesses need to put forward proposals and be prepared to advocate for them or against them based on its merits. As a Councillor I would not be seeking to impose my views over the process but seek to listen and support the outcomes of the stakeholder consultation assessment process.  

Kensington Times: Reply to Residents’ Association Survey

Some Kensington Issues:
We seek your views on what action do you commit yourself to campaign activelyaround.
What do you see as the key issue for residents in the seat of Melbourne generally and Kensington in particular. 
Specific local issues:
Reintroduction of a truck ban in Kensington Rd, Epsom Rd and Macaulay Rd.
Over the last 20 years, there have been various levels of regulation over the use of these roads by heavy vehicles.  A 24/7 ban on heavy vehicles was removed by the Kennett government.  It was replace with a limited access ban by the current government (no trucks between 7PM and 7AM).

It is not the role of Councillors to hold the answers or be responsible to every issue but to give voice and a mechanism for community issues to be properly aired and considered on their merits.  Each precinct does not exist in isolation.  It my belief that Council needs to build a proper process of expert committees that address specific issues.  These committees would have community representatives and persons who are experts in their field on them.  There should be a Transport committee that can oversee council administration and policy development on all forms of transport, Public transport, roads and bicycle network development and review State governmnet polciy as it effects the City.  

Of course issues and concerns over heavy vehicle movements need to be address to protect residential amenity.  Better access to road infrastructure, better planning and alternative need to be properly considered to meet these needs

Mandatory Height overlays

There is strong support for the concept of mandatory building height overlays (in other than declared activity zones).  The ongoing MSS process has also generated both significant interest and concern for residents
What, in your view, would constitute appropriate development in Kensington?
Again there is no one formula that can be applied to address and specific area.  Heritage and development planning controls are important to protect areas of significance.  Council’s role is to oversee the process of community consultation and policy development which should be left to the professional staff and expert in their field to determine.  Residents and stakeholders should have direct input into the committee process.  Any decisions that come from the committees would be subject to final approval by the elected Council were there is no consensus or agreement.    
South Kensington Station and JJ Holland Park
The proposed Metro One link will have a portal in the proximity of JJ Holland Park (The only major open space recreational area in Kensington).  Residents are overwhelmingly opposed to any of the park being used for the portal. 
What is your view on access to or the usage of Holland Park for major infrastructure projects?
Open public space should not be seen as a Publicly Aquiered Resources Kits (PARK) for private or public development. Parks and open public space are sacrosanct and any proposal to impact on their surrounds MUST meet with community approval.
These are issues that need to discussed and resolved by an effective and functioning committee structure ensuring that stakeholders and members of the community are given a voice.  These issues do not just effect Kensington and many of the same issues are confronting all communities across Melbourne.  We have to restore community representation and participation in local democracy.  This is best achieved under the current system through the Council committee structure.  For too long Councillors have been overloaded and expected to sit on all committees and decide on every issue an d in the process they are swamped by the work load. The administration pray on this and use it to direct Council away from the issues that really matter. By divesting a degree of responsibility to the committees Councillors can hopefully focus more of their attention on oversight and further consultation ensuring that the system is functioning and the administration are held to account for their actions and policy development.  Councillors should not sit on expert committees.  They can not be judge and jury of their own proposals.
Childcare Shortage
There is an ongoing shortage of childcare in Kensington.  What would you do to facilitate additional childcare places in and around Kensington?
Again these are issues that need to be address in detail by expert committees responsible for overseeing the development of Council policy and service delivery.  The role of the committee is to facilitate community discussion and planning.  Each local precinct should be entitled to representation and a voice. Members of community organisations wishing to participate in a particular field of expertise can and should be recruited to assist in this role
Council services
What additional services do you think that council should provide to residents?
These are decisions that need to be discussed and determined in consultation with all stakeholders and community representatives. The role of the Council is to facilitate consultation and community participation to try and meet their expectations and needs. It is pointless to just be reactionary to any proposal.  Residents and Businesses need to put forward proposals and be prepared to advocate for them or against them based on its merits. As a Councillor I would not be seeking to impose my views over the process but seek to listen and support the outcomes of the stakeholder consultation assessment process.  

Kensington Times: Reply to Residents’ Association Survey

Some Kensington Issues:
We seek your views on what action do you commit yourself to campaign activelyaround.
What do you see as the key issue for residents in the seat of Melbourne generally and Kensington in particular. 
Specific local issues:
Reintroduction of a truck ban in Kensington Rd, Epsom Rd and Macaulay Rd.
Over the last 20 years, there have been various levels of regulation over the use of these roads by heavy vehicles.  A 24/7 ban on heavy vehicles was removed by the Kennett government.  It was replace with a limited access ban by the current government (no trucks between 7PM and 7AM).

It is not the role of Councillors to hold the answers or be responsible to every issue but to give voice and a mechanism for community issues to be properly aired and considered on their merits.  Each precinct does not exist in isolation.  It my belief that Council needs to build a proper process of expert committees that address specific issues.  These committees would have community representatives and persons who are experts in their field on them.  There should be a Transport committee that can oversee council administration and policy development on all forms of transport, Public transport, roads and bicycle network development and review State governmnet polciy as it effects the City.  

Of course issues and concerns over heavy vehicle movements need to be address to protect residential amenity.  Better access to road infrastructure, better planning and alternative need to be properly considered to meet these needs

Mandatory Height overlays

There is strong support for the concept of mandatory building height overlays (in other than declared activity zones).  The ongoing MSS process has also generated both significant interest and concern for residents
What, in your view, would constitute appropriate development in Kensington?
Again there is no one formula that can be applied to address and specific area.  Heritage and development planning controls are important to protect areas of significance.  Council’s role is to oversee the process of community consultation and policy development which should be left to the professional staff and expert in their field to determine.  Residents and stakeholders should have direct input into the committee process.  Any decisions that come from the committees would be subject to final approval by the elected Council were there is no consensus or agreement.    
South Kensington Station and JJ Holland Park
The proposed Metro One link will have a portal in the proximity of JJ Holland Park (The only major open space recreational area in Kensington).  Residents are overwhelmingly opposed to any of the park being used for the portal. 
What is your view on access to or the usage of Holland Park for major infrastructure projects?
Open public space should not be seen as a Publicly Aquiered Resources Kits (PARK) for private or public development. Parks and open public space are sacrosanct and any proposal to impact on their surrounds MUST meet with community approval.
These are issues that need to discussed and resolved by an effective and functioning committee structure ensuring that stakeholders and members of the community are given a voice.  These issues do not just effect Kensington and many of the same issues are confronting all communities across Melbourne.  We have to restore community representation and participation in local democracy.  This is best achieved under the current system through the Council committee structure.  For too long Councillors have been overloaded and expected to sit on all committees and decide on every issue an d in the process they are swamped by the work load. The administration pray on this and use it to direct Council away from the issues that really matter. By divesting a degree of responsibility to the committees Councillors can hopefully focus more of their attention on oversight and further consultation ensuring that the system is functioning and the administration are held to account for their actions and policy development.  Councillors should not sit on expert committees.  They can not be judge and jury of their own proposals.
Childcare Shortage
There is an ongoing shortage of childcare in Kensington.  What would you do to facilitate additional childcare places in and around Kensington?
Again these are issues that need to be address in detail by expert committees responsible for overseeing the development of Council policy and service delivery.  The role of the committee is to facilitate community discussion and planning.  Each local precinct should be entitled to representation and a voice. Members of community organisations wishing to participate in a particular field of expertise can and should be recruited to assist in this role
Council services
What additional services do you think that council should provide to residents?
These are decisions that need to be discussed and determined in consultation with all stakeholders and community representatives. The role of the Council is to facilitate consultation and community participation to try and meet their expectations and needs. It is pointless to just be reactionary to any proposal.  Residents and Businesses need to put forward proposals and be prepared to advocate for them or against them based on its merits. As a Councillor I would not be seeking to impose my views over the process but seek to listen and support the outcomes of the stakeholder consultation assessment process.  

South of the Yarra ignored by City Council and media

Tyranny  of the Majority

 Independent Candidate and South Yarra Resident, Anthony van der Craats, has expressed concern that residents South of the Yarra are being ignored and unrepresented.  Southbank, St Kilda Road and South Yarra residents are located in part of the electorate that is poorly serviced by the City Council and stuck between two to three State and Federal electorates. More often than not we are ignored by all three teirs of government.

 Mr van der Craats who moved from North of the Yarra to the Southern side said part of the problem is that there is no local newspaper that covers the whole of the city and as such we are cut out of the debate and community discussion which does not include residents on the South side of the City

With most city councillors and candidates seeking election to the Melbourne City Council not living in the municipality there is little wonder why residents on the South side are ignored.

 There is little infrastructure development and and proper planning. South Yarra, Domain Road in particular is suffering as a result. The City of Melbourne Council’s planning system as failed the local community.

 Instead of development that is needed we are facing increasing pressure and proposals for the establishment of bars and night clubs in what is primarily a residential precinct. “The last thing we need is another bar or night club in Domain Road”.

We have lost our local butcher and local post office and lack good quaility amenities and shops. The one thing we need the most is a quaility deli and produce store all we have left is a small fruit shop and a Seven Eleven. A quality local delecatesian that can provide good cheeses, meat and produce is much needed. Instead of food we get bars and night clubs and with it the problems associated with them. Enough is enough.

South of the Yarra ignored by City Council and media

Tyranny  of the Majority

 Independent Candidate and South Yarra Resident, Anthony van der Craats, has expressed concern that residents South of the Yarra are being ignored and unrepresented.  Southbank, St Kilda Road and South Yarra residents are located in part of the electorate that is poorly serviced by the City Council and stuck between two to three State and Federal electorates. More often than not we are ignored by all three teirs of government.

 Mr van der Craats who moved from North of the Yarra to the Southern side said part of the problem is that there is no local newspaper that covers the whole of the city and as such we are cut out of the debate and community discussion which does not include residents on the South side of the City

With most city councillors and candidates seeking election to the Melbourne City Council not living in the municipality there is little wonder why residents on the South side are ignored.

 There is little infrastructure development and and proper planning. South Yarra, Domain Road in particular is suffering as a result. The City of Melbourne Council’s planning system as failed the local community.

 Instead of development that is needed we are facing increasing pressure and proposals for the establishment of bars and night clubs in what is primarily a residential precinct. “The last thing we need is another bar or night club in Domain Road”.

We have lost our local butcher and local post office and lack good quaility amenities and shops. The one thing we need the most is a quaility deli and produce store all we have left is a small fruit shop and a Seven Eleven. A quality local delecatesian that can provide good cheeses, meat and produce is much needed. Instead of food we get bars and night clubs and with it the problems associated with them. Enough is enough.

South of the Yarra ignored by City Council and media

Tyranny  of the Majority

 Independent Candidate and South Yarra Resident, Anthony van der Craats, has expressed concern that residents South of the Yarra are being ignored and unrepresented.  Southbank, St Kilda Road and South Yarra residents are located in part of the electorate that is poorly serviced by the City Council and stuck between two to three State and Federal electorates. More often than not we are ignored by all three teirs of government.

 Mr van der Craats who moved from North of the Yarra to the Southern side said part of the problem is that there is no local newspaper that covers the whole of the city and as such we are cut out of the debate and community discussion which does not include residents on the South side of the City

With most city councillors and candidates seeking election to the Melbourne City Council not living in the municipality there is little wonder why residents on the South side are ignored.

 There is little infrastructure development and and proper planning. South Yarra, Domain Road in particular is suffering as a result. The City of Melbourne Council’s planning system as failed the local community.

 Instead of development that is needed we are facing increasing pressure and proposals for the establishment of bars and night clubs in what is primarily a residential precinct. “The last thing we need is another bar or night club in Domain Road”.

We have lost our local butcher and local post office and lack good quaility amenities and shops. The one thing we need the most is a quaility deli and produce store all we have left is a small fruit shop and a Seven Eleven. A quality local delecatesian that can provide good cheeses, meat and produce is much needed. Instead of food we get bars and night clubs and with it the problems associated with them. Enough is enough.