City of Boroondara Councillors last night unanimously agreed to seek further information about the state government’s proposal for the Markham Estate in Ashburton and to express deep concern about the decision to make the Minister the responsible planning authority for the development.

Council expressed further concern about the inadequate consultation process that has been adopted for the development.

New Solway ward Councillor, Garry Thompson, said the community was outraged over the state government’s proposal for the Markham Estate site in Ashburton.

“It’s such a shame that the merit of a project to provide much-needed social housing is compromised by a government which is unwilling to genuinely work with Council and the community,” he said.

“The government is treating the community with disdain and contempt.

“The decision by the state government to make this a ‘captain’s call’ by taking the planning controls away from Council and giving them to the Minister for planning is deplorable,” he said.

“There is absolutely no justification for the government to be pretending that the 252-unit proposal is of state significance.

“Places Victoria has not provided any opportunity for Council to have input into the plans prior to their release for public comment.

“The decision by Places Victoria and DHHS to demolish the existing buildings, do nothing on the site for 18 months and then to push through a 4 week ‘consultation’ just before Christmas with incomplete plans and an unwillingness to negotiate on the number of dwellings proposed is high-handed in the extreme.

“Council officers and I will attend the public meeting on Wednesday 16 November 2016 and will form a position when the plans are submitted to us by Places Victoria in December,” Cr Thompson said.

“This will occur at a public Urban Planning Committee meeting and we encourage all with an interest in Markham Estate in Ashburton to attend.”