City of Boroondara has formally rejected an Infrastructure Victoria recommendation that local council planning schemes be changed to further increase densities in established areas.
Infrastructure Victoria called for submissions in October on its draft 30-year Infrastructure Strategy which included the recommendation for local government planning schemes to be amended over the next five years, increasing densities to make better use of existing infrastructure.
The draft strategy proposes that densification should initially focus on Melbourne’s eastern and southern suburbs, including suburbs within and abutting Boroondara.
Cr Phillip Healey, Mayor of Boroondara, said Council did not support any change to the Boroondara Planning Scheme to further increase densities. “Boroondara is already experiencing significant residential development and building activity,” he said.
“According to Victorian Building Authority statistics, at $1.2 billion, Boroondara had the second highest value of total building approvals in Victoria behind the City of Melbourne in 2015.
“We are clearly meeting and exceeding targets within our current planning scheme, while managing population growth and increased demand in a responsible way. An independent assessment of Boroondara’s housing capacity has concluded that current planning controls already provide for significantly more new dwellings than the expected demand.
“Increased densification beyond what’s already permitted in our planning scheme is not compatible with adequate open space and green infrastructure for community enjoyment. Our scheme carefully balances conservation of valued neighbourhood character and the natural process of change in a suburban location.”
Cr Healey said increases in density would also impose further pressures on drainage systems and community infrastructure including maternal and child health centres, primary schools and indoor recreational opportunities.
“Infrastructure Victoria needs to provide the analysis which demonstrates that established areas have the capacity to accommodate this additional demand,” he said.
In its submission, Council also expressed disappointment that the draft strategy specifically recommended against a new heavy rail line to Doncaster. Council recommends that the Doncaster rail project and a number of tram route improvements be included in the strategy.
“While increased bus services along the Eastern Freeway have improved transport, these are considered marginal when compared with the potential offerings of heavy rail,” Cr Healey said.
City of Boroondara also considers that the consultation timeframe for the draft strategy was unreasonable.
The draft was released on 4 October, with submissions due on 31 October and no possible extensions.
“Given the amount of material to consider, and the fact the consultation period coincided with local government election period, the timeframe was unacceptable,” Cr Healey said.
However Council is pleased the option to transfer planning decision-making and infrastructure coordination from relevant local government authorities to a central authority has not been recommended in the draft strategy. A previous submission by Council highlighted its opposition to this option.
“The community tells us that they consider local governments are best placed to make planning decisions which impact them,” Cr Healey said.
For more information email Tricia Tjondropuro, Communications Business Partner. Phone: 9278 4423