More than 150 angry Ashburton residents attended a public meeting organised by the Ashburton Residents Action group last night to hear about a massive residential development proposed by the Victorian Government in Markham Avenue, Ashburton.

Residents expressed dismay at the Victorian Government’s plan to redevelop the land with 190 private units in buildings up to seven storeys high, while only providing a small increase in the number of public housing units from 56 units to 62 units.

Solway ward Councillor, Garry Thompson, said residents are outraged that they have been denied the objections and appeal rights that would normally apply on a standard planning application.

“The Minister for Planning has decided to make himself the decision maker, bypassing the City of Boroondara. He is steam rolling the project without consultation.

“Both Council and the community want more public housing, but the proposed redevelopment falls short of delivering the right balance and mix of private and public housing. Public housing has been short-changed with an excessive number of private units.

“Also, the public housing has been given a poorer quality design and is a return to the segregated housing model of the past,” Cr Thompson said. Council also shares residents’ concerns about the overall impact of such large scale development of up to seven storeys in height in an area where the tallest buildings are currently two storey dwellings.

“The impact on the amenity of the surrounding residential areas, open space and established trees and vegetation is unacceptable. The proposal completely disregards Council’s adopted Neighbourhood Character Policy.”

“The masterplan in its current form will not deliver a high quality development. It will negatively impact the public realm and the existing infrastructure and sadly it will barely help address the shortage of public housing.

“The information provided to Council is completely deficient resulting in a 32-page request to the Victorian Government for further information. Council officers will prepare a report of their assessment and present it to Council in December.”

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