The City of Boroondara has welcomed the vote in the Legislative Council last night revoking a planning scheme amendment which would have allowed a development of up to five-storeys in Markham Avenue, Ashburton.

The proposed development contained 163 private apartments to pay for a net increase of only six public housing apartments on the site.

“We are pleased by the decision of the Legislative Council to revoke Boroondara Planning Scheme Amendment C251, which rescinds the Minister for Planning’s approval of the development at Markham Estate,” said Cr Jim Parke, Mayor of Boroondara.

“This is a victory for the local community over a proposal that the government was attempting to bulldoze through, bypassing all conventional planning approval processes,” he said.

“The Government called this a public housing project. It was not. The site was previously used solely for public housing but the Minister’s amendment would have allowed up to 75 percent of the land to be sold to a private developer, with only the balance being used for a small amount of public housing,” he said.

“The Government would have you believe that an additional six public housing units included in a project that would comprise 163 private dwellings is an affordable housing project.

“It has never been described as such by the government previously.

“We look forward to the government advising what the cap on the sale price of these apartments will be to ensure they are truly affordable,” Cr Parke said.

“We are fully aware that the intent of this project is to maximise profit.

“We have consistently advocated for at least 50 percent of the housing to be public housing.”

“The permanent loss of this valuable, finite resource is untenable. It is regrettable that the Government chose not to listen to Council or the local community on this matter.

“The proposal provided an uplift of only 10 percent in public housing, making a mockery of the Government’s claim that it was intended to address the shortage of public housing in the state.”

The Legislative Council’s decision has prevented highly inappropriate development at Markham Estate, which was approved by the Minister for Planning without proper consultation and consideration of the community and Council’s concerns.

Solway ward Councillor, Garry Thompson, said the local community looked forward to being consulted on any further development proposal.

“Our community has a right to be heard and we are pleased that this successful motion will allow that to occur,” he said.

“We now call on Development Victoria to lodge an application directly to Council. We also encourage them to amend the plans to address our concerns before lodging the application,” he said.

“We commend the groundswell of community action, and in particular the tireless efforts of the Ashburton Residents’ Action Group, that has forced a fairer planning process to be followed in the redevelopment of public housing in our municipality,” Cr Thompson said.

“We appreciate the work of David Davis in initiating the motion in the Legislative Council and express our appreciation to all those who supported it,’ Cr Parke said.

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