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The Minister for Planning has approved the Kew Junction and Glenferrie Structure Plans but rejected Council’s request for mandatory height controls for the Kew Junction and Glenferrie activity centres.

Councillor Phillip Healey, Mayor of Boroondara, said that the Minister appears to be contradicting himself when making decisions about heights in activity centres across metropolitan Melbourne.

“Only a few weeks ago, the Minister approved mandatory height controls for the Bentleigh and Carnegie Activity Centres in the City of Glen Eira, which he said ‘limit inappropriate development’ and ‘ensure that new development respects the amenity and heritage character of the area’.

“Further, in a recent decision to approve a 30-storey building in Moonee Ponds, the Minister said that ‘discretionary limits are flimsy controls that give developers licence to build beyond what the community expects’.

“Yet, he applied discretionary controls to Kew and Glenferrie when mandatory controls were everyone’s preferred option,” Cr Healey said.

Councillor Steve Hurd, Glenferrie Ward Councillor, said that the Minister’s decision to apply discretionary provisions instead of a mandatory cap to building height in the centres means there is less certainty for the community, Council and the development sector.

“After almost two years waiting for the Minister to make a decision, we are disappointed by the outcome.

“The Minister’s unwillingness to apply mandatory height controls, despite the sensitive residential interfaces in the Kew Junction and Glenferrie activity centres, will lead to a more contested and lengthy development approval process.

“Council conducted extensive studies and consultations to prepare the structure plans. The planning controls we proposed for the centres through the use of mandatory maximum height controls did not compromise the amenity of the centres or the surrounding residential areas. At the same time, development opportunities were identified in appropriate locations to ensure ongoing investment within the centres,” Cr Hurd said.

“In light of the Minister’s recent decisions in Bentleigh, Carnegie and Moonee Ponds, Council will request the Minister reconsider the conditions of his approval of the Kew Junction and Glenferrie Structure Plans to reinstate mandatory height controls to both centres prior to the amendment being published in the Government Gazette,” Cr Healey said.

“Council hopes the Minister will actually deal with the issue on its merits rather than seeking to deflect by attacking Council for representing our community’s interest, which seems to be his usual style of defence when being held to account.”

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