This week, The Age reported that 9-11 Edward Street, Kew the site of one of Boroondara’s former grand home known as the “Forres”, is back on the market not long after the developer demolished it.
As we have said when the Minister for Planning announced the Reformed Residential Zones, the removal of the limit of two dwellings per block in our Neighbourhood Residential Zones (NRZ) will have a significant impact on potential development outcomes in those zones. Note that 79% of Boroondara’s residential land is NRZ.
What is unfolding at 9-11 Edward Street is exactly what we fear would happen in the NRZ. The Minister should be asked if the new zones would actually allow this to happen.
I am angry. I am angry because before the Minister’s change to the residential zones a maximum of two dwellings could have been constructed on this land.
Under the new residential zones there is no limit to the number of dwellings that can be constructed. Given the size of the land, we could be seeing up to 20 units on this site, and there is nothing that Council can do to stop it from happening.
What makes me angrier is the Minister’s assertion that his planning changes will not lead to increased development at the cost of beautiful homes and garden areas in our City.
In announcing the updated Plan Melbourne 2017-2050, the Minister clearly stated that the inner and middle ring suburbs need to provide more housing. To claim that multi-unit and apartment developments will not occur or are not inevitable as a result of the zone changes fails to recognise his own policy platform. If this were not his intended outcome then the question needs to be asked: Why reform the residential zones?
Unfortunately, when local councils and specifically the planning system are unjustly targeted to address a housing supply and affordability problem, we will see other places like “Forres” make way for multi-unit developments.