The below information are examples of residents' concerns with the initial draft plan. This is not an exhaustive list.
1. Building Heights, Views and Streetscape
The plan for 4, 5, 6 & 8 storey towers will block view of the Dandenong Ranges, the valleys and hills to the south and create overshadowing of residential houses. The view from the Darebin rise to Kew, to Xavier, churches at Glenferrie Intersection and Willsmere, or the impressive views from the Ivanhoe Hotel dining room could be compromised buildings up to 8 storeys.The loss of natural light and the dwarfing of residential house by these buildings and towers will severely impact the character of the suburb. Once these plans are in place and the towers are built the suburbs will change forever.
3 storey buildings dwarf residential houses and 4 storeys and above will dominate the skyline and destroy the character of the suburb.
We request that Council rethink its strategy of 3, 4, 5, 6 & 8 storey buildings in and bordering residential areas.
2. Inconsistency of Maps
The draft plan has approximately 10 maps, a number which contradict each other which is confusing to residents. As an example:
• The map on page 18 has 4 storey buildings on the east side of Heidelberg Rd (Fairy Hills) yet the map on page 51 has the height at 3 storeys
• The map on page 18 has 5 storey buildings on the west side of Heidelberg Rd (Darebin Station) yet the map on page 51 has the height at 6 storeys
Secondly, the maps are a little misleading as they do not show the maximum heights of buildings in some areas. They do not give the full picture to residents of all locations.
We ask that in the 2nd draft of the plan that an emphasis is put on getting the maps accurate, consistent and containing all relevant information. One full map which includes all maximum heights for the entire area would provide residents which an overall picture of how the planning landscape could change.
3. High Density Housing
Page 57 of the draft Plan has the Council advocating higher density housing throughout the Residential Precinct in the Ivanhoe Activity Centre. This map includes numerous residential streets throughout the activity centre yet there is no definition of what High Density housing means. This may mean 3 storeys but perhaps it is higher. It has been hard to find a definition. When trawling the Council websites the below definitions were found which are ambiguous and contradictory. Different definitions below:
‘Medium Density’ The Council’s website states that the development of a parcel of land for more than one house and usually no more than 2 or 3 stories high is regarded as medium density housing. These developments are typically known as town houses or units.
Further definition on medium and high density housing is included on the Council website:
(a) ‘Medium density’ includes all semi-detached, row, terrace, townhouses and villa units, plus flats and apartments in blocks of 1 or 2 storeys, and flats attached to houses.
(b) ‘High density’ includes flats and apartments in 3 storey and larger blocks.
We request that the 2nd draft plan includes a strict definition of what higher density housing means and this is clearly shown on each map.
4. The Boundary of the Activity Centre
The boundary of the Activity Centre is a little perplexing. It travels south down Heidelberg Rd about 1km from the shops, west along Livingstone St about 1km from the shops and east down Lower Heidelberg Rd to the cutting. However other areas close to the shopping precinct such as the Aquatic Centre has been excluded.
In the 2nd draft of the plan please explain the rationale of the Activity Centre boundaries.
Ivanhoe is somewhat pushed up against the freeway and Yarra River to the south-east which means there are only a few ways to get in to, through and out of the suburb. Heidelberg Rd is the only road to and from the City. By 7.15am weekdays this road becomes a carpark. Waterdale Rd and Livingstone St are narrow roads. Upper Heidelberg Rd is at a standstill in the afternoon peak period. Parking has become an issue around train stations, schools and the shopping precinct. The current plan has no detail on how road transport would be improved to cope with the added traffic. Not everyone will be able to walk or ride a bike.
In the 2nd draft of the plan please include Vic Roads plans for the major arterials into the suburb, in particular Heidelberg Rd.
6. Banyule's Neighbourhood Character Policy
From a neighbourhood character perspective all areas within Ivanhoe are classified as "Garden Suburban." The general characteristics of this neighbourhood character type are; "spacious, leafy character in generally formal street settings, with space around and between dwellings, a relatively wide and open street space, and garden style vegetation, often mature and exotic, in both the private and public domain, creating an attractive, tree-dominated landscape setting in some streets."
Any future developments or improvements where ever possible should be in keeping with this character type.
7. Stress on Schools and Other Services
Ivanhoe Primary School already struggles to cope with parking for parents, staff and residents. It is at capacity with over 500 students. Mary Immaculate Primary is closed in on all sides by narrow suburban streets and has no room to expand. It only has one class per year level. There is nothing in the plan that will alleviate these problems. Additional residential housing will only exacerbate it.
In the 2nd draft of the plan please detail how parking issues will be alleviated with additional residents using the services.
8. Representation on the Consultative Committee
The plan has been released by the Council's Economic & Strategic Development department. Understandably, the result is a plan that addresses the interests of traders and developers and ignores residents.The Consultative Committee was made up of 5 representatives from Ivanhoe Traders Association/business people, 3 churches, 1 school, the Library, Darebin Parklands and 3 residents. On the surface the committee make up is unrepresentative of the vast majority of people in the Ivanhoe community, the residents. Residents have to live in the suburb and have the most to lose with the planning changes.
We request during the redraft period that there is a better process to include Residents feedback. We would like more residents actively involved in the committee.
9. Library & Plazas
The plan mentions the redevelopment of the Library. This is well overdue and welcome. Since it was opened in 1965 it has not been maintained to a good standard and has had no significant investment, it has the original roofing, wiring, shelving and may possibly have asbestos. It leaks when it rains. At 500 sqm it is way too small for the number of weekly visits that it receives. We are of the understanding their is no current plan to redevelop the library. We would like to see more detail attached to the plan to redevelop the library. Particularly, timeframes, whether there is plans for it to be moved from its present location and will it be funded by Council or by a Private/Public partnership.
The plan talks about adding additional plazas and open spaces. The idea is fine as long as the Council maintains these areas. The track record to date is not good. The current open space outside the library is windswept in need of redevelopment. The parking area behind the Ivanhoe Hotel has an ancient toilet block and asphalt carpark.
10. Aquatic Centre
The Aquatic Centre in Waterdale Rd is in disrepair. The pool is often out of order, the gym is small and lacks equipment, the centre lacks natural light and the entrance floods in heavy rain. Yet inexplicably the Aquatic Centre has been excluded from the plan.
Please consider redevelopment of the Aquatic Centre in the 2nd draft of the plan. At the moment it is just outside the Activity Centre boundary which is strange given that so many residents rely on the services it provides.
11. Darebin Station Precinct
The train journey over the Darebin Creek remains delightful, though the cuttings with their honeycomb geology and into Ivanhoe which still has the flavour of its heritage – with redbrick schools and churches. The plan included 6 storey towers built over the train line and 4 & 5 storey buildings lining Heidelberg Rd. This area around Darebin Station and Rockbeare Park is residential and still has a country feel. This will be destroyed with the current development plans.
12. Bowling Green Precinct
The bowling green precinct on the east side of the railway ridge has in recent years has been dwarfed by developments such as Safeway/Quest apartments. These buildings are only 5 storeys yet create huge overshadowing of the bowling green area in the afternoon. The draft plan has 8 storey buildings designated on the west (Heidelberg Rd) side of the railway ridge and 4 storey buildings on the east side of the ridge right next to residential houses.
13. Additional information to be included in the 2nd draft of the Plan
In no particular order we request than the 2nd draft include the following information:
- The number of extra residents expected to be accommodated with the new plan
- 3D shadow studies/diagrams done for the areas that will be subjected to the 4, 5, 6 & 8 storey towers
- The impact of the development of the Paper Mills site in Alphington be considered in the 2nd draft of the plan
It will also be very helpful to get residents better informed. Specific information that will be helpful includes:
- What are the timelines to get a 2nd draft of the plan released?
- How long will residents get to comment on the 2nd draft?
- How does Council plan to engage with Residents during this period?
- When is it envisaged that the plan will be sent to Council for approval?