The current planning scheme and Ivanhoe Structure Plan provides guidelines for developers and for Council to make decisions on planning permits. In recent months Banyule Council has requested that the Minister for Planning investigate establishing mandatory heights across the Ivanhoe Activity Centre. In response the DELWP invited Banyule Council to participate in an Activity Centre Pilot Program to "consider how planning controls can be improved to give greater certainty to the community, and reflect the strategic planning Council has undertaken for the Ivanhoe Activity Centre."
You can read the correspondence between Banyule Council and the DELWP in the following link:
Save Ivanhoe Residents Group has also sent a letter to the Minster for Planning today concerning mandatory height controls, with specific reference to the development application at 40 Upper Heidelberg Rd. Refer below.
We encourage residents interested in mandatory height controls in Ivanhoe to contact Richard Wynne (Minister for Planning), Anthony Carbines (Member for Ivanhoe), and your local Councillors.
Helen Carr and Luke McNamara
Save Ivanhoe Residents Group
Hon Richard Wynne
Minister for Planning
Victorian State Government
19 September 2017
RE: Mandatory Controls for the Ivanhoe Activity Centre
We are following up progress on the implementation of Mandatory Controls for the Ivanhoe Activity Centre. This proposed action comes out of the Banyule Council community meeting in May when you stated that you were happy to introduce such controls given the extraordinary level of planning by the community and Council in the delivery of the Ivanhoe Structure Plan.
The Ivanhoe Structure Plan was developed through an unprecedented intensive and extensive Council planning process over three years. The community engagement was extensive. There were dozens of community sessions and workshops held and attended by traders, residents, developers, Council staff, Councillors and state politicians. Banyule Council employed the services of MGS Architects to do a street by street analysis of the activity centre zone. Council created a Community Consultative Committee (CCC) who met regularly for two years to work through the details of the plan.
The Save Ivanhoe Residents Group was a key player throughout this time, informing and harnessing the participation of many hundreds of residents and making a significant contribution to the outcome. Our contribution included participation on the CCC, dissemination of information to residents, ongoing discussion with Council and key stakeholders, site inspections, community forums and the review of the conceptual plans and documentation.
Over 1200 individual submissions were made to Council.
The ultimate plan delivered for the Ivanhoe Activity Centre was one where developers, traders, residents and Council agreed, through discussion, analysis and compromise on how to deliver future growth and development of the Activity Centre, in accordance with State Planning Policy.
The Structure Plan was reviewed by State Planning Department to confirm it contributed significantly to future density growth and also reviewed by a State Government Planning Panel. The guidelines for heights, setbacks and specific provisions in seven different precincts in the Activity Centre were endorsed through this process.
Despite the community request, these guidelines were not prescribed. Consequently many developers have blatantly ignored these guidelines, as have some VCAT decisions. More recently developers have been spurred on by the State Government’s changes to allowable heights. This has undermined the hard work and everything that our community and Council agreed was appropriate and reasonable to ensure growth and development but to avert rampant overdevelopment, destruction of neighbourhood character and future liveability.
A current example of over development is the 10-storey development application for 40 Upper Heidelberg Rd. This was refused by Banyule Council and is currently before VCAT. [VCAT Order: P1645/2017]. This proposal exceeds the guidelines height by 60% and has none of the required setbacks or the landscaping required for the site. It is situated on the most prominent ridgeline in Ivanhoe and will have significant negative impact on local residents, neighbourhood character and general amenity. It will be visible throughout Ivanhoe and from East Ivanhoe, Alphington and Eaglemont. It is at complete odds with local planning policy and process and will create a precedent for the area. Furthermore VCAT rejected a very similar development in the early 2000s. This earlier and similar sized proposal, although half the height, was thrown out as inappropriate due to excessive bulk and adverse impact on amenity.
As a consequence of continual developer disregard for the Activity Centre guidelines, there is widespread anger in the community that the Plan has been so undermined, discounted and ignored.
Save Ivanhoe Residents Group believes it is essential to protect the integrity of the Structure Plan for the development of the Ivanhoe Activity Centre. Therefore we are asking that you urgently approve mandatory controls on height and setbacks throughout the Activity Centre in accordance with the Structure Plan.
Furthermore we ask that you do so, or publicly signal your intent to do so, prior to 9th October VCAT Compulsory Conference regarding 40 Upper Heidelberg Rd. To do this will signal to developers that local planning guidelines are to be respected. It will signal to the community that your government is responsive to and respects local community and Council planning processes. This is particularly urgent to give guidance to VCAT regarding all current applications scheduled for review.
We welcome development and growth in Ivanhoe. However no developer has the right to ignore the requirements of the Structure Plan and in doing so lead to the needless destruction of liveability now and in the future.
Helen Carr & Luke McNamara