The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has prepared an updated consultation draft of the Yarra River – Bulleen Precinct Land Use Framework Plan. The draft plan recommends future land uses and connections for a section of the Yarra River encompassing parts of Bulleen, Heidelberg and Lower Templestowe.

The Minister for Planning has appointed an Advisory Committee to provide strategic and statutory planning advice on the draft Framework Plan and associated draft Planning Scheme Amendment.

The Advisory has been specifically tasked with advising the Minister on the amendment of the planning scheme and a development plan for land at 9-15 Templestowe Road – the location of the old Yarra Valley Country Club.

The proposal for this land is for:

  • The construction of dwellings and associated accessways on Residential Growth Zoned land.
  • The public use of privately held land on the Yarra River’s edge.
  • Delivery of an overall landscape concept including a network of parks and pathways throughout the development.
  • Creation of access and publicly accessible linkages through the site.

This a very attractive development and such land within Manningham, that is suitable for affordable housing for young people with an ID, is rare.

Presently, this area is serviced by two existing bus routes, which can provide access to shops and other facilities young people with an ID need and currently use. From there our members could easily access many locations they need and where their social and community supports exist.

However, the development plan only contains a vague mention that “a portion of affordable housing will also be facilitated”. There is no firm commitment. Moreover, any affordable housing is only seems to be being offered on the proviso that the developer can increase the density of development of the site and can raise the height of some buildings to 3 levels.

MICH has lodged a formal submission to the Advisory Committee and asked to be heard at a future public hearing.  Specifically, we have said that the suggestions concerning the provision of affordable housing in the Development Plan and associated planning tool are vague and in that they are subject to trade-offs against density and height increases – which may not be possible or acceptable – we regard them as ‘hollow’. We have stated that, in our experience, they seem typical of the types of promises made by some developers which, once a Section 173 agreement is signed don’t lead to any affordable homes that satisfy the Minster for Planning’s definition.

We therefore recommended that the Yarra River – Bulleen Precinct Advisory Committee, in keeping with Victoria and Manningham’s urgent need for more affordable housing and the requirements of S4 of the Planning and Environment Act, advise the Minister for Planning that any planning scheme amendment and development plan for the land at 9-15 Templestowe Road, Bulleen should be subjected to firm planning controls dealing with the provision of affordable homes.

These planning controls should:

  1. Require the provision of suitable affordable housing, whether or not the development includes higher densities or buildings of 3 levels, or not;
  2. In keeping with good practice, require 10% of homes in the development to be ‘affordable’;
  3. Define ‘affordable’ in terms of the Ministerial Notice in the Victorian Government Gazette No. S256, Friday 1 June 2018 as shown for the “very low income range”.

You can find a copy of our submission here.

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