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Rich suburbs have high-rise development locked out in new zonings

'I am a NIMBY and proud of it,' says Mary Drost, convenor of the anti-development group Planning Backlash.

'I am a NIMBY and proud of it,' says Mary Drost, convenor of the anti-development group Planning Backlash. Photo: Rebecca Hallas

Swaths of Melbourne's richest suburbs have been locked up and high-rise development largely banned, after Planning Minister Matthew Guy approved new residential zones across the city's most expensive areas on Monday.

Kew, Hawthorn, Camberwell, Brighton, Sandringham and Black Rock were among the suburbs to get two-storey height limits, in what resident groups hailed as a major victory.

But planning experts warned the changes meant NIMBYs - Not In My Back Yard campaigners - had won the battle to stop large-scale development in areas of Melbourne with the best transport and infrastructure.

''Everybody is a NIMBY, and everybody wants to protect what they've got. I am a NIMBY and proud of it - and I don't want a great big high-rise next to me,'' said Mary Drost, convener of the anti-development group Planning Backlash.

Ms Drost said her group, an umbrella organisation for hundreds of smaller resident organisations, was ''delighted we are finally going to get the protection we have for years been screaming for''.

The zones will see large parts of Boroondara, Bayside and Stonnington councils protected from development above two levels.

In Boroondara, which covers suburbs including Kew, Hawthorn and Camberwell, 76 per cent of the council area will now see any building proposal higher than two levels blocked.

In Bayside, which includes Brighton, Hampton, Sandringham and Black Rock, an even higher 83 per cent of the council area is protected from high-rise.

In Stonnington, covering Prahran, South Yarra, Toorak and Armadale, a modest 38 per cent of the council area will now be protected from high-rise development.

Casey, Manningham, Maroondah, Queenscliff and Wangaratta councils also had new zones approved.

Mr Guy on Monday said the new zones struck ''the right balance by encouraging new housing in locations that have access to public transport and a wide mix of services''.

And he said areas of neighbourhood character ''that are valued by Melbourne's residents will be protected''.

Roz Hansen, who chaired Mr Guy's planning advisory committee but resigned last year in disgust, said the minister had ''protected the established middle suburbs'' at the expense of choice and affordability within them.

''There is a focus on certainty in this decision, but not on the consequences of these decisions,'' Professor Hansen said.

132 comments

  • And how many of those NIMBY's are actually developers funding and building those high-rises in someone elses gentrified suburb?? Disgusting double-standard and abuse of power.

    Commenter
    Ozzie Battla
    Location
    Greensborough
    Date and time
    June 17, 2014, 9:49AM
    • Probably not many of them are developers. Possibly none.

      Good on them. I wish I could win such rights in my suburb!

      The govt forgets that they are supposed to represent us.... not tell us what to do.

      Commenter
      cranky
      Location
      pants
      Date and time
      June 17, 2014, 10:36AM
    • @Ozzie Battla: "Disgusting double-standard and abuse of power."

      Too right, comrade. The NIMBYs agitating for their precious streetscapes are condemning the rest of Melbourne to a combination of suburban sprawl and selected high-rise areas. What's required is to have widespread medium density, not mostly low density and a few high rise sacrifice zones. "Kew, Hawthorn, Camberwell, Brighton, Sandringham and Black Rock" should be converted to medium density living, to villa units and three storey walk-ups.

      If that happened, I'd be prepared to drive the bulldozers myself.

      Commenter
      Greg Platt
      Location
      Brunswick
      Date and time
      June 17, 2014, 10:54AM
    • This is a joke. Get over yourselves. We have a population boom and we need more housing, and in particular, more affordable housing. And not everybody is married with two or three children. I live in an eastern suburb where apartments are now going up and they actually haven't destroyed the suburb but instead enhanced it. Gee, where was the uproar when the fabulous art on the heritage listed Dimmeys was pulled down? Yeah. Melbourne does beige well.

      Commenter
      Aisha Brown
      Date and time
      June 17, 2014, 11:01AM
    • Face the music

      And tangled up in the middle of it is this too

      Boroondara, that includes the beautiful inner-eastern suburbs of Kew, Camberwell, Balwyn & leafy Glen Iris, has allocated 80% of its leafy suburban area to this new zoning.
      And Glen Eira has 78 % yet Moonee Valley and Kingston have set aside over 75 per cent.

      Some don't think that's enough

      No excuse, no backyard fantasies okay?

      Commenter
      Linda Robertson.
      Location
      3000
      Date and time
      June 17, 2014, 11:55AM
    • Glen Eira council has succeeded in banning young families (unless they have wealthy parents to buy for them).
      A limit to 2 expensive houses per block is ridiculous, and prices out all FHBs. (And empty nesters should they ever want to move out of their empty large house).
      This is a planning disaster.
      this leaves - Houses for the non-wealthy only 40km out with no trains and schools, (or studio flats for foreign export only in the city).
      A lose lose for the people of melbourne. A win for speculators !

      Commenter
      No young families, no future
      Location
      Elsternwick
      Date and time
      June 17, 2014, 12:17PM
    • I don't think these people are developers or connected with developers. On the contrary, developers are frustrated by this ruling because they say that they can build in areas where there is plenty of access to public transport and amenities.

      If you want my opinion - Good On Them!

      The number of monstrous apartment buildings springing up all over the place is ridiculous. I don't know anyone who lives in one or is interested in buying/renting one. This makes me concerned that we are inflating an apartment bubble. All these property developers roaming around Melbourne thinking they are the brains-trust of the housing in Australia. Don't take brain power to look at a block of 10 houses and think "we can turn that into 30 apartments and triple our money."

      These development companies have a utopia of everyone living in a high rise apartment with no space and shop daily at the subways and 7/11s downstairs. Most Australians do not even remotely want anything resembling them.

      Most importantly, absolutely no thought or work is put into the problems it creates. Where are all the extra lanes required to service additional traffic created by apartment dwellers? Where do their guests/visitors park? Where do the additional trams and trains come from to service the greater population densities caused by these apartments. The answer is dead silence from the developers. With a few exceptions, they drop the buildings in, collect their development profits and any problems caused by logistics are the governments problem which means we, the tax payer, fund solutions to these problems.

      Commenter
      DIBIL_1
      Location
      melb
      Date and time
      June 17, 2014, 12:42PM
    • Yep, just a classic boomer move of pulling up the ladder for anyone else after them, all while they practically grew up with golden spoon in their mouth and never had to worry about a damn thing.

      Commenter
      Scott C.
      Date and time
      June 17, 2014, 1:04PM
    • I agree with DIBIL_1. This is not such a bad thing and I'm a gen x-y. Developers are the ones who want to build increased density but only for their own benefit. It might sound like bias, as I live in a leafy green suburb - but recently a large block of land (approx 850sqm) got cleared in a suburban street and VCAT approved 10 apartments. It is inappropriate for the area. As for all this mass density - the infrastructure can't handle what we have now, let alone what is proposed.

      LIke a budget is forecast, we need to plan for our population growth and not just fly-by-night. This is the bigger picture of the issue.

      Commenter
      chumpy
      Location
      melb
      Date and time
      June 17, 2014, 1:16PM
    • Time to introduce a land tax instead of stamp duty (like ACT and WA) so
      that way the beneficiaries of this planning decision can contribute appropriately.

      This decision has prevented any young people (without wealthy inner house owning parents to subsidise them) , FHBs or empty nesters (without wealth) from buying inner city.
      In Glen Eira limited to 2 expensive houses per block. Not even Townhouses or 3 storey apartments permitted in Bayside. Let the rest move 40km out, away from rail, hospitals, facilities and commute in an hour in their cars. Renters and FHBs dont get a vote in this.
      in 80% of the inner areas.

      Commenter
      Need a land tax.
      Location
      Glen Eira
      Date and time
      June 17, 2014, 1:50PM

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