Save Elwood’s Streets from Over Development

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The Story So Far..….

In the face of a massive overdevelopment in Tiuna Grove, one of Elwood’s smallest and at the same time most historic streets, petitioners asked council to reject the proposal and apply for heritage protection of the buildings which had apparently been inadvertently overlooked by the heritage zone.  The council sought the advice of respected Heritage Consultant, Peter Barrett, who recommended a raft of changes to the heritage overlay, including its extension to cover two of the three buildings subject to the demolition request.  In the meeting on 19th June 2019 the council unanimously passed a resolution to apply to the Minister for Planning for interim protection of these building and to direct council officers to begin the process to apply permanent controls.  Interim protection was granted by the Minister on the 4th July.

In response to the interim protection the applicant sought a delay of the VCAT proceedings to December 2019, to consider appropriate changes to the proposal. This was duly granted.  On the 30th August, they released their amended plans.

This new proposal by the developer is a comprehensively inadequate response to the demands of the heritage overlay. It posits demolition in excess of 60% for each of the protected buildings, retaining merely their facades and front bedrooms, substantially reducing the lot sizes and constructing a massive wrap around apartment block on the left and behind the contracted properties.  The massed L shaped block contains twelve apartments, and extends over 50m along the lane boundary over the near entirety of the three lots.  If successful, it will likely be a model to the future treatment of heritage property in our city.

 Tiuna Grove and adjacent streets are in a designated Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ). The purpose of this zone according to the Port Phillip Planning Scheme is to:

“recognise areas of predominantly single and double storey residential development” and “to manage and ensure that development respects the identified neighbourhood character, heritage, environmental or landscape characteristics.”

Further, the NRZ defines the neighbourhood character objectives as:

“To maintain the distinctive garden suburban character including larger lot sizes with generous front and side setbacks.”

Tiuna Grove provides dramatic context to the history of Elwood. Two significant mansions, a third significant house and numerous other inter-war homes contribute to the built heritage of the area.  It, and the neighbouring streets in the NRZ, are characterised by predominantly single and double story homes with generous gardens on single, unconsolidated lots.  The Port Phillip Planning scheme expressly reserves Residential Growth Zones (GRZ) along larger main roads for massed medium density development.

Please stand with us to repel this threat to our communal built heritage.