Today at the hearings into the planning amendment for the Flemington housing estate, Moonee Valley City Council presented a plan labelled “Preferred Development Plan”.
Those present were told the plans were in fact not accurately described as “preferred” as they had not been endorsed by Council.
Not only have these plans not been endorsed by Council, they have not been seen by a single resident living on or near the estate, nor a single submitter to the hearing process.
These plans were presented completely out of the blue. They were not part of Council’s submission online, that several residents spent hours reading ahead of Council’s vote on the matter several weeks ago.
At the lunch break, I expressed my astonishment, and frustration, to the Council officers present. Rather than agreeing that these pictures should have been put out for consultation, I was told that they depicted the Council’s submission, so were, essentially, part of the submission.
I was also told that one of the purposes of the diagrams was to show the flaws in the proposed Amendment. When I asked how presenting “preferred Council plans” that had undergone no consultation showed the flaws in the Amendment, I received no answer.
In some ways, what these pictures show is that once the DPO is passed, any pictures can be drawn up, on anyone’s whim, with no consultation whatsoever. And no one living on or near the estate will have any right to object.
If the purpose of Council’s exercise was to make this point, they certainly did it in an oblique way. Instead, the Committee now has a plan before them, and they have in fact asked DHHS’ lawyers and experts to respond to these plans.
The plan has:
- a thoroughfare from Stubbs Rd (no bike paths) right through the estate …
- to a massive community centre built on parkland blocking views of the park and requiring dozens of beautiful trees to be removed;
- a 7 storey development at the Hopetoun centre with the child care on a third storey rooftop;
- the community gardens moved to the DHHS site (WHY???????) in between two 12 storey buildings;
- shops through the estate on the ground floors – and more (see below).
To repeat, not a single resident has seen, been asked to comment on, been alerted to these plans. Had residents not been there today at the hearings, we would be none the wiser.
Council also submitted this morning that Debney Meadows Primary School was under-performing in scope and the future of the school was uncertain, and that the state government never honoured the land exchange that was agreed to in order to build the school on Council land. It seemed like a direct pitch to close the school and secure Council’s land back – again with ZERO consultation (as a PhD student in education with an interest in the school, I am appalled).
On Tuesday next week, the hearings will be held for a day at the Flemington Community Centre. Residents and groups will be presenting their submissions. Everyone is welcome to attend – the hearings are public.
Meanwhile – here are Council’s surprise plans (which they have said are NOT preferred – which begs the question of why they were presented to the Committee. Your guess is probably right):