17 September 2018
Buildings and works to construct a 3 storey apartment building (15 dwellings) and removal of vegetation
Earlier this year, in spite of community objections, Nillumbik Shire Council decided to issue a planning permit for 15 apartments on a standard suburban block in Pryor St. ECAG decided to appeal to VCAT to overturn Council’s decision. The reasons being that, contrary to the objectives of the zone:
- The basement and building setbacks are far too narrow to be extensively landscaped with indigenous vegetation so as to contribute to the Eltham form and character, as required by the objectives of Zone.
- The 19th century brick industrial building form has excessive bulk and mass and does not respond to the residential character of the area as required by Precinct 2 design guidelines.
- Red, black and light grey render do not constitute earthy colours and natural materials that blend in with the natural environment
- The extensive use of east and west facing glass and aluminium, will result in poor energy efficiency and, as such, is inconsistent with a community who values sustainable living
- The internal amenity of the building is poor, for example, multiple apartments have extremely poor connection to the external environment due to privacy screens hard up against windows or outdoor living areas that are only two metres wide. (This area is also meant to support planting).
- It is also proposed that public land (nature strip and foot path) be used to allow for passing space for vehicles.
ECAG attended a VCAT compulsory conference and attempted (unsuccessfully) to negotiate a better outcome for the Eltham community. As a result, the case will go to a full hearing on 18 and 19 Oct. ECAG is using some donated funds to obtain expert evidence from a consulting arborist to present to VCAT but has decided not to spend the required $1200 to have the expert present and defend his finding at the hearing. ECAG has also consulted with a local town planner for some advice on how to best present the case.
But, most of all, ECAG is concerned about the disregard for the mature trees on the site and immediately adjacent to the site. All trees on the site are earmarked for removal including a 15m tall Flowering Redgum in the front setback that has ‘good’ form, health and structure and a useful life expectancy of 30-60 years. In addition, the Manna gum in the front setback of the adjacent property is to have a significant number of roots cut to enable the basement access to be put it for the new building. There is a real risk this tree may also not survive.
If there is anyone in the community who would like to fund the expert witness at VCAT or is able to come along to the hearing at 10am on the 18th of Oct, as a show of support – this would be greatly welcomed.