DAC TAKEOVER OF DONCASTER HILL WILL FAIL

This is written by a Councillor of Manningham  Warren Welsh who says the governmnet takeover of Doncaster Hill with their DAC's will prove to be a failure.   The Government is living in dreamworld about  development 

 

Among the issues I stood for when elected to council was to rationalise the Doncaster Hill Strategy. I believe Manningham had disregarded a basic planning principle by proposing  a "top down high rise apartment scheme". Tall buildings would provide spectacular views of the city, terms such as "vibrant village" and "place to be" were part of the dogma. Studies were commissioned on the basis as to how best the city could cope with the strategy rather than what the area's infrastructure could sustain. The fact that the steep narrow streets surrounding the centre had been classified as a "physical impediment to walking and cycling" by a panel report, (two important elements of an activity centre) were ignored, as was the city's dismal outlook with public transport. On many occasions our planners were asked why there had not been a study into the commercial viability of the strategy commissioned, the response was usually "we are only planners and should not be concerned with economic issues."
 
Neighbouring Box Hill is enviable, it has flat wide streets, Bus, Tram and Train for public transport, Tafe College and World Class Hospital already in place, facilities Doncaster cannot match..
 
Residents are concerned at the high percentage of very small apartments being accepted. In a recently approved prime site development, more than 70% were one bedroom apartments ranging in living area sizes from 39.6m2 to 50m2   (4.25 squares to 5.5 squares). Most of them with only one window.The huge construction costs involved in complying with the planning scheme's mandatory heights and prescriptive controls have forced developers to maximize the number of units in developments in an attempt to make the projects viable.
 
Building industry critics of the Doncaster Hill strategy believe that a medium density strategy (four to five storeys) would have been up to 40% cheaper to construct and might have enabled developers to produce larger and more competitively priced units. Under current conditions the cost of an apartment is twice the price per m2 compared to that of local established properties or town houses.
 
Many in the community fear the effect of cramped living combined with the large number of apartments in these high rise towers will create a ghetto like environment. It is well documented that the pride and perception of ownership diminishes as over populated development increases. 
 
Since manningham council formally adopted the strategy there has not been one substantial apartment development in either main road.(the Crest and Sovereign Point were built before 2000). The catalyst that was expected to drive apartment demand, the extension of Westfield, has not eventuated.In the meantime there have been at least seven separate presale debacles. The ludicrous notion that " empty nesters" would embrace this cramped style of living conditions with its base rates of parking have will never materialise.