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Picture of Stephen Digby
by Stephen Digby - Saturday, 26 April 2008, 12:01 AM

URGENT - Would you like a five or six storey block of flats next door to you? No? Well read this!


The State Government has just announced a proposal to replace the current residential zones 1, 2, & 3 with new zones which will give the government virtual control over development in Melbourne’s residential suburbs (as well as regional , country and coastal areas).

The proposal applies to only to our residential areas. It does not apply to Activity Centres or Neighbourhood centres, they are already under threat.

The new zones are :-

Substantial Change Zone ( also referred to as “Go Go Zone”) which will effectively take away residents’ rights to be given notice of a development in their area but more importantly, will remove their right to object and appeal. This will allow the Planning Minister to control development in this zone forcing through high-rise/high-density projects and developers will be given free reign. Minimum height cannot be less than 4 storeys - no maximum is specified.

Incremental Change Zone ( also known as “Slow Go Zone” which does not really mean what it says) is much the same as above except that the minimum height cannot be less than 3 storeys - no maximum specified. Again residents’ rights to be given notice of a development is removed and there will be no right to object or appeal.

Limited Change Zone ( also known as “No Go Zone” which is a very misleading description) again takes away the right of notice, objection and appeal except for the adjoining properties either side and the one directly opposite.

NOTE - The boundaries for new zones will not necessarily be the same as the existing 1. 2 & 3 residential zones. They could be drawn very differently and if your property ends up in one of the first two zones - beware!

These changes are being proposed because Melbourne 2030 has failed to deliver the results that the government planners wanted. The new zones will be used to bolster M2030 by centralizing planning control with faceless government bureaucrats.

If a development proposal meets ResCode standards it will be exempt from having to obtain a permit or give notice to local residents and there will be no right to object or appeal to VCAT except as above.

The government’s P.R. spin is that the whole idea is to speed up the planning permit process.

Worst of all, the government has kept information about these massive changes very low key in an attempt to slip them through. Residents have not been informed and the government‘s press releases have not surfaced in the media. There are tightly controlled information sessions currently being held which are mainly aimed at council planners and developers. Residents are discouraged as the government thinks it is up to the councils to consult with their communities. It is reasonably clear that some councils will be happy to be rid of having to make unpopular planning decisions, although we believe that our council has acted responsibly and received a fair amount of government criticism for not buckling under to the government planning strategies and demands.

Has our council informed us about the changes and the disadvantages that will result. No - probably because they have just attended an information session and are currently digesting the implications for Boroondara.

The deadline for submissions is 18th April which allows no time for us to consider the implications either– have you been made aware of your right to lodge a submission – No!

If you want to learn more, a copy of the discussion paper is attached or you can telephone 9637 8610 and get some answers .

We suggest that, rather than obtaining the department’s pre-prepared submission form (which is not helpful) you just write telling the government what you think of this ridiculous plan. We urge you to use clear and very forthright language to ensure they get the message,

· Mail to: Planning Systems, Department of Planning & Community Development, G. P. O. Box 2392 Melbourne 3001 or

· Email : planning.systems@vic.gov.au

The only convenient information sessions are being held at Novotel Glen Waverley, 285 Springvale Rd, Thursday 20th March or at the theatrette, 1 Spring St. on Monday 31st March. ( Not very convenient are they?)

Act now before this stupidity goes any further.

Jack Roach

President, Boroondara Residents’ Action Group.

9882 2829 / 0412 744163