Brunswick apartment plan puts focus on Napthine government’s inconsistant planning zones

A plan to bulldoze two houses for a small apartment development in Brunswick  has put the focus on new planning rules Planning Minister Matthew Guy rejected  for the area but approved for some of Melbourne’s richest suburbs.

The owners of two terrace houses in Laura Street, Brunswick, have proposed  knocking them over and replacing them with 10 apartments.

Residents in the street and others including the local Labor MP are among  more than 90 objectors who say the plan should not be allowed.

Under planning rules proposed by Moreland Council – and rejected last month  by Mr Guy – the apartment plan would have been banned.

The proposed rules would have seen the number of dwellings that could be  built limited to just two per block.

Similar rules were approved in June by Mr Guy in Melbourne’s more affluent  suburbs including Kew, Hawthorn, Camberwell, Brighton, Sandringham and Black  Rock.

Mr Guy said that Moreland’s proposed residential zones had been rejected  after an independent advisory committee had recommended against them being put  into law.

“Rather than rush to put in a zoning structure that’s not appropriate, I’ve  encouraged them to take the time to conduct further research and consult with  local residents and businesses on the right zoning for their suburbs,” Mr Guy  said.

But Brunswick MP Jane Garrett said the apartment plan was the perfect example  of inner-city suburbs not in safe conservative seats being given short shrift by  the Napthine government.

She said Brunswick was being asked to “bear the brunt of development” despite  already having carried its fair share.

“When you have developments on major streets and on former industrial sites,  it’s one thing; but when you start having them in small suburban streets and  having houses like these demolished, it’s a disaster.”

Among the objectors to the Brunswick plan is Melissa McGloughlin, a resident  in the street.

Ms McGloughlin said she and her neighbours had been surprised that a  double-fronted brick house to be demolished under the plan did not have heritage  protection.

And she said it was disappointing some areas of Melbourne had planning rules  that put stricter controls on high-density development while others did not.

“It does seem to be that the leafy suburbs and [areas with] higher  demographics are less affected by these developments,” she said.

Moreland mayor Lambros Tapinos said it had been “incredibly disappointing”  its proposed zones had been rejected.

He questioned why the planning minister had approved new residential zones  restricting development in some areas of Melbourne but not others.

And he said the council had “been told to start all over again” despite  months of work designing proposed new planning zones.

“All the minister’s process has done for Moreland is generate enormous  uncertainty about future overdevelopment and a boom in ill-conceived unit  applications,” Cr Tapinos said.

The Brunswick proposal is likely to be decided by Moreland Council in  December.

The Age, October 20 2014