‘Undesirable’ development in Eltham rejected

Published on 08 March 2019

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The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has upheld Council’s position not to support a proposal for two, six-storey buildings at Arthur Street and Dudley Street in Eltham.

Council and many community members opposed the application to construct apartments, offices, shops, cafes and restaurants at the site. Council received 363 objections to the development from community members – one of the highest amounts ever lodged to a development in the Shire.

In refusing the proposal, VCAT determined that the development was inappropriate for the location and that the overall height, lack of landscaping and impacts to parking and amenity were unacceptable.

Mayor Karen Egan said the decision was a significant win for Council and the Eltham community. “We aren’t willing to let Eltham’s unique character be compromised by inappropriate developments that create parking problems and see a reduction of trees in the landscape,” Cr Egan said.

“Council knocked back this application due to its imposing appearance, complete lack of landscaping, a colour and material scheme inconsistent with Eltham’s character, and a reliance on Council land for private balconies and the provision of landscaping that couldn’t be included on the site.

“It’s a considerable victory for Council and for those within the community who objected to this proposal,” she said.

VCAT agreed with Council that Eltham is unusual in that its commercial precinct falls under Activity Centre Zone 1 (ACZ1) but is heavily influenced by a Significant Landscape Overlay (SLO1) – meaning development in the area should not just retain existing landscaping, but also contribute to it.

In order to achieve the requirement to retain and reflect the township’s character, any development must add landscaping, be a suitable height, achieve a high standard of urban design and architectural quality, and not obscure or dominate public views.

ENDS