Friday, 7 September 2012

Protecting our local heritage

Protecting our local heritage in Maling Ward and across the City of Boroondara has emerged as a major concern of local residents.  Many residents have contacted me about this issue, citing the demolition of fine period homes to make way of the construction of inappropriate large-scale mansions or multi-occupancy dwellings.

We are losing our architectural heritage and ruining our streetscapes.  Many established trees and gardens are lost too and replaced with buildings and paved areas.

A period home overlooked by a large modern house in Maling Ward. Photo supplied by local resident.

A local example was the demolition of a 1930s Federation brick home at 75 Essex Road and the construction of several densely packed multi storey town houses, each with a different style, in its place.  One tree was retained from the original garden. Many local residents opposed this. The Boroondara Council did too.  However, all too often VCAT will overule our local governments and approve these type of developments.

The developers of course just take their money and run.

75 Essex Road - period home (before)

75 Essex Road townhouses (after)

75 Essex Road townhouses (after) showing remaining tree

Another example was the secret and rapid demolition of the wonderful old Surrey Hills Post Office in Canterbury Road by a developer with Council apparently unaware until it was too late.

I will consult widely with the local community to ensure residents views on this matter are represented to Council and taken into account when planning decisions are made.

I commit to:
  • Opposing inappropriate urban development that destroys or dwarfs heritage homes.
  • Supporting the creation of heritage overlays and planning guidelines by Council to protect our heritage buildings and streetscapes, in close consultation with local residents.
  • Opposing buildings with an awful eclectic mix of modern styles that clash with historical character.
  • Ensuring that any development of the Bradshaws Motors site in Maling Road is in keeping with Maling Road's streetscape and heritage architecture
  • Working with VicTrack and the Victorian government to ensure that any future development around local railway stations such as Chatham, Canterbury and Surrey Hills is appropriate and in line with local residents wishes.  Canterbury station also needs improvements to remedy the "concrete canyon wasteland" underneath it.
  • Using the recently approved Boroondara Neighbourhood Character Plan to protect streetscapes and trees and ensure that the scale of buildings is respectful to our streets.
If we lose our heritage due to bad planning decisions we cannot get it back.

Boroondara Neighbourhood Character Study

Boroondara's heritage will now be afforded some additional protection after council signed off on its long-awaited neighbourhood character study at the 24 September Council meeting.

The study, which has been 18 months in the making, received more than 300 submissions and aims to provide direction for the design of new developments in residential areas.  I put in a submission during the consultation period.

The plan will preserve historic streetscapes, maintain space around homes, protect mature trees, minimise the height of front fences and ensure the scale of buildings is respectful to the street.

For more information on this see:



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