Australian Horizons DevelopmentIn a nutshell developers are seeking the zoning to be changed on the Australian Horizons site in Arthurton Road and Elm Street (between High Street and the train line) from industrial to mixed use.
The developers are proposing to construct 350 units (a combination of studio apartments and larger residences) up to twelve storeys high plus commercial and retail premises. It is estimated that there will be a thousand extra residents not including the number of people using the site each day which greatly exceeds this figure. In addition traffic is estimated to grow by at least an extra thousand cars per day. To date the plan includes widening Arthurton Road by five metres, but no further consideration has been given to the surrounding streets that are likely to be inundated with this surge in traffic that they are not designed to cater for.
This twelve story monstrosity will be in the midst of Elm Street which is otherwise single fronted Victorian and Edwardian cottages, which if you listen to the developers and the Council is totally within keeping of the character of the area (yeah right).
The developers and Council (both elected representatives and bureaucracy) have tapped into Melbourne 2030 and this development as well as the numerous others planned or under construction (the Bingo Centre, Northcote Plaza, the McCutcheon Street development, Northcote Bowl, Showers Street Preston etc) all tie into their Northcote Activity Centre Structure Plan and the State Government's identification of Northcote (and Preston) as one of their target activity centre/ transport hubs. The fact that there isn't the infrastructure to support the existing residents doesn't seem to bother anyone and hasn't even factored into their planning.
There has been very little media coverage and there doesn't appear to be widespread knowledge about this very worrying project. Darebin Council are likely to rubber stamp whatever proposal is put up aside from maybe requiring the height to be reduced to eight storeys as they are pro-development at any cost and not the most effective of organisations. The only resistance might be from the Greens Councillor, but this is futile since the other eight councillors are from the ALP and likely to vote as a bloc.
At the moment the proposal and objections lodged have been sent to the Minister for Planning to send to an independent panel for consideration. The panel should come back to Council in the next three months, where further discussion will be had by the Council.
Dear Councillors Asmar, Tsitas and McCarthy
I write to raise my concerns with my Rucker Ward Councillors and Darebin City Council as a whole regarding the proposed planning amendment C92 Arthurton Row.
I understand the logic behind the State Government's 2030 vision for development hubs, however in practice talk of this project being as the buzz words describe it as "environmentally sustainable"and "revitalising"are just ludicrous.
My concerns with the project are as follows:
The proposal by the Meydan Group suggests that the site in Arthurton Road and Elm Street has been chosen because of its proximity to transport, in particular, Northcote Station. This is fine in theory but I am a little puzzled by adding an estimated thousand extra residents and four thousand daily users of the site is going to work given that one struggles now to use the existing public transport infrastructure (the 86 or 112 trams or the Epping line train). A lot of people are going to be situated near this so-called transport hub but unable to use the transport network which is apparently the selling point.
While I acknowledge that the Australian Horizons site is going to be redeveloped for housing, it is just not reasonable or keeping with the geographic character of Northcote to put this up to twelve floor monstrosity amongst the existing single fronted Victorian and Edwardian cottages. Low density housing would be one thing, but up to a thousand extra people in one block, they must be joking surely.
The amendment virtually gives the Meydan Group the capacity to change the plans to whatever variation of the current proposal they like, because the mixed zone classification will be granted. Surely Darebin Council and the residents they are elected to represent should have some more input into the future development of their community rather than just handing over this to a private company?
We are not dealing with this development proposal in isolation. On top of the hoard of people proposed for Arthurton Row are the Arcacia development at Northcote Plaza, several apartment complexes in High Street between Separation and Dennis Streets (including the old Bingo site and Elizabeth Towers development) as well as the Northcote Bowl proposal. The Northcote Bowl proposal probably distrubs me the least because at least it is in a location that isn't already overpopulated and already over-run with similar projects.
The material found on the Council website and provided at information sessions, shows no suggestion of investment in infrastructure designed to cater for this surge in population. Presumably we will just run down current services and drive the existing residents out to cater for the Arthurton Row slum.
No thought has been given to town planning and traffic management beyond Arthurton Road and Elm Street. The developer will widen Arthurton Road by five metres to assist traffic flow, but how will this help if all the neighbouring streets just form a bottle neck. I live in Beavers Road and the majority of the traffic from the Elm and Herbert Street sites will be using our street as it is the only one that runs off both High Street and St Georges Road without being blocked by the train line. Our narrow two lane street with insufficient off street parking is simply not designed to cater for this influx of traffic. Most of the homes are also designed with the front bedroom a stone's throw from the street. I don't fancy having a grand prix like succession of traffic ruining our quiet residential street and our enjoyment of our own property.
The developer's plan says that a thousand extra cars is within the acceptable level. Who deems this level of extra traffic in a narrow residential street acceptable? Certainly not local residents I can assure you. This might make sense on a traffic management matrix but again the reality is quite different.
I was also astonished to see that the proposed site will only generate an additional $460K in rates revenue for the Council. It seems like an awful lot of trouble to me for such little return. This would not even cover the pot hole filling budget for the Council in a year.
I am anxious to hear about the thoughts of the Council regarding this development. My household in addition to my local neighbourhood are distresed about this plan to ruin Northcote and turn it into an overdeveloped and populated congested Chapel Street of the North, stripping away all its natural assets and charm.
We will not accept this current development proposal or amendment. We would like the support of our Council, but if not that's fine too as we will not be silent about this abomonation.
❊ Address & Contact ❊
⊜ Corner Arthurton Road and Elm Street, Northcote | Map
❊ Web Links ❊
→ Australian Horizons Development
→ Consideration of Submission to Amendment (PDF)
→ Disclaimer: Check with the venue before making plans...
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