Retirement village knock back


A 223-UNIT retirement village proposed for Graf Rd, Somerville, has been knocked back by Mornington Peninsula Shire’s planning department.

The applicant, CBG Architects, has 60 days to appeal the decision to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. CBG Architects is understood to be acting on behalf of SomerCare.

Aged care provider SomerCare already has what it terms “the first resort in aged care on the Mornington Peninsula” – a 130-bed facility, nearby in Graf Rd, Somerville.

The new, larger aged care centre was planned for a 3.2 hectare site fronting Graf and Eramosa West roads, on the western edge of the town’s commercial activity centre. Plans describe 117 one bedroom-and-study units and 106 two-bedroom units and parking for 279 cars. Eleven separate buildings were to be built over two and three storeys.

The centrepiece was the heritage-listed homestead Seaton Carew, refurbished and extended to include a hairdresser and florist, administration and medical facilities and a community area.

The development was to be built in five stages “in line with market demand”, according to CBG Architects, who said the property “could be defined as a strategic redevelopment site as defined in the shire planning scheme”.

The proposal “represents an appropriate development outcome for the site” supported by Clause 16 of the state planning policy framework.

Shire statutory planning manager Niall Sheehy wrote to objectors and the applicant on Friday to say officers had refused the application.

“Having assessed the planning application against the requirements of the planning scheme and having considered the concerns of objectors, council resolved to refuse the planning application on a number of grounds,” he said.

“These include concerns relating to the scale of the development and its failure to satisfactorily respond to the character of the area, the visual impact of the development, overlooking to sensitive areas and the increase in traffic which would have been generated by the proposal.”

He confirmed the applicant had 60 days to appeal to the decision to VCAT.

Shire communications manager Todd Trimble said the decision was made “under delegation” by the officers, meaning it was not ratified by the full council.

Cr Lynn Bowden, who campaigned against the facility, said she was concerned by its size and scope. “It was inappropriate for a rural town,” she said. “It was too high a density and the industrial look of the buildings just didn’t look right.

“It was boxy, with pitched roofs, and would have overpowered everything.”

Cr Bowden earlier said the height of some of the buildings – coupled with their siting on high ground – would make them higher than the Centro shopping centre. “They’ll overlook the whole town.”    

She said the council was also concerned with the amount of traffic the development would have generated on the “busy road”.

“There’s already a senior citizens’ there, kinder, nursery, Centro, DFO, medical centre and houses – and Centro is pretty full now.”

A meeting of 60-80 people at the Mornington library on 3 June heard from the architects and objectors. “It was standing room only,” Cr Bowden said.

“I didn’t see anyone for the proposal. A lot of residents have been terribly stressed about it.”

Neither SomerCare, nor CBG Architects, would comment yesterday.

First published in the Western Port News – 23 June 2015


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