Bid to rein in retirement village plan


Not here: Residents are opposed to a $50 million retirement village being built in Roberts Road, Mornington. Picture: Yanni

RESIDENTS opposed to a proposed $50 million “retirement village” in Roberts Road, Mornington, say it will look like a “trailer park”.

The land is in a recognised horse precinct with easy access to Mornington racecourse.

“According to the developers’ plans, the 371 two-and-three bedroom dwellings will be constructed of Colorbond and timber. That’s similar to caravan park units. Their design will devalue properties in the area,” nearby resident and spokesperson Christine Pingiaro said.

“There will be loss of native habitat, potentially massive impact on the Balcombe Creek catchment, and encroachment on conservation reserves. There is no plan about what vegetation will be removed.”

The residents rallied on the gated road last week to protest Steller Estates’ proposal for a 20 hectare development at the Mornington-Tyabb Road end.

Many have lodged Statements of Grounds opposing the proposal with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). Marty Lenard, of Tanti Creek Friends, also lodged a statement of grounds to the tribunal.

Mornington Peninsula Shire’s executive manager planning services David Bergin said the shire “moved quickly to reject the proposal” but did not see the need to advertise it.

“The applicant did not use the shire’s pre-application service for a preliminary discussion prior to lodging its application. Reviewing the application, it was clear that the proposal was not sympathetic to the low scale character of the area between Mornington and the green wedge.,” Mr Bergin said

“It was inconsistent with local planning policies and could impact the neighbouring conservation reserve and racecourse. The shire moved quickly to reject the proposal to ensure the unique character of the peninsula was looked after.”

About 20 residents gathered at the site last week to voice their opposition to the proposal which Steller says presents a “rare opportunity to provide retirement accommodation close to an existing town centre”.

The developer’s documentation to council says the project “responds to the evident need for affordable retirement living on the Mornington Peninsula as Victoria’s population ages and housing pressure extends to the peninsula”.

“The subject site … is well located, being within one of the largest settlements on the peninsula with main road access into the centre of the township,” Steller said.

“[It] responds positively to its context, retaining significant vegetation and achieving the setbacks required by the Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme to maintain and enhance the character elements that contribute positively to the amenity of Mornington.

“[The] submission demonstrates a well-considered and site-responsive proposal that has strong policy support at all levels of the Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme and is therefore worthy of support.”

If the village goes ahead the owner of 58 Roberts Road, who refused to sell to the developer, will be surrounded by access ways and buildings.

Ten years ago the state coroner ordered that gates be erected at the road’s intersections with Mornington-Tyabb Rd and Bungower Rd, after a racehorse escaped and collided with a vehicle on Nepean Highway, killing a tradesman driving to work.

The gates restrict and slow traffic to provide a safer environment for livestock, workers, residents and visitors. They act as a deterrent to traffic.

Ms Pingiaro said the influx of an additional potential 700 residents, as well as visitors and tradespeople, will see this safety measure eroded.

First published in the Mornington News – 13 February 2018


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