Housing plan is a ‘ghetto in the making’


SHIRE councillors have gone against their officers’ recommendations by siding with Mt Martha residents who oppose a high-density housing estate being built at Bentons Rd on five acres of former farmland.

A packed public gallery at the 28 November council meeting heard councillors debate whether Mornington Peninsula Shire would formally oppose a planning application by Bentons Blossom Pty Ltd for a $45 million project containing 52 units and townhouses.

Neighbouring objectors in Mt Martha say increased traffic will negatively impact on the area if the housing estate is built on 292 square metre sites, far smaller blocks than for existing homes (“Upset at high-density housing”, The News 23/8/16).

There were 191 objections lodged from 112 residential addresses.

The planning application will be heard at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal on 13 February next year after the applicant went straight to VCAT when council did not make a ruling on its stance within 60 days due to council meetings being suspended during October’s council elections period.

Existing residents noted covenants stopping the construction of two-storey properties were in place when they moved into the area more than a decade ago. They are pushing for the number of homes to be built at the site to be limited to 19.

Paul Vella told councillors at the meeting the housing estate plans are “absolutely ridiculous”.

“This is a ghetto starting to happen,” he said.

“It will be 100 per cent rental and it will be controlled from overseas.”

Despite the units and townhouses having double garages, residents say a lack of room means garbage and recycle bins will need to be stored inside – meaning one car will have to be parked in the street, adding to traffic congestion.

Residents are worried that the narrow 3.5-metre internal roads will not be capable of handling large vehicles, such as fire trucks in an emergency and garbage trucks on their weekly rounds.

The mayor Cr Bev Colomb had to urge objectors to be quiet on several occasions during the debate on the planning application.

A council officers’ report recommended the shire support the application but councillors unanimously voted against this recommendation.

VCAT will now decide whether the high-density housing estate can be built or must be scaled back.

First published in the Mornington News – 13 December 2016


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