DEVELOPER owners of a heritage listed former hospital in Mount Eliza are reviewing their plans after being refused a permit by Mornington Peninsula Shire Council and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
The general manager of Hengyi Pacific Simon Manley last week said after the VCAT refusal that “the pathway forward for us is clearer now” and plans for a “luxury retirement village” would be revised.
The former Mt Eliza Centre (built in the 19th century as a family mansion), “pool house” and chapel at 33 Jacksons Road would be retained and restored and “refurbished respectfully” in the revised plans to be go to council.
Hengyi’s original plans involved building 105 low density dwellings over eight buildings on the 3.41-hectare site overlooking Canadian Bay. The $160 million “retirement community” would be called Beachleigh (“Heritage makeover at Mt Eliza” The News 28/9/20).
“The pathway forward for us is clearer now and we look to reshape and balance the comments that have been set out,” Manley said last week.
“Our mission to provide a development like nothing else on offer in the retirement living space is still the focus for us for this site. We look forward to working with council on the revised submission of the master plan when it is ready.”
Despite shire officers recommending approval of the original plans, councillors refused, based on the proposal’s impact on the character of the neighbourhood and foreshore, loss of vegetation, heritage considerations, overdevelopment, and insufficient information regarding the traffic impacts and the loss of views from surrounding properties.
Despite Hengyi modifying its plans before the VCAT hearing, the shire still refused to grant a permit.
Manley said after the VCAT decision that the company was “pleased however, that VCAT and council’s planning officers” supported the land being used as a retirement village.
“We have been inundated with purchaser inquiries since the initial website launch and will keep them informed of the timeline as it progresses,” he said. “The supply of luxury retirement community products in the area is clearly lacking. We have an ageing population that needs a vibrant mix of housing options allowing them to remain living in the area.”
In the 2021 Census, 43.6 per cent of Mount Eliza’s population was listed as being aged 50 and over – an increase from 40.8 per cent in the 2016 Census.
The development would create 200 local jobs during construction with other jobs across administration, management and operations.