Fake Photography for Developers

Kim sent this in to keep us all weary of developers tricks…

The photo of Short Street on left is an example of how a severe slope can be made to appear flat when photographed from an elevated position. Residents in the area of Short Street were puzzled to see a photographer and his assistant taking photos from a very high ladder, early one Sunday morning.

The photo taken was later used in the consultant’s traffic report, accepted by council, and submitted as supporting evidence at a resident Vcat appeal against a 14 storey  apartment tower proposed on the corner of Short Street and Hepburn Road. There are planning issues, many still unresolved, including the development’s driveway to be located in Short Street, where it would have to cross a footpath with a gradient of approximately 1m in 6m..

Short Street Consultants photo Short Street Genuine photo Short Street Gradient  photo

Consultant’s photo  of Short Street,     Genuine photo of Short Street,          Gradient of Short Street



  1. Friend of Hepburn says:

    It was disappointing that council did not challenge the integrity of this photograph in what appeared to be part of a deliberate attempt to trivialise the excessive slope of Short Street throughout the application process.
    During the course of the hearing, the more the applicant tried to amend various issues identified by the appellants, particularly in regard to basement floor levels and ramp gradients associated with the site fall, the more additional problems would arise. So it is no surprise, that after nearly two and a half years, the development is still unable to obtain a building permit.
    The following is an extract from the original submission on behalf of a resident appeal to Vcat against Council’s approval of a planning permit, on the 25th of October, 2011, for a 14 storey apartment proposal at 20–24 Hepburn Road corner of Short Street.
    Access from Short Street
    No detail has been provided of the vehicle crossover from Short Street. It is noted from the first floor plan that the access ramp has a level of 116.20 at the property boundary, with no indication of a cross fall. The ramp has a gradient of 1:12 for the first 4 metres before changing to 1:5. However, Short Street falls at more than 1 metre over the 6 metre width of the vehicle crossover and given that the crossover will pass over a footpath along Short Street, it is difficult to see that it cannot have a cross fall at the property line, which would impact on the gradient of the ramp and cause it to be a warped plane. Details need to be provided as to how it is proposed to achieve a satisfactory vehicle entry given these difficulties.”

    During the hearing, the visitor car park level at the base of the entry ramp was lowered from 114.78 to 114.33 (i.e. 450 mm.). This means that the 1:5 ramp gradient would have to change to 1:3.256, which is far steeper than it is allowed to be. Neither of these figures of course take into account any fall across the ramp. With the gradient of Short Street being approximately 1:6 at this point and the ramp being 6 m. wide, there would be a 1 m. crossfall. It is reasonable to assume that they must maintain this crossfall, or very close to it, as there must be pedestrian/pram/wheelchair access along the boundary and 1:6 is already very steep. The base of the ramp would have no crossfall, hence my reference above to a “warped plane”. All of this means that maintaining the crossfall at the property boundary would make the level at the uphill (northern) side up to 0.5 m. higher than the 116.20 m. level at the centreline, making the gradient on that side of the ramp even more impossibly steep, up to 1:1.235.
    It should be noted that whilst the gradients quoted above are way beyond that permissible, the big problem comes with the change of gradient at the top and bottom of the ramp, particularly the bottom where vehicles would hit the roof.

    Friend of Hepburn

  2. Objector says:

    Residents are finding it difficult to engage consultants to assist in Vcat appeals because most of their work comes from developers or councils and very few want to be associated with community appeals for fear of losing potential clients.
    Most of appeals fail because residents can’t produce expert witnesses but thanks to a group of quite brilliant people, who did their own research, caught the tribunal member by surprise and rattled the developer’s consultants by the quality of their submissions. As a result there was an order issued to address an embarrassing number of mistakes they had highlighted that had to be rectified which has stalled the application for a building permit.


  3. Kelvin Wu says:

    I am astonished that this proposal made as far as the application process after supposedly being scrutinised by an advisory panel consisting of Manningham planning experts which were required to identify problems with the plan prior to a building application being formally lodged. We had requested a transcript of the minutes of this meeting but were refused on the grounds of privacy!.
    Kelvin Wu

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