Mitchell Street DevelopmentDespite assurances from the office of the minister for planning, Matthew Guy, that community submissions received by his office would be thoroughly examined prior to any resolution, the state planning authority had already been authorised to bypass his office and approve the Jackson Court proposal (amendment C95). Council officers had originally rejected the 19m height of this proposal but were prepared to approve a height of 14.5m and support an application to rezone the land for a mixed use category providing an area of at least 1300 m2 be reserved  for the exclusive use of a supermarket. However Manningham Coucillors were to reject their own officers advice by overturning the decision and moving that the 19m development proposal be accepted.                                             council rejection of 19m development                 Tunstall Neighbourhood Activity Centre                       

Particular concerns had been expressed in submissions about our councillors rejecting the recommendations of the council officers. This is not necessarily improper but it is a wide departure from the stated requirements of the Manningham Planning Scheme in regard to Neighbourhood Activity Centres such as the Tunstall Neighbourhood Activity centre above.

Council in rejecting the 19 m height had asserted that the local area, including the commercial centre was generally of a low scale, with construction of the shops being predominantly single and double storey in nature. Further, it  was noted that a significant number of lots to the south and west of the site have been developed with a mix of single and double storey townhouses which had limited opportunities for apartment style development on the remaining patchwork of lots. Officers had identified the areas abutting the proposed development would in effect be largely restricted to townhouse developments of up to 9 metres resulting in a significant variation in built form

R.Jay writes “It is extremely interesting that at the Manningham council meeting on 28 October 2014, councillors endorsed the Tunstall Square Draft Strategy Plan.  This plan for this activity centre, (somewhat larger than Jackson Court), totally contradicts their height acceptance endorsed by councillors for Jackson Court being 19 m. Surely this is a double standard and their 13.5 m limit should apply to all neighbourhood activity centres as recommended by council planning officers Some crucial strategy components identified for Tunstall Square Draft Strategy Plan in item 2.5 are: Proposed building heights,  apart from two sites on main road, of 13.5 metres for identified sites within the commercial precinct and one adjoining site, that will reinforce the village atmosphere, are of a high design standard and have regard to the adjoining residential area. (Jackson Court abutting residents concerns were totally ignored by councillors) Encouragement of “shop top” residential development to a maximum of 13.5 metres with appropriate upper level setbacks. It seems highly irregular that councillors have not applied the same criteria for the Jackson Court , as that that proposed for Tunstall”        


  1. Red Fury says:

    This is a classic example of throwing the baby out with the bath water. The residents get a supermarket for a limited period while the developer gets a development 19 meter high forever, 5.5 meters above the allowable heights applicable to our neighbourhood activity centres. Thanks a lot councillors!

  2. Allsop says:

    It was most inappropriate for councillors to have given such an early commitment to a developer, so remote from the planning scheme guidelines, without first discussing it with the CEO and the Manningham senior planning staff.

    The first the senior planning staff knew of the councillor’s intentions was when they were “ambushed” on the night of the council meeting when councillors rejected the report’s recommendations, which after much haggling had already increased the height to 14.5m, and moved that the height of the development be further increased to 19m.

    Council planning staff had provided regular briefings to discuss this application, which is part of the council’s assessment process, giving councillors the opportunity to raise concerns before preparing the report.

    Councillors had ample opportunity to do so well before the preparation and publishing of the report in the agenda and were all present at the Strategic Briefing Session (SBS) and also represented at the Sustainable Design Task Force but had raised no concerns with the officers assessment.

    Councillors had a responsibility to the community, and their fellow councillors and council officers to work cooperatively to implement the Council Plan and the MSS and should have responded appropriately.

  3. Friend of Jackson says:

    It must have been humiliating for the planning department, who had already completed a report recommending a height of 14.5m after spending more than $11,000 on engaging an urban planning consultant. The consultant had recommended a height of 14.5m across the entire area of Jackson Court providing all properties in the shopping centre equal opportunity for redevelopment as well as respecting the low scale villa unit development abutting the proposal.

    Even more embarrassing was when the planning department were forced to back flip and trash the consultant’s report and rewrite the council agenda supporting the 19m height councillors had “negotiated” without its knowledge.

    1. David says:

      If councillors can indicate an approval for a major development and the rezoning of the land on which it is proposed, far outside the terms and conditions of a planning scheme, without first discussing it with council planners, then we have a problem.

  4. graeme says:

    observation from Manningham resident
    Very interesting observations and comments that are all valid, however they are too little, too late to have an influence on the outcome. It appears the residents have been sold out by most of our Councillors in favour of big development that overturns council planning officer’s assessment. The current planning minister in this week’s Manningham Leader, stated
    “It’s taken this government, me, as minister, to actually define areas with council, of population change, so that inappropriate development is once and for all taken out of quiet neighbourhood streets,’ Mr Guy said.
    He said Manningham’s neighbourhood residential zone, was at risk of being “ripped up and replaced” with a zone encouraging “greater density and inappropriate development”. ”
    One can only hope his decision on the Mitchell St C95 proposal actually reflects his above statement.
    Where to from here, watch out for more inappropriate development in Manningham

  5. Tammy says:

    I cannot understand why the councillors overturned the planning department’s recommendations.–it makes no sense. After all their officers had already responded to the community’s request to enable the developer to include a supermarket in the building by agreeing to rezone the land to mixed use. They even went as far as recommending a building height of 14.5 metres, almost twice the height as any other building in the shopping centre. In addition, the officers had agreed that the owner could include a restaurant, a conference centre and apartments, and as it was later revealed, at least 6 shops alongside the supermarket. So why would councillors want the height of the building extended to a height 19 metres after so much had been conceded to the developer?

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