Link Solutions executive director, Charles Pick, has taken the opportunity to inform our group about their redevelopment proposal at Yarra Valley Country Club (YVCC) in Bulleen, which is over 67 acres in size. The proposal has recently been supported by the City of Manningham to be referred to a State Government Committee to ensure rezoning and land swap benefits are realised. 

River Views and Open Space                                                                                             

Linked Solutions have tackled this site differently to the ‘run of the mill’ development approach many locals find incredibly frustrating. “We don’t want just another set of houses”. “We want to leave behind a lifestyle and community that benefits those living there, and the residents living nearby YVCC”.

Our key focus

As a result, we’ve focused the redevelopment on two propositions:

  • How can we create a lifestyle and community rather than just housing?
  • How can we create a lifestyle that appeals to the many locals and surrounding residents who live in large dwellings with large open spaces but are also older downsizers, ‘empty nesters’ or families with children?

We believe our redevelopment proposal provides a new model for developing sensitively along the Yarra River, and in a manner serving the needs and aspirations of the surrounding local community.

In this case, serving the needs of future residents also means producing a real alternative. for downsizers who don’t want to live in apartments.

We’re proud that our proposal focuses on reinforcing the suburban lifestyle so often ignored and snubbed by developers and town planners alike.

The main choice for ‘empty nesters’, older residents and families that desire to leave a large block with heavy maintenance demands are:

a) Move to a medium to high rise apartment building.

b) Find a smaller townhouse/house with little amenity and open space.

c) Move far away from Manningham and the eastern suburbs into new land and subdivision developments.

Aerial View of Site
Click to enlarge

Many town planners want everyone to choose the ‘new urbanism’ route of option a). They consider suburbia a mistake,they often use the language around providing ‘housing choices’. But it isn’t much of a choice without alternatives beyond option a) to c). This is why we want to deliver a lifestyle and community at YVCC, where locals can move into a premium quality large townhouses, averaging 200 sqm,surrounded by open space inside the development, and with a body corporate to deal with maintenance issues. This is our new option d) for the downsizers that want the best of all worlds.

Click to enlarge

The local families and downsizers that would live in the proposed approximately 217 townhouse development would also have special amenities. They’ll literally have the Yarra River Parklands at their doorstep, the Yarra River a stone’s throw away, and the culture of Heide Museum of Modern Art next door. And as part of the redevelopment we’re proposing several private pocket parks beyond the public open space offered, wetlands, and the shared cycling and pedestrian links the development would achieve.

We’re humble enough to admit that it’s taken years to get the concept to where we believe it’s just right.

We’ve settled on a proposal where no townhouse on this site would be higher than three stories, and below the predominant tree canopy level and we have several view cone images and drone images to prove this. Locals knowour site slopes so dramatically away from Templestowe Road towards the Yarra River that there’s going to be almost no (or very minimal) visual intrusion ofthe townhouses.All the townhouses are also proposed to be set a minimum of approximately 100 metres away from the Yarra River.

Our redevelopment delivers other benefits for locals and the wider community

In contrast with many other developers, we offer ‘give and take’ concessions that upgrade the surrounding community and road infrastructure, and that helps with the environmental pollution facing the Yarra River.And importantly, we’ve spent three years speaking with community organisations so they genuinely feel their interests have been listened to and acted upon.

 There’s very few developers seriously focused on having a real impact on the surrounding community beyond their own site boundaries. But from day one we’ve been determined to bring good things to life here.

 Gaining goodwill amongst community advocacy groups and local stakeholders is also a must on a site involving land swaps and rezoning, andrequires negotiation with multiple government stakeholders including Melbourne Water, Parks Victoria, VicRoads, Creative Victoria, the City of Manningham, and the neighbouring City of Banyule.

 This has led us to embed in-kind developer contributions into the redevelopment from the outset that addresses a range of community and environmental interests beyond the development itself.

Main Loop & Creek Trail
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To date, we’ve engaged in detailed consultation with community organisations and advocacy groups including the Templestowe Road Reference Panel, Bicycle Network, the neighbouring Heide Museum of Modern Art, the Yarra Riverkeeper Association, and the Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council.  We also carefully reviewed the positions and interests of local advocacy groups in crafting the development proposal, including Coherence.

Some of the benefits we’ve brought to the table or other community and environment groups have proposed for our redevelopment include:

  1. A land swap proposal of up to approximately 18.4 hectares of strategic public land in Bulleen for:
  2. Connecting the long envisioned Main Yarra Trail Yarra ‘Missing Links’.
  3. Creating new river parkland with enhanced ecological value.
  4. Upgrading and improving vehicle and pedestrian access along Templestowe Road.
  • Consolidating a State Tourism Hub centred on art and Indigenous culture for the neighbouring Heide Museum of Modern Art via an expanded Sculpture Park (5,100 square metres), improved access and near doubling of much needed carparks (900 square metres).
  • This land swap would be in exchange for approximately 1.58 hectares of neighbouring unused Parks Victoria land to be used in part for a public road and shared pedestrian and cycling pathway connections as well as watercourses to feed into wetlands that will clean 7.15 hectares of untreated stormwater from nearby existing housing.
  • Templestowe Road upgrades such as a new signalised intersection, pedestrian crossings and footpaths along Templestowe Road. This would resolve long-standing community and VicRoads concerns.
  • Avoiding the Stage 1 scheme planning application outcome of retaining the gaming venue, as a result of YVCC’s current zoning.
  • A Wurundjeri Land Tribe and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council strategic partnership to create Indigenous jobs (building apprenticeships and landscaping jobs) and an Indigenous themed Sculpture Park.

 One example of our local community consultation has been with the Templestowe Road Reference Panel over their long-standing advocacy for road upgrades including the development’s proposed signalised intersection and pedestrian improvements.

The need to create footpaths and traffic lights along this part of Templestowe Road has remained an advocacy issue with residents, community groups, local State MPs and Manningham Council for over a decade.

After reviewing our proposal in detail, the Templestowe Road Reference Panel (TRRP) strongly supports our proposal and a proposed State coordinated planning process.

The TRRP spokesperson Mervyn Hayman-Danker had stated in correspondence that after a review, their panel:

“… Considers that it is a well conceived Development Proposal that attempts to resolve the problems of the existing conditions … for the benefit of the Manningham community – as well as address environmental benefits (relative to the Yarra River) and improve pedestrian and bicycle links between Manningham and Banyule, relative to the surrounding area.

The opportunity to form a Planning Panel, convened by Planning Panels Victoria involving the various interested stakeholders would be a way of resolving the complexity of interests that should result in a win for Community values, a win for the State Government and it’s various Departments strategies, a win for Manningham Council and it’s interests to serve the Manningham community and a deserved win for the developers – for the community.”


Main Loop & Cycle Path
Click to enlarge

Another major example of our stakeholder led approach is our proposed connection of an important ‘missing link’ to the Main Yarra Trail through contributing our land for pedestrians and cyclists. This is something successive governments and Councils have long discussed and dreamt about in their policies. And this is why the peak Victorian cycling advocacy organisation, Bicycle Network, provided a letter of support for the proposed development after our presentations and discussions with them, stating:

“The prospect of new sections being added to the Main Yarra Trail is exciting.

The existence of golf clubs along the Yarra has been a major barrier to the development of a contiguous cycling and walking routes on the river.

Your intentions as outlined to me are therefore most welcome. It is foreseeable that people on bikes will have a convenient route into the City along the river corridor.

Especially significant is the concept of a future bridge across the Yarra to link the path networks on both sides, thus providing easy access to communities on both sides of the river.

I also note the proposals for improved local access to Heidelberg Station, the shared path on Templestowe Road and the better connection to the Heidi Art Gallery”.

We wish to eventually achieve support from Coherence and its members too.

If you have further enquiries, please feel free to contact;

Darren Ray (on 0413-334-523 or at darren@linkedsolutions.net.au)

or myself, Charles Pick, (on 0450-118-611 or at charles@linkedsolutions.net.au).



  1. Shannon says:

    We would be prepared to sell at a loss if a similar deal to this could be arranged in time. At the moment our apartment is on the market but local demand is flat and it is only overseas buyers who seem to be purchasing. Apartment living has its drawbacks such as tenants urinating and vomiting in the lifts, drug dealing and the worsening traffic noise is hard to get used to.

  2. Andrew says:

    It is about time like this for some property developments to have a good concept that might give us what we want. We will wait and see if this is half as good as promised. Othes better get the message to folow. I think much better than the high rise. We are not the city.

  3. Seldom Seen says:

    Size does matter in Australia. That is why the Manningham’s High rise strategy has been taken over by overseas buyers and builders thanks to the government lifting restriction on foreign ownership and building. Aussie first home buyers, retirees and “empty nesters” are not interested in high rise dog boxes.

    • Synstrat says:

      An early study conducted on the housing preferences of the Manningham Community indicated that only 0.9% of its residents said they would consider moving to an apartment and of those who expressed interest did not want to live into a small apartment. Had government not acted to remove restrictions on overseas buyers of Australian real estate, the Doncaster Hill Activity Centre would have been a disaster.
      The same study found that townhouses were the preferred option across all age groups because it involved less land to look after and they were a cheaper option than purchasing single dwelling on the standard block of land.

      • Pandie Son says:

        The planning minister has introduced 35% of land for minimum garden areas, applicable as from the march 27 which in some cases will result in developments having lesser site coverage because driveways and paths are excluded as well as open areas that have a roof. It could be an administrative nightmare because there are no regulations in regard to minimum paving requirements. This development looks like it will comply with its wide open areas.

  4. Anonyme says:

    They should sell these units locally…no need to go to China. Manningham do have what is called townhouse style developments but they are really five apartments stuck together on a single block. There will be plenty of people wanting to get out of high rise flats and away from the traffic congestion in Doncaster and this is at least an option as long as the town houses are not to dear.

  5. Not So Squeezy says:

    Manningham should be encouraging this type of development of away from main roads rather than their multi storey, high density apartment strategy. Doncaster could have been something special had a more conservative plan been adopted. “A place to be” they said and “a destination not just a drive through area” were some of the slogans they used in promoting it. Unfortunately it has become a road block and locals want out.

    • Badenhope says:

      Doncaster will be the slum, drug and crime area of tomorrow. Police are having to attend a housing apartment building on a nightly basis. The authority will not confirm or deny that parolees are being housed in that particular building.

  6. Rodney Hodgson says:

    This would make a complete load of rubbish to the green wedge ruling, that there is to be no housing between Bulleen road and the Yarra river.This means anyone with a enough money can throw it at government,Local councils and water authorities to have rulings that were put in place for every one over turned. D

  7. Rodney Hodgson says:

    This would make a complete load of rubbish to the green wedge and educational overlay ruling, that there is to be no housing between Bulleen road and the Yarra river.This means anyone with a enough money can throw it at state governments,Local councils and water authorities to have rulings that were put in place for every one over turned. Does this mean the house that was demolished and the land brought by parks victoria at the other end of Bulleen road can now be sold and redeveloped by the highest bidder.Fair crack of the whip leave this land under the green wedge and educational over lay which is already in place.

  8. Sue Smith says:

    Will the sonoco factory move?

  9. Linda says:

    So what happens to the bowling club members and golf club members, they just lose their community facilities? I envision a lot of very angry YVCC members getting ready for a fight!

  10. Akira Ode says:

    This project, i can guarantee will do no good for the environment and Yarra River or the ecological features present. It will ramp up pollution and add pressure on local ecosystems to survive. If your current concensus towards our environment is that it can be continualy stripped back, how long do you think we will survive before we look like barcelona or rome. Melbourne’s currently building more projects commercially at a quicker rate than any other city in the world. This project is just fat money for these developers who mention community this and that, if you ask them to name a few people who live in this community then the answer would be something like “john doe” their interests are for themselves and not for us.

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