These articles have been published in the Hobsons Bay Leader.
Woollen Mills report released
THE planning advisory committee’s report on the proposed development at the former Port Phillip Woollen Mills site in Williamstown was released today – nearly seven months after it was completed.
The 210-page report, dated May 10, 2011, was released by Planning Minister Matthew Guy today (Monday) and is likely to help shape any decision made on development of the 2.7ha site, which was rezoned from light industrial to residential in 2010.
Developer Nelson Place Village Pty Ltd has proposed a 451-dwelling, 46.5m high development on the site.
But while the report welcomes denser development than local planning controls presently allow, it recommends height restrictions of up to 25m.
The report also supports:
The concept of series of laneways running through the site;
A community infrastructure levy of $900 per dwelling; and
A community meeting room of 100sq m.
The report states that a Design and Development Overlay (DDO), which applies to the site, is the right choice of planning control but suggests that it would need “substantial modification” to encompass the panel’s recommendations.
The report also recommends that the Planning Minister be the responsible authority for deciding whether or not to grant planning permits for the site, but Mr Guy announced this morning he would hand that power back to Hobsons Bay Council.
A spokesman for Mr Guy said the minister accepted all the report’s recommendations except the one that made him the responsible authority and he would expect the council to take the recommendations into consideration when assessing planning permits.
The council has been contacted for comment.
Hobsons Bay to make call on high-rise development
UPDATE 3pm: PLANNING Minister Matthew Guy has confirmed Hobsons Bay Council will have the power to decide the future of the former Port Phillip Woollen Mills site in Williamstown.
The land is owned by Nelson Place Village Pty Ltd, which is seeking to build a 451-dwelling, 13-storey development on the 2.7ha site.
Mr Guy today announced that, despite a planning advisory committee’s recommendation that he be the responsible authority for the site, he would hand control back to the council.
“The Government was elected to listen to people of Victoria and that’s precisely what we’re doing,” Mr Guy said.
“This is a clear example where there is a role not only for local council and the local community to have their say and, hopefully, come up with a development which not only allows for growth and jobs, but also produces an outcome which residents and those visiting the area believe is a positive addition and not something that detracts from the community’s amenity.”
The minister’s spokesman, Nicholas McGowan, said the community and the council deserved the opportunity to be involved in the decision-making process.
“A critical aspect of the (minister’s) decision is to restore the involvement of the local council and most importantly, the local community,” Mr McGowan said.
“That was the drive in making the decision he has.”
Mr Guy today released the advisory committee’s report and Mr McGowan said the council would need to consider the committee’s recommendations during the planning approvals process.
“The rest of the report is accepted as presented,” Mr McGowan said.
“The minister has accepted those, sothe council will need to take those into consideration. We hope they will welcome those.”
Williamstown Labor MP Wade Noonan, who made a submission to the committee, welcomed the release of the report.
“I’m very pleased that the report picks up many of the recommendations from our joint submission, including the references to the design review panel, social infrastructure, and industry interface issues,” Mr Noonan said.
EARLIER REPORT, 11.43am: A REPORT that the Planning Minister plans to hand the decision-making power for a proposed 13-storey development at the former Port Phillip Woollen Mills in Williamstown back to Hobsons Bay Council has caught the main players by surprise.
The report in today’s Herald Sun states that Planning Minister Matthew Guy will pass responsibility for approving or refusing the development back to the council.
But a spokesman for the developer, Nelson Place Village, said it had not yet received any official confirmation from the Baillieu Government about the decision.
“We haven’t seen any official confirmation so we’re reluctant to comment until we do,” spokesman Ashley Williams said.
Save Williamstown spokesman and community advocate Godfrey Moase said he was awaiting official notice but he cautiously welcomed the news.
“The community views it as a victory for local democracy that this is coming back to council,” Mr Moase said.
“I thought there had been an overwhelming community response about this and I think that it was only a matter of time until the State Government had to listen to the views and feelings of the community.
“It never should have gone to State Government in the first place.”
Western Metropolitan Greens MP Colleen Hartland said although she had not heard officially, she would be pleased to see power returned to the council.
“It’s what should happen with these projects,” Ms Hartland said.
“Councils are the best placed to make these decisions.”
Former Planning Minister Justin Madden took control of the decision away from the council in March 2010 when he rezoned the 2.7ha parcel of land for residential use and appointed an independent advisory committee to recommend planning controls for the site.
The committee sat for 15 days and heard more than 145 submissions earlier this year.
Following the hearing, the committee produced a report for Mr Guy which has not yet been released to the public.
Mr Guy, the Department of Planning and Community Development and Hobsons Bay Council have been contacted for comment.