STOP PRESS: Kew Cottages Public Meeting: 7pm Wed 26th Feb 2020 – Important Information Update – All Welcome.

KCC_2020_Feb_Newsletter_onlinecopy

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Vale Max Jackson, Former CEO of Kew Cottages

201703019_maxjcottages_theagePhoto: Max Jackson , The Melbourne Age, Mar 2017

Sad news from Kew Cottages Coalition

Max Jackson, Former CEO of Kew Cottages, and a founding member of the KCC has died of cancer at Cabrini Hospital in Melbourne.

“Max was a lovely guy and terrific advocate for the intellectually disabled. Max was a fantastic supporter of the KCC and all that we are fighting for,”  said Brian Walsh, President, Kew Cottages Coalition.

“Max never complained about his illness. He was always there when others needed help. The Kew Cottages Coalition will forever be in his debt,” Brian said.

When The Sunday Age ran its  front page story , “Where’s the Money from Kew Cottages” in March 2017, Max was there among the dilapidated heritage buildings to tell The Age and Victorian taxpayers how they had all been dudded by successive governments.

Max explained that, “The Kew project was supposed to be the revitalisation of disability services.”

“However, standing on the periphery of the redevelopment it appears that transparency has been the loser, and Walker the big winner.”

“This government has an opportunity to rectify a lack of transparency by successive governments and ministers,” Max  said.

He called on the Andrews government to “come clean”.

The Sunday Age Editorial said Max was right on the money..

” ….If the government truly wishes to learn from the experience of the development at Kew Cottages, an independent inquiry should be established into the outcome. At the very least, the auditor-general should be asked to examine the circumstances surrounding the deal.” 

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/kew-cottages-deal-must-be-examined-20170317-gv0ggd.html

>Read More

 

 

 

 

 

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30 April 2019 – Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, says proposed apartments completion due by 31 Dec 2020

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Walkers gets a warning for breaching the Heritage Act yet again…

20190225Gmail_HV2KCC_Response_to unauthorised_works_at_Kew_Cottages

20190225Gmail_HV2KCC_Response_to unauthorised_works_at_Kew_Cottages

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STOP PRESS: Kew Cottages Public Meeting: 7pm Tues 26th Feb 2019 – Important Information Update – All Welcome.

KCC_2019_Feb_Newsletter_online

Download Print Version here 
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Parks under pressure.

Kew Cottages Coalition Media Release
www.kew.org.au
Release Date: 26 April 2018
Renewed threat to Kew Cottages Parkland

Heritage Victoria’s second formal Permit refusal to allow a developer’s plans to build within the tree lined avenue approach to the former Willsmere Hospital is set to be reviewed by Heritage Council Victoria. (See Herald Sun / Progress Leader 31 Oct 2017)

Sydney billionaire developer, Lang Walker, has lodged an appeal against Heritage Victoria’s insistence that the whole of the avenue approach to Willsmere must be properly restored as parkland.

Brian Walsh, President, Kew Cottages Coalition, said today that, “Walker Corporation now appears to have spent over a decade trying to find ways to legally encroach upon this fabulous piece of public parkland.”

This is the Sydney developer’s fourth attempt to overcome the long standing Heritage permit conditions imposed on the Main Drive Kew housing estate development.

“It’s now gone beyond a joke”, Mr. Walsh, said. “Nothing surprises me any more.

“It appears to me that if developers have enough money, and access to Government bodies then they can go on appealing against the umpire for ever !

“One problem appears to be that although all of the land in question is still public land Walker has been permitted to use a temporary site office on part of it.

“Now Walker appear to be acting as though that temporary site office gives them ‘squatters rights’ !

” This is very strange, because I understand both the developer and the Government gave an undertaking to Heritage Victoria over a decade ago that they would remove the site office, and fully restore the parkland by 2012.

” Perhaps Walker are hoping that the Andrews Government has quietly forgotten all about that promise made to the people of Victoria way back in 2005 ?” Mr. Walsh said.
“This application is also frustrating because it directly stops the creation of the new Kew Arboretum that has been proposed by the Kew Cottages Coalition and mirrors the initial vision of Baron Sir Ferdinand von Mueller who designed this area (and the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria).”

The Heritage Council will hold a Public Hearing commencing on the 18th June 2018 to review Heritage Victoria’s rejection of Walker’s application to build private apartments on the parkland.

For more information:
Brian Walsh
President
Kew Cottages Coalition
M. 0414 979 300
W. www.kew.org.au

Heritage Council of Victoria
T. 03 9651 5061
W. http://heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au

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Fraud and Corruption Control

VAGO_logox200

The Victorian Auditor General, Andrew Greaves,  has reported to Parliament on

Fraud and Corruption Control

The Report includes  recommendations following his assessment of Major Projects Victoria (MPV)

The Auditor General says that:

“… MMRA and MPV were included in this audit because their work involves high-risk factors for fraud and corruption, including:

• high levels of procurement
• use of contractors
• partnerships with the private sector.”

Read More >>

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Political donation standards may change in Victoria | The Age

Political donation standards may change in Victoria

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An Open Letter to the Minister for Major Projects

20170703_An Open Letter to the Minister for Major Projects

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STOP PRESS: Editorial

Call for independent Inquiry into Walker Development

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ENotice: Invitation to ‘Round the Bend’ Exhibition Opening 6pm Fri 3 March – Kew Court House RSVP M. 0438 370 967

KEWfest 1974-2017
3-19 MARCH

Kew Festival Program​

For further information on KCC ENotices please contact:
Brian Walsh,
President,
Kew Cottages Coalition
T: 0414 979 300
Website: www.kew.org.au

If you do not wish to receive further email information from KCC please reply to admin@kew.org.au with the words ‘CANCEL EMAIL’ in the subject line.

If you have friends who do wish to receive KCC ENotices please ask them to email

* admin@kew.org.au with the word "SUBSCRIBE’ in the subject line.

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STOP PRESS: Kew Public Meeting: 7pm Thurs 23rd Feb 2017 – Important Information Update

kcc2017febnewsletterLink: www.kew.org.au

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Major Projects Victoria (MPV) Revives Walker Contract: 9 December 2016

20161209_6thvariationsigned_43-37

Kew Residential Services Development Agreement:  Expired 27 October 2016

Sixth Deed of Variation Signed: 9 December 2016

Published Vic Gov CPS:  January 2017

Link: Victorian Government Contract Publishing System Website (CPS)

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Walker Kew Cottages Contract Expired 27 Oct 2016

20161221_cps_krscontract_expirednotice

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Walker Corporation withdraws its high-rise Heritage Permit Appeal: Public Hearing Cancelled

Wooden Horse

Wooden Horse

The Heritage Council of Victoria has cancelled the final day of their Kew Cottages appeal Public Hearing that was scheduled to be held tomorrow Friday 6th May 2016. The cancellation follows Walker Corporation’s sudden withdrawal of their Permit appeal to the Heritage Council. (Link: here)

Kew Cottages Coalition President, Brian Walsh, said today,”There has been an enormous amount of public opposition to Walker’s proposal. The message is clear. ‘Building high-rise on Melbourne parkland is just not on.’

“It appears now that Walker Corporation finally realised they were not going to win their appeal to the Victorian Heritage watchdog. So they have made a sensible decision to withdraw.

“I sincerely hope the Andrews Government has also made a sensible decision, and told both Walker and Major Projects Victoria (MPV) to stop wasting more time, and to now just get on with the job of properly restoring the State Heritage listed buildings and parkland at Kew Cottages before the Government Contract with Walker Corporation expires in October this year.

“It is time for MPV and Walker to finally deliver on the Government’s long standing State Heritage commitments at Kew Cottages, for the sake of all Victorians” Mr. Walsh said.

Background.
Last year Sydney based developer, Walker Corporation, was refused heritage approval to build blocks of high-rise apartments on the parkland next to Main Drive Kew and Willsmere.

Walker appealed the decision to the Heritage Council. The Council appointed a Panel to hear Walker’s Appeal. Public Hearings commenced, and were due to resume in February. However, Walker claimed that it wasn’t getting a fair hearing. Walker applied for the Heritage Council to be reconstituted, and for the whole Appeal process to be re-started.

On 24 February 2016, the day after the Progress Leader broke this story, a packed Public Meeting at the Kew Civic Centre called on the Andrews Government “to direct Walker Corporation to withdraw its application for the Heritage Council to be reconstituted.”

On March 10 2016 the Heritage Council announced that it had rejected Walker’s application for the Panel to be reconstituted, reset the Permit Appeal Public Hearing date to 6th May, and requested final submissions be lodged by 28th April.

**

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Kew Cottages developers claim Heritage Council of Victoria panel ‘lacked planning law expertise’ | HeraldSun

Brian Walsh

Kew Cottages Coalition president Brian Walsh said if the Heritage Council panel considering the cottages’ redevelopment was thrown out it would have set a “terrible precedent”. Picture: Susan Windmiller

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/inner-east/kew-cottages-developers-claim-heritage-council-of-victoria-panel-lacked-planning-law-expertise/news-story/89aa9dbb9cb200374a0237921dfd37e6

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Kew Cottages project decision delayed | HeraldSun

Brian Walsh, head of Kew Cottages Coalition. Picture: Susan Windmiller.

THE fate of a controversial building proposed for the former Kew Cottages site will remain unknown for a while longer after the developer applied to change the make-up of a Heritage Council of Victoria panel…  More..

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STOP PRESS: Kew Public Meeting: Wed 24 Feb 2016 – Important Information Update

KCC 2016 Feb Newsletter

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Kew Cottages Heritage Council Hearing Postponed

Monday 15th February 2016

Walker Corporation/Kew Development Corporation
have submitted an Application
for the Heritage Council to be Reconstituted.

 

Public Hearing Postponed
The Heritage Council has, therefore, determined to adjourn the final day of the hearing scheduled for today  Monday 15 February 2016, to allow time for consideration of the application, and any material submitted by parties in relation to it. (More… )

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Kew Cottages Coalition Heritage Submission: The Constant Gardner – Abraham Morrison

 

 Links: Including Print and Visual Materials.

  1. KCC  Heritage Submission: The Constant Gardner_Feb 2016_pp18 (PDF File)

2. Melbourne Leader,   Gardens of  The Kew Asylum,  1881-1885 (PDF File)

3. Impact of  The Proposed Development – Visual Materials:

a) Kristian Grayson, Balloon-Assisted Building Visualisation (PDF File)

b) KCC,  Drone-Assisted Main Drive Kew Visualisation  (YouTube Video 4:36m)

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Heritage Council: Kew Cottages Coalition Submission in Reply (Email 1 of 2)

To: Rhonda McLaren, Heritage Council Victoria
Re: Permit appeal Kew Cottages (H2073)
From: Brian Walsh, President, Kew Cottages Coalition.
Date: 30 Nov 2015

Dear Ms. McLaren,

I enclose the Kew Cottages Coalition reply to the Permit Appellant.

Yours sincerely,

Brian Walsh
President
Kew Cottages Coalition

M. 0414 979 300
W. www.kew.org.au
t_mini-a.pngtwitter.com/kewcottages

enc:

KEW COTTAGES COALITION SUBMISSION IN REPLY

1. Introduction.

We understand that:

  • Major Projects Victoria (MPV) own the Kew Cottages Government Heritage site that is the subject of the current appeal, and that as owner MPV is ultimately responsible for all works on the site to be undertaken in accordance with the Heritage Act;
  • MPV have contracted Walker Corporation to develop the site on their behalf, and lodge this appeal.

According to the Appellant’s submission, MPV “remains supportive of the project”. [PP01(3)]

At the outset, therefore, we wish to make clear that while we have the greatest respect for the Appellant, their sub-contractors, counsel, and expert witnesses, in our submission MPV’s support for this project is not in the accordance with Government Heritage policy, is not in the public interest, and can only serve to bring the management of Victorian Government Heritage into disrepute.

2. Potential Breaches of S74A and S160.

Indeed, as detailed in our earlier submission, on the basis of the documentation made available to this appeal, and our own inquiries, the owner of the site appears to have potentially breached both S74A and S160 of the Act by

a) Non compliance with Permit 9639 by undertaking the Stage 1 and Stage 2 works, without first obtaining the Executive Director’s written approval for the Comrpehensive Landscape Management Plan and drawings as required by Condition 9 of Permit P9639;

b) Non Compliance with Permit 9639 by demolishing Heritage Building B2 Cottage (House Hostel), B4 Cottage (Unit 11) , and B5 Female Hospital Block (Unit 9) in a manner other than that prescribed in Permit P9639, i.e.: without satisfactory completion of the owner’s undertaking provided in their P9639 Application by Ms. Helen Gardner. (HLCD Pty Ltd, May 2005,HIS S.6.3) including:

c) Failing to obtain the Executive Director of Heritage Victoria’s written approval for drawings to show any works required to the land between Main Drive and Oak Walk (i.e.: Stage 8, the subject site of the current appeal). (P9639. HCLD Pty Ltd HIS 6.3 see Extract below)

Conditions specified in S.6.3 include:

Detailed drawings to show any works required to the road or pathway alignment of F4 Main Drive, F5 Boundary Drive, F6 Lower Drive and F7 Oak Walk or their vicinity, including measures to be taken to lessen the impact on significant landscape features, including avenues, trees, concrete lamp posts and lights, and glazed spoon drainage tiles on Oak Walk. [Permit Application P9639 (HIS6.3)

 

d) Allowing the remaining heritage buildings to fall into disrepair; and
c) Allowing the Appellant to ‘squat’  on the subject site of this appeal, to the extent that the conservation of the Main Drive and Oak Walk Avenues  has been threatened by this Permit Application and Appeal.
We say this is a fundamental issue, and respectfully request that it  be dealt with first as a matter of urgency, because if we are correct, then this whole appeal is based on a false assumption, namely that a breach of the Act has not already taken place.
If we are wrong regarding the above matters. then we submit as follows:
 

3. Chronology [5]

It appears that the Appellant has failed to provide an accurate and complete Heritage Permit Inventory. For example no Permits are listed supporting the commencement of the re-development in 2006. This is significant because it goes to the question as to whether the owner breached Condition 9 of P9639 by commencing the re-development in mid 2006.

Indeed, we note that the owner and Appellant were actually prosecuted by Boroondara Council in 2006 for effectively “jumping the gun” and commencing building works in Stage 1 without first obtaining the necessary permits. (VCAT 2006)

We request, therefore, that an adequate and comprehensive chronology be provided listing all relevant events regarding the commencement of re-development on the site, including applications, permits, and approvals that were in force at the time redevelopment commenced in Stage 1 and/or elsewhere on the site, plus an explanation as to:

  1. What permit conditions had not been satisfied, and why ? (Ref P9639 Condition 9)
  2. What required permits had not actually been obtained when the re-development commenced and why ? (Ref VCAT 2006)
  3. What were the grounds for the subsequent sacking of the KDC Project Manager, Kevin Hunt, by Walker Corporation ?
  4. On whose authority was the redevelopment commenced ?
  5. Did redevelopment commence before the Appellant signed the KRS Redevelopment Contract with the Victorian Government on 27 October 2006 ?
  6. If so, why ? And who was responsible for ensuring all Heritage Permit Conditions were properly complied with prior to 27 October 2006 ?

Reason. It appears the re-development commenced during a time of great confusion before the Walker KRS Contract was even signed, and before significant permit conditions had been properly complied with.

As a consequence the comprehensive Landscape Management Plan for the land between Main Drive and Oak Walk that the owner had undertaken to prepare and submit for the approval of the Executive Director of Heritage Victoria before re-development commenced in 2006 was not submitted and, therefore, not approved.

4. The Application

The Appellant makes reference [para 18] to Boroondara Council and the recent VCAT decision and “a large parcel of privately owned land to the south of the Kew Cottages site, 48 Wills Street.

However, we understand from Boroondara Council that most of the Appellants assertions regarding 48 Wills Street are essentially wrong.

We respectfully request, therefore, that any errors or omissions be corrected by the Appellant in concert with Boroondara Council, and that parties be advised accordingly.

5. Status of the Site Concept Plan.

The Appellant makes reference [paras 20-29] to the expiry of Permit 9639 and asserts:

….that the Site Concept Plan should not be given any more relevance than simply an

indication as part of a set of endorsed plans of an intended form of development more than

10 years ago…. [Para 25]

We say, however, that compliance and NOT currency is the issue that needs to be addressed.

We submit that as the owner appears to have significantly failed to comply with the terms and conditions of Permit 9639 at the outset, i.e.: before commencing re-development, significant weight should be given to that potential breach of the act.

Similarly, as Government Heritage Assets are involved, the Heritage Council should have regard to Government Heritage Management Policy. (HC46, 3,4,5)

We recommend that the Heritage Council seek an explanation for the Government’s failure to comply with Permit Condition 9 (P9639) from the responsible Government parties, including DHS, MPV, and the Secretary of the Department of Economic Development, before making a ruling on this matter.

Pending a decision on the latter we say:

That if the owner had acted responsibly and properly complied with Condition 9 of Permit P9639 then:

A comprehensive Landscape Management Plan, that included the island site between Main Drive and Oak Walk would have been produced by the owner and submitted for approval by the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria, before Stage 1 works commenced in 2006;

For approval the Plan was required to incorporate:

  • All the significant trees between Main Drive and Oak Walk, including Tree 160 (subsequently removed without a permit by the owner)
  • The hard landscape elements of F4 main Drive and F7 oak Walk, including the gutters and lampposts
  • All other retained trees
  • A proposal for removing the former Administration Building, and proposals for
  • Re-instatement Avenue planting in the gap left by the latter building
  • Any fencing treatments fronting F4 Main Drive, and F7 Oak Walk and the Public Open space areas
  • Full details of the proposed landscape treatment of the public open spaces, including the landscape treatment of the heritage core area, and proposed play equipment, furniture, lighting…

Reason. To ensure that the proposed landscape treatment of the public open space, re-instatement of trees, and fencing is appropriate and sympathetic to the existing landscape, and to ensure the existing trees and proposed landscaping for the site is maintained into the future. (P9639 Condition 9)

An endorsed Comprehensive Landscape Management Plan would have thereby precluded any new buildings on the island site between Main Drive and Oak Walk in accord with Permit P9639

However, such a Plan could have reasonably provided for the re-instatement of the original Main Drive Gateway at the entrance from Princess Street, as envisaged in the Kew Cottages Coalition Nomination (2004).

Moved to Victoria Park, Kew circa 1940, the Gateway is now being restored in situ. Our attempts to have the historic Gateway returned to Main Drive having fallen on deaf ears. We understand that neither the owner or the Appellant had any interest in restoring the Gateway to Main Drive. (See Appendix)

6. Location of the Proposed Apartment Building

The Appellant asserts that:

… there is simply no support for the proposition that

the development of a single apartment building, with a much smaller overall footprint and at

an overall height less than contemplated in the Site Concept Plan, could be said to be more

detrimental to the significant cultural heritage values of both Kew Cottages and Willsmere

merely by reason of it being located adjacent to the realigned access road which did not

exist at the time of operation of Willsmere and the Kew Cottages. [29 emphasis added]

However, in our submission the Appellant’s assertion that Main Drive is a

... realigned access road which did not exist at the time of operation of Willsmere and the Kew Cottages.

is simply wrong.

This is a significant error and should be corrected in accordance with the Kew Cottages Statement of Significance (F4 Main Drive).

Similarly, the Appellant appears more than somewhat confused regarding the significance of Main Drive when they assert that the Heritage Victoria officer is “misdirected” in his statements regarding Main Drive access to the Kew Asylum [31]

Suffice here to say that we support the officer’s comments, and submit that the Appellant’s assertions have no substance. [31,32]

7. Material and Expert Evidence.

We have the highest respect for the professional competence of the experts referred to by the Appellant.

However, the suggestion by the Appellant that John Patrick and Bryce Rayworth have had no previous involvement in the application appears disingenuous to a degree.

As the Appellant will be aware, both consultants were engaged by their Kew Cottages PPP partner, i.e.: the owner, the State Government, over a decade ago when the Planning Minister ‘called in’ the project and removed planning responsibility from Boroondara Council.

That in turn then meant that the Government became the owner, the developer, and the regulator of the Kew Cottages re-development.

Which as a former Mayor of Boroondara, Mr. Jack Wegman, said at the time was like, “putting Dracula in charge of the Blood Bank !”

We, therefore, include here for completeness the original Kew Cottages reports prepared by John Patrick and Bryce Rayworth for the Government

. (See attached)

Both reports refer to Main Drive and its significance with respect to re-development.

8. Conclusion.

On the one hand the Appellant appears to have made a number of unhelpful and mischievous assertions with regard to the competence of Heritage Victoria’s Permit Application assessment process.

However, on the other hand the Appellant now appears keen to cultivate and promote a degree of ignorance about not only how Permit P9639 came into existence, but also of the chaotic circumstances which surrounded the redevelopment at the time.

For example the Appellant appears to have conveniently forgotten that they supported the owner’s argument made to Heritage Victoria at the time that to re-develop the site it was necessary for financial reasons to not only:

  1. Demolish 50% of the Heritage Buildings; but also
  2. Build apartment blocks at, and only at, the specific locations shown on the ‘Site Concept Plan’ (Masterplan) prepared by the Appellant.

Similarly, when by way of objection, the Kew Cottages Coalition submitted alternative proposals for the location of the proposed apartment blocks, both the Government and Walker Corporation were adamant that the proposed apartment blocks could not be moved from the specific locations shown on the Site Concept Plan that they themselves had prepared.

The Government and Appellant themselves, therefore, were the ones responsible for the island site on Main Drive being excluded from the specific locations proposed by them for apartments in the Site Concept Plan.

The Government, as owner, was successful in its permit application, and the Site Concept Plan was endorsed as part of Permit P9639.

The Government, as owner of the Heritage Assets was thereby given permission to demolish 50% of the remaining Heritage Buildings, but only on the specified terms and conditions as discussed in our submission.

We have concluded that the Government subsequently not only failed to abide by the terms and conditions set out in Permit P939, but has also:

  1. Allowed the remaining Heritage Buildings to fall into disrepair; and
  2. Failed to maintain that part of the Main Drive and Oak Walk Avenues occupied by the Appellant’s administration office, to the extent that the conservation of this island site is now seriously threatened. (See Attached images plus Google Streetview https://goo.gl/maps/uGpzJGeczCy )

We respectfully submit, therefore , that the Heritage Council should:

  1. Reject the current Appeal; and
  2. Take action pursuant to S.66 of The Act to ensure this ‘island site’ is returned to its former appearance in accordance with Permit P9639 without further delay.

==

APPENDIX

Links to:

Attachments 1 -10

Please see Email 2 of 2.

 

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“Walker’s Wooden Horse Appeal” – Kew Cottages Coalition Submission to Heritage Council, Nov 2015. ( Email 1 of 2.)

To: Rhonda McLaren, Hearings Coordinator, Heritage Council Victoria.
Re: Permit Appeal Kew Cottages (H2073)
From: Brian Walsh, President, Kew Cottages Coalition

Date: 9 Nov 2015

Walker’s Wooden Horse Appeal.
A Submission to the Heritage Council of Victoria
Kew Cottages Coalition
Nov 2015

1. Introduction

The Kew Cottages Coalition supports the Executive Director’s decision to refuse Walker Corporation’s Heritage Permit Application P22396.

This submission is in addition to, and is to be read in conjunction with our earlier submissions on this matter, including:

  1. “Objection to Heritage Permit Application P22396 ( To:Heritage Victoria Feb 2015)
  2. “Beware Developers Bearing Gifts” (To: Heritage Council Aug 2015)
  3. “Objection to Amended Plans” (To: Heritage Council Oct 2015)
  4. “Application for Directions” (To: Heritage Council Oct 2015)

Copies of the above documents, and other supporting material are available online via our website www.kew.org.au (See Links below).

2. Matters for Consideration (Sect 73)

2.1 VCAT Planning Decision (Sep 2015)

This submission is made following the planning decision by VCAT in September 2015 to direct the Minister for Planning to amend the Walker Development Plan- Kew (2006), and to give planning permission for Walker’s proposed Stage 8 apartment blocks.

The question now arises as to whether the VCAT Planning decision should be a matter for consideration by the Heritage Council in this Appeal, and if so what weight, if any should be given to that Planning decision.

For example, the suggestion has been made that VCAT’s Planning decision will give the Heritage Council grounds to accept Walker’s Heritage Permit Appeal, by in turn now amending the Kew Cottages Heritage Site Concept plan, that was endorsed as part of Heritage Permit 9639 in Sep 2005.

However, in our respectful submission the VCAT Planning decision is with regard to s73(1A)(b) of the Act simply not a “relevant matter” for consideration, and thereby not relevant to Walker’s Appeal to the Heritage Council because:

  1. State Planning approvals and State Heritage approvals are subject to two separate and distinct Acts of Parliament;
  2. The Kew Cottages Heritage Permit 9639 Site Concept Plan, and Conditions (2005), predate the Walker Development Plan – Kew (2006), and are in no way varied by VCAT, nor subject to amendment in this Heritage Permit Appeal.
  3. The Executive Director’s decision (5/15) to refuse Walker’s Stage 8 Heritage Permit Application predates the VCAT Planning decision (9/15) to vary the Walker Development Plan – Kew.

However, if we are wrong, and the Heritage Council chooses to consider the VCAT Planning decision, then we say that when the primary matters to be considered pursuant to s.73(1)(a) , s.73(1)(c), s.73(1)(f), and S73(1A) of the Act are taken to account, including the significant impact of the proposal on the cultural heritage significance of both of the two adjacent Registered Places (Kew Cottages, and Willsmere), then the recent VCAT Planning decision will be found to be of little assistance, and it will be clear that from a heritage perspective a very different outcome is required.

2.2 Main Drive Avenue of Trees Buffer Zone

We believe that the primary matters to be considered, for example, should include the nature and extent of an appropriate buffer zone each side of the Main Drive and Oak Walk Avenues of Trees, as set out in our original nomination, and as evident in:

  • The Urban Design Framework ( Built Form at Edge Condition, Yarra Bend Connection, p.13, Oct 2003)
  • The Statements of Significance (2004);
  • Heritage Permit P9639 and Endorsed Plans (2005);
  • The Executive Director’s Refusal to grant a permit for the construction of a five storey apartment building on land bounded by Main Drive and Oak Walk (2015);

2.3 History of Registration

The Kew Cottages Coalition nominated the Double Avenue of Trees on Main Drive for State Heritage listing in January 2004. (Copy attached)

We said that:

2.3.1 Extent of Nomination (2004)

The land shall include a buffer zone each side of Main Drive extending from Princess Street to the intersection with Boundary Road in the west, at the south-eastern corner of the Willsmere development. The northern boundary of the buffer zone shall be ten metres north of the centre-line of the outer northern row of trees. The southern boundary of the buffer zone shall be formed by the rear of properties facing Wills Street, or ten metres from the centre-line of the southern row of trees.

Similarly, shortly, thereafter, Ms. Louise Godwin, Executive Director, Kew Cottages Parents Association nominated all six of the original Cottages that still remained on the site for State Heritage listing.

In August 2004 Mr. Ray Tonkin, Executive Director, Heritage Victoria subsequently recommended to the Heritage Council that Kew Cottages and all of the grounds should be registered

At its meeting of 15 November 2004 the Registration Committee of the Heritage Council resolved to include the Former Kew Cottages (Kew Residential Services) in the Victorian Heritage Register under S.42(1)(b) of the Heritage Act. The Committee determined that all of the land and the specific buildings and landscape features (including trees) in the Executive Director’s registration should be included in the Victorian Heritage Register.

2.4 Owner has allowed Heritage Fabric to Fall into Disrepair. (S.160)

It is significant, therefore, to note that now almost 11 years to the day after that historic Heritage Council decision, it is precisely those particular Kew Cottages landscape features and buildings first nominated, that appear to be now the most at risk from the combined threats posed by the owner’s neglect and the appellant’s commercial activities i.e.:

  1. The Main Drive Avenue of Trees and buffer zone that the Kew Cottages Coalition nominated are now seriously threatened by Walker’s proposal, and
  2. The Heritage listed buildings that still remain (now sadly reduced from 6 to 3) have been allowed to fall into disrepair as a result of the owner’s long standing and what appears to be carefully cultivated neglect.

2.5 Owner has breached Government Heritage Policy.

We believe that owner’s long standing practice of supporting Walker’s commercial interests at the expense of Government Heritage conservation is a relevant matter for the Heritage Council in terms of S.73(1)(f) because the owner’s neglect of Kew Cottages Government heritage conservation to date appears to have been actively compounded by a strategy of:

  1. Failing to monitor compliance with permit conditions; (2005-2015)
  2. Seeking inappropriate and informal approvals designed to help reduce heritage conservation in favour of commercial gain; (See: Ombudsman’s Report 2010) )
  3. Amending contractual arrangements in order to help minimise the developer’s heritage conservation responsibilities; (See Fourth Deed of Variation, Walker KRS Contract, 2014)
  4. Amending contractual arrangements in order to effectively barter Government Heritage assets in exchange for developer’s commercial risk; (2014)
  5. Making a contractual undertaking to the developer to endeavour to obtain the return to the State of the $800,000 Heritage Guarantee from Heritage Victoria. (2014)

These practices might perhaps be more understandable if they were open and transparent, and undertaken in accordance with the Victorian Government Cultural Heritage Asset Management Principles adopted by the Heritage Council at its meeting on 6 September 2007.

However, that is clearly not the case at Kew Cottages.

In our submission there has been a long standing absence of transparency in terms of both the informal advice, and compliance exemptions sought on behalf of the owner from Government regulatory agencies, as well as serious criticism from the Auditor General regarding the management practices of Major Projects Victoria (2012 and 2015),

As a consequence many significant trees have been damaged or destroyed since the re-development commenced, and the Ombudsman has reported to Parliament that Heritage Victoria is inadequately funded to monitor compliance with permit conditions at Kew Cottages. In his Report he said:

A considerable amount of time was expended by Heritage Victoria officers in handling the compliance issues following the issue of permits at the Kew site. It is clear that this role has been a reactive one, responding to residents’ concerns about actions undertaken by the developer. Indeed, had the residents not reported issues, it appears quite possible that further damage could have occurred to heritage listed trees. The Executive Director, Heritage Victoria acknowledged this and stated that he is not resourced to proactively inspect and monitor compliance with heritage permits. (p.76 2010)

2.6 Conservation Risk Management (S.73(1)(f))

The risk, therefore, to the long term conservation of the land between Main Drive and Oak Walk, and indeed the heritage fabric of the site overall appears to be unacceptably high,

We understand that the Heritage Act requires owners to maintain registered places to the extent that their conservation is not threatened.

However, in the case of not only the land between Main Drive and Oak Walk, but also the three remaining listed Cottages (B1, B3, and B5), Major Projects Victoria has we submit failed to comply with the Act.

Firstly, in the case of the three remaining Cottages MPV appears to have simply put up a fence, and left the heritage buildings to fall into disrepair for over a decade.

Secondly, in the case of the land between Main Drive and Oak Walk, MPV have allowed the developer to ‘squat’ in a building which would have been demolished years ago if MPV had complied with Government Heritage policy, and

‘set the standard for the community in the management of heritage assets… ” (Vic Gov 3. Lead by example 2009)

Thirdly, MPV have compounded their latter failure, by actively supporting Walker’s proposal, instead of conserving the landscape’s heritage significance “to the greatest extent feasible”, in accordance with both they Victorian Government Heritage policy on asset Management. (5. Conservation Outcomes, 2009), and the endorsed ‘Site Concept Plan’ (2005)

We understand that the redevelopment is scheduled to finish within a year (Oct 2016), and there is still no resolution to these long standing problems in sight.

We submit, therefore, that the Heritage Council should lead by example, and take adequate and comprehensive steps to help reduce the current high level of conservation risk to an acceptable level. We recommend as follows:

  1. Kew Cottages should be treated as a high risk Government Heritage site, for as long as it continues to be owned by Major Projects Victoria, and/or developed by Walker Corporation;
  2. The nature and extent of that risk should be a matter for consideration by the Heritage Council in determining this Appeal;
  3. The Appeal should be rejected; and
  4. Following a site inspection by the Heritage Council;
  • A written notice should be served on the owner, Major Projects Victoria, requiring that they show cause why an order should not be made obliging the owner to carry out specified conservation works to the listed buildings B1, B3, and B6, and to all of the land between Main Drive and Oak Walk.
  • The specified works shall include but not be limited to demolition of the former administration building located on that part of the land bounded by Main Drive and Oak walk as prescribed in Permit 22396 with conditions (Sep 2015. HC27)

Reason: So that the heritage buildings, landscape, plantings, avenues, concrete lamp posts, and the following features as marked on Diagram 2073 are properly conserved without further delay.

  • F1-3 Residents’ Memorials and Sculpture
  • F4 Main Drive
  • F5 Boundary Drive
  • F7 Oak Walk

2.7 Plans Provided

2.7.1 No available land
It appears clear from the plans received that there is insufficient space available to accommodate any new building on the site once the former administration office has been demolished, and the double Avenues of trees along Main Drive and Oak Walk have been properly reinstated in accordance with the Site Concept Plan, including the recommended buffer zone as set out in our original nomination. (Copy attached.)

2.7.2 Request for Schedule of Amended Plans.
For the sake of clarity, however, we request that a schedule of the amended plans accepted by the Heritage Council be distributed to all parties, because it appears at the time of writing (9/11) that some parties may not have received all of the amended plans.

We submit that consideration of plans currently provided by the appellant must take account of past problems experienced with the provision of plans by the owner , as well as current errors and omissions.

2.7.3 Significant Errors
For example it appears that the owner has a history of providing Kew Cottages plans that are either inaccurate, or incomplete, and/or out of date, or otherwise misleading and deceptive

We note that errors found in the past that posed a potentially detrimental heritage impact included:

  1. The plan submitted by the owner to Heritage Victoria showing relative heights of proposed five storey apartment blocks and Willsmere (Corrected by Owner 2005)
  2. The plan used by the developer’s earth moving contractor that resulted in significant root damage to 300 year old heritage listed River Red Gums (Appellant prosecuted for breach of Heritage Act 2007).
  3. The Kew Main Drive Construction Staging Plan Rev ‘C’ (2012) that was published in such a manner that it failed to show the land located between Main Drive and Oak Walk. i.e.: the subject site of the current Walker Stage 8 proposal. (Uncorrected)

2.7.4 Significant Omissions

A.”Site Concept Plan” ( Permit P9639 )

The appellant has failed to provided a copy of the endorsed Heritage ‘Site Concept Plan’ as incorporated in Permit P9639 (2005).

Preferring instead, it appears, to :

1) Claim, somewhat ambiguously, that:

The Site Context Plan endorsed under Heritage Victoria Permit number P9639 does not reflect the ‘as built” context of the Heritage Place, which has resulted from subsequent approved development of the Heritage Place. (HC28),

and to

2) Rely on their own ‘Planning Permit Drawings’ (2014) (HC06), plus ‘Plan of Existing Conditions” ( Dwg 3332-51-01, 26.11.14), as amended by their Alternative Plan retaining Tree No 157, (dated 13 July 2015, and lodged 2 October 2015)

This is a significant omission because:

1. It goes to the very basis of the Executive’s Director’s refusal to grant a permit i.e.:

“The proposed residential apartment building is shown located on land set aside in the Site Context Plan endorsed as part of permit P9639 as public open space with all trees retained…” (HC26); and

2. None of the alternative plans provided by the appellant show otherwise.

B. Comprehensive Landscape Management Plan (P9639 Condition 9)

The appellant has failed to provided a copy of the comprehensive Landscape Management Plan) that the owner was required:

“.. to prepare and submit for the approval of the Executive Director before re-development on the site commences..” (P9639 Condition 9 – emphasis added)

This is a significant omission because our understanding is that the owner failed to prepare and submit a comprehensive Landscape Management Plan, failed to Comply with Condition 9, and notwithstanding this serious breach, commenced re-development works on the site anyway.

Moreover, we understand from Heritage Victoria, that there is no record of a comprehensive Landscape Management Plan, that includes the land between Main Drive and Oak Walk, as required by Condition 9, ever being submitted for approval.

2.7.5 Potential Breach of S.160 of the Act by the Owner. (Conservation threatened)

It would appear, therefore, in our respectful submission, that at face value a serious breach of S.74A of the Act occurred at the commencement of the re-development works, and should be properly investigated in order that the Heritage Council is fully informed.

2.8 Effect Refusal would have on reasonable or economic use of the place (S.73(1)(b))

In addition to our earlier submission on this matter we submit that any consideration in terms of S.73(1)(b) must take account of the Kew Residential Services Development Agreement which sets out the contractual relationship, including inter alia the financial arrangements between the developer and the owner regarding the proposed Stage 8 development on the land between Main Drive and Oak Walk.

In particular we refer to the extraordinary Fourth Deed of Variation to this Agreement (Dated 18-6-2014 – copy attached) which makes substantial references to changes regarding

a) “Redevelopment of Project Office Precinct” , which is defined as:

“that part of the site used by the Developer as a project office for the Project and which comprises Stage 8 on the Staging Plan (Clause C14 p5 ) , (i.e.: the land between Main Drive and Oak Walk); and

b) Heritage Buildings (Clause B15 is deleted and replaced with a new clause. p8 )

In our submission:

  1. It appears clear from the Agreement that potential refusal of “Planning Permits and other Authorisations” has been taken to account, and is a risk to be born by, and agreed to as an acceptable commercial risk by the developer (C.14 (e) ),. As a consequence we submit that the Executive Director’s refusal is both reasonable and appropriate.
  2. However, it also appears clear that in exchange Major Projects Victoria (On behalf of the ‘State’) as the owner has agreed to not only delete the Developer’s obligation to restore the Kew Cottages Community facilities and Heritage buildings, but also to

“use its reasonable endeavours to:

  1. Assist the Developer to obtain all relevant Planning Permits and other Authorisations which are necessary or desirable to facilitate the Additional Sale Lots in the Project Office Precinct. (C14(c)) and
  2. Obtain the return to the State of the Heritage Guarantee from heritage Victoria..(B.15.9)

In our submission such an agreement by the owner constitutes a severe and on going threat to the conservation of not only the heritage landscape between Main Drive and Oak Walk, but also to the remaining Heritage Cottages, which it appears are now to effectively remain ‘mothballed’ in the same state of disrepair that they had already fallen into at the time of this Agreement in June 2014, after more than a decade of neglect by the owner.

We respectfully submit, therefore, that the Executive Director, Major Projects Victoria, and the Secretary of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, be requested to give evidence in this Appeal Hearing and to show cause why an order should not be made obliging the owner to carry out specified conservation works to the listed buildings B1, B3, and B6, and to all of the land between F4,F5,and F7 (i.e.: between Main Drive and Oak Walk).

  • The specified works shall include but not be limited to demolition of the former administration building located on that part of the land bounded by Main Drive and Oak walk as prescribed in Permit 22396 with conditions (Sep 2015. HC27) and
  • The reinstatement of the Main Drive and Oak Walk Avenues of Trees in accordance the the endorsed Government Heritage ‘Site Context Plan” (The Masterplan, Permit P9639, 2005)

2.9 Other Matters – Views of Willsmere and Main Drive.

In addition to our earlier submissions on Views of Willsmere and Main Drive, we note and support Heritage Victoria Officer’s Report, including the Officer’s comments on the photomontage images provided by the appellant (HC25 p.15)

We only add that we think it both somewhat imprudent and disrespectful for the appellant in response for a request for distant views of one of Melbourne’s most prominent and distinctive landmarks to have provided a series of photographs which, accepting the cover image, instead appear to show predominantly large areas of carpark, playing fields, roadway, roadsigns, and railway track, but very little of Willsmere. (HC24)

We are confident that Members of the Council will already be quite familiar with the the landmark qualities of Willsmere, and able to make their own assessment at first hand from vantage points of their choice.

We will make further views of Willsmere, Main Drive, Oak Walk, and the Heritage Buildings publicly available for consideration on our website, should they be required by any of the parties to the Hearing.

However, as our own Nomination for the Main Drive Avenues of Trees, the Endorsed Government Heritage ‘Site Context Plan, and the Urban Design Framework for the site are all in agreement that there will be insufficient space for new buildings of any height to be constructed between Main Drive and Oak Walk, once the heritage fabric has been adequately and comprehensively restored in accordance with the Act, then the Appeal should be rejected on those grounds alone.

3. Summary Conclusions.

1. The Executive Director’s Refusal should be affirmed without qualification.

2. The VCAT Planning Decision (Sep 2015) is not relevant to this Heritage Appeal.

3. The Endorsed Government Heritage Site Concept Plan (Attachment 4 P9639), which shows no buildings on the land between Main Drive and Oak Walk, is in accord with both:

  • The Kew Cottages Coalition original nomination (Jan 2004) which nominated a buffer zone with a northern boundary set 10m north of the centre line of the Avenues northern trees; and with
  • The Urban Design Framework . which shows no buildings between Main Drive and Oak Walk. (p.13 UDF Oct 2003)

4. Our reading of the amended plans, avenue locations and dimensions provided by the appellant indicates that there will be insufficient space to accommodate any new building or sale lots on the site once the former Administration Building is demolished, and the avenues of trees on Main Drive and Oak Walk are properly reinstated, in accordance with the Endorsed Government Heritage Site Concept Plan, including the 10m buffer zones for the avenues of trees as set out in the Kew Cottages Coalition Nomination (2004)

5. Potential Breach of S.160 of the Act by the Owner. (Conservation threatened)

The owner allowed the Heritage Core Buildings to fall into disrepair, and failed to maintain the land between Main Drive and Oak Walk to the extent that its conservation is threatened.

6. Potential Breach of S.74A of the Act by the Owner. (Non compliance with Permit P9639 Condition 9)

The owner appears to have commenced the redevelopment and undertaken significant works without first submitting a Comprehensive Landscape Management Plan for approval as required by Condition 9 of Permit 9639.

4. Summary Recommendations.

We submit that the Heritage Council should lead by example, and take adequate and comprehensive steps to:

  • Have the above potential breaches of the Act fully investigated;
  • Reduce the current unacceptably high level of conservation risk at Kew Cottages, and
  • Restore the core heritage fabric that has been neglected, damaged or fallen into disrepair.

We recommend as follows:

  1. Kew Cottages should be treated as a high risk Government Heritage site, for as long as it continues to be owned by Major Projects Victoria, and/or developed by Walker Corporation;
  2. The nature and extent of that risk should be a matter for consideration by the Heritage Council in determining this Appeal;
  3. In order to fully inform the Council on the this matter, the Director, Property and Development Group, Major Projects Victoria, and the Secretary of the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, should be requested to give evidence in this Appeal Hearing and to show cause why an order should not be made obliging the owner to carry out specified conservation works to the listed buildings B1, B3, and B6, and to all of the land between F4,F5,and F7 (i.e.: between Main Drive and Oak Walk)
  4. The Permit Appeal should be rejected; and
  5. Following a site inspection by the Heritage Council, and evidence by MPV, and the Secretary of the Department;
  • The definition of the ‘Heritage Core’ shall be extended to include all of the open space surrounding B1,B3, and B6, together with all the open space between F4, F5, and F7;
  • A written notice should be served on the owner, Major Projects Victoria, requiring that they show cause why an order should not be made obliging the owner to carry out specified conservation works to the listed buildings B1, B3, and B6, and to all of the land between F4,F5,and F7 (i.e.: between Main Drive and Oak Walk).
  • The specified works shall include but not be limited to demolition of the former administration building located on that part of the land bounded by Main Drive and Oak walk as prescribed in Permit 22396 with conditions (Sep 2015. HC27) and
  • The reinstatement of the Main Drive and Oak Walk Avenues of Trees in accordance the the endorsed Government Heritage ‘Site Context Plan” (The Masterplan, Permit P9639, 2005)

Reason: So that the heritage buildings, landscape, plantings, avenues, concrete lamp posts, and the following features as marked on Diagram 2073 are properly conserved without further delay.

  • F1-3 Residents’ Memorials and Sculpture
  • F4 Main Drive
  • F5 Boundary Drive
  • F7 Oak Walk

5. Links

Kew Cottages Coalition
www.kew.org.au

  1. “Objection to Heritage Permit Application P22396 ( To:Heritage Victoria Feb 2015)
  2. “Beware Developers Bearing Gifts” (To: Heritage Council Aug 2015)
  3. “Objection to Amended Plans” (To: Heritage Council Oct 2015)
  4. “Application for Directions” (To: Heritage Council Oct 2015)
  5. Kew Cottages Coalition Heritage Nomination (2004)
  6. Victorian Government Cultural Heritage Asset Management Principles (2009)
  7. Ombudsman’s Investigation into the Probity of the Kew Cottages Development (2010)
  8. Fourth Deed of Variation, Walker KRS Development Agreement ( 2014)

End Note:
Submission: Email 1 of 2.:

Appendices:.. See: Email 2 of 2

Online Version: Click here for full Documents Schedule and Appendices

**** Kew Cottages Coalition **** 9 Nov 2015

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Objection, and Application for Directions: Kew Cottages Permit Appeal – Lodgement of Amended Plans Application

To: Heritage Council of VictoriaAttn: Ms. Rhonda McLaren, Hearings Coordinator.

From: Kew Cottages Coalition

Date: 15 Oct 2015

Dear Ms. McLaren,

I write to object to Walker Corporation’s Application to amend plans in relation to their Kew Cottages Stage 8 Permit Application.

1. Unreasonable Delay

In our submission Walker Corporation have failed to comply with the relevant Heritage Council Protocol 4.1(a) by failing to lodge within the prescribed fourteen (14) days of being notified of the Hearing Date.

I note that the new plans are dated 13 July 2015, however, I understand that Walker Corporation failed to lodge the new plans with the Heritage Council until 1 Oct 2015.

It appears that Walker, therefore, despite having the plans in their possession delayed more than 9 weeks after being notified (on 22 July) of the first hearing date , and more than 5 weeks after being notified (on 24 Aug) of the revised Hearing Date (16 Nov).

We submit that this extremely long, and unexplained delay has disadvantage objectors to Walker’s Appeal, and helped avoid scrutiny of Walker’s new plans.

In our submission such a delay by the developer of a Government owned site of State Significance is totally unacceptable, and can only serve to bring Government ownership, management, and regulation of significant heritage places into disrepute.

2. Errors and Omissions.

In our submission Walker Corporation has failed to adequately and comprehensively comply with the Heritage Council Protocol 4.1 (c)(ii) which states that the permit applicant must provide “a statement in writing describing the changes from the previous plans”.

Despite the long delay in submitting their application to amend plans, Walker’s documentation appears to be both inaccurate and incomplete.

Walker seeks the following amendment to the previously considered plans:

” 1. Retention of Tree No. 157 located to the south of the building…:”

However, Walker have failed to provide an Arborist’s Report describing their proposed Retention of Tree No. 157..

We submit that, in the absence of an Arborist’s a report, it is not possible to assess the level of risk to Tree 157, or indeed whether the tree will even survive.

Secondly, all five height related drawings presented on 1 October appear to be inconsistent with not only the Statement of Changes provided with the latter drawings by the applicant, but also with the original drawings presented in Walker’s Stage 8 Permit Application.

Changes from previous plans that are not adequately described appear to include:

a) Height Changes.

The height of the apartment blocks presented in the amended East Elevation drawing ( RF 79.80m. AR08-24 Rev. D) is different to the height of the apartment blocks shown in the West Elevation drawing presented in the publicly advertised Permit Application Feb 2015. (RF 80m. AR06-24, 11 Rev B).

However, the applicant has failed to request a height change to either elevation in the ‘Statement of Changes’ in the Application.

All five height related drawings lodged by the Applicant on 1 October show the apartment blocks new height as “RF 79.80m Height Limit HV Permit 9639″.

However, five other height related drawings in the advertised Permit Application, including the North elevation drawing (AR08-24,10 Rev B) and all four Shadow Diagrams appear to be based on the original height as listed in those cross sections and elevations as ” RF 80.00m” , and “RF 80.00m Willsmere”.

b) Tree Changes.

Walker have added a Tree numbered Tree 158a to the plans presented on 1 October, but have failed to seek an amendment for this addition, and failed to provide copies of the Endorsed Tree Protection Plan and Endorsed Landscape Plan for the site describing Tree 158a.

Walker have failed to include in their new plans the Heritage listed Kurrajong (Tree 160) as previously referred to in our submission to Heritage Victoria on Walker Corporation’s Stage 8 Permit Application.

We submit that these are significant errors and omissions given that Kew Cottages is a Major Project of State Significance, and the Victorian Heritage in question is Government owned Heritage.

3. Failure to comply with Heritage Council Policy on Government owned Heritage.

We understand that Heritage Council Policy on Government owned Heritage is that: ” The State Government should lead by example in public stewardship of asserts owned by Government authorities.”

However, the errors and omissions in the current Application to Amend Plans made by Walker Corporation, on behalf of the assets owner, Major Projects Victoria (MPV), raise serious questions as to what action, if any, MPV has taken to comply with Heritage Council policy.

If MPV had an effective heritage asset management strategy, it would be reasonable to expect that MPV would have appropriate practices and procedures in place to ensure Walker’s Application to Amend Plans:

a) Was lodged in a timely manner; and

b) Demonstrated a high standard of compliance with Heritage Council requirements.

For example, it would be reasonable to expect that MPV would have checked that Walker’s Application to Amend Plans at least demonstrated a high standard of consistency with the relevant Heritage Permit Conditions that Walker has previously undertaken to comply with, including the primary (2005) Heritage Permit Conditions regarding the Site Concept, Landscaping, and Conservation of trees during works.

In our submission , however, on the evidence available, Major Projects Victoria has failed to check Walker’s Application to Amend Plans, does not have an effective management strategy, and has breached Victorian Government Policy on Government owned Heritage.

4. Application for Directions.

We respectfully request, therefore, that the Heritage Council make the following directions regarding this matter:

4.1 That the Applicant withdraw, redraw, and resubmit all Plans as listed in the Appeal ‘Applicant architectural drawings, Planning Permit Drawing Index’ *** so as to adequately and comprehensively show the amendments sought.

4.2 That the Applicant withdraw the Statement of Changes to Plans, and resubmit an adequately and comprehensively Statement of Changes to Plans. Appropriate documentation to help describe the buildings, trees, and landscape shall include but not be limited to certified copies of:

  • The Site Concept Plan (2005) endorsed by Heritage Victoria (Permit P9639)
  • The Comprehensive Landscape Management Plan (2005) that the Applicant undertook to prepare for the site (Excluding Stages I & II) before redevelopment on the site commenced. (Permit P9639, Condition 9)*
  • The Arboricultural Management Plan (2005) prepared for the site in accordance with Permit P9639, Condition 10, (2005)*
  • An Arborist’s report on the changes now sought;

4.3 That Major Projects Victoria as the owner and manager of the Kew Cottages Heritage assets, and as the Government body responsible for Permit compliance, shall:

(a) Attend and give evidence at the Heritage Council Appeal Hearing; and

(b) Serve the following documents on the parties:

  1. Certified copies of Major Projects Victoria Heritage Asset Management Strategy;
  2. An inventory of the Heritage Assets potentially put at risk by the Application to Amend Plans;
  3. Details of the heritage expertise employed to monitor and report on the Application to Amend Plans
  4. Details of the practices and procedures adopted to ensure the Application to Amend Plans was consistent with existing Heritage Permits, Permit Conditions, and heritage undertakings by the Applicant.
  5. Other steps taken to ensure ‘best practice’ has been followed in managing the heritage assets in question.
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“Beware Developers Bearing Gifts” – Part 1

Kew Cottages Coalition Submission to Heritage Council re: Heritage Permit Application P22396

1. Summary.

The Walker Stage 8 proposal appears to be a ‘Trojan Horse’, like the infamous wooden horse that the Greeks left outside Troy, at the end of their ten year siege.

The latter Horse appeared to be a ‘gift’ for the Trojans left by a departing Greek army. But in reality it was a clever trick, that proved to be more successful than ten years of battles in finally opening the gates of Troy to the invaders.

So it is with this proposal. In our submission Walker’s Stage 8 proposal is a developer’s ruse designed to try and usurp by stealth this heritage listed landscape at the apogee of the former Willsmere Hospital’s Main Drive.

We, therefore, respectfully request that the Heritage Council dismiss Walker’s Appeal, and reaffirm the Executive Director’s Refusal to Grant a Heritage Permit.

2. The Subject Site: Yarra Bend Grove, Main Drive, Kew Cottages.

Walker’s Appeal appears to be designed to encourage the Heritage Council to view this particular proposal as a Cultural Heritage ‘gift’ to the subject site.

However, in our submission, the truth of the matter, is as stated in the Executive Director’s Notice of Refusal, namely that the Yarra Bend Grove site on Main Drive has, for over ten years been “set aside in the Kew Cottages Site Context Plan endorsed as part of permit P9639 as public open space with all trees retained.” (emphasis added).

3. The Proposal. 26 apartments over 5 levels on public open space. (P22396 )

Walker’s Appeal appears to be trying to camouflage the danger posed by building on the subject site.

The Appeal starts by denying the development will be detrimental to the cultural heritage values of either Kew Cottages or Willsmere, and then goes on to try and downplay the significance of both the Kew Cottages Site Context Plan, and Heritage Permit 9639.

However, the photographs Walker has presented appear to conceal more than they reveal about the significant potential impact the proposed apartments will have, on both Kew Cottages Main Drive, and the historic Willsmere skyline. (See Appendix A)

Walker’s response to submissions appears to be similarly unhelpful. (Link: HC14. Attachment to Heritage Council Notice of Appeal 22 July 2015)

It appears that either Walker simply do not understand Condition 8 of Heritage Permit P9639, and the associated 26 metre building setback restriction that burdens the whole length of both the south and west boundaries of Kew Cottages (KRS) , including Yarra Bend Grove, or Walker are actively trying to avoid scrutiny of this highly significant restriction.

4. The Restrictions

Walker’s boldly claim that:

“The subject site is not burdened by any restrictions in terms of setbacks to boundaries.”

(See: Applicant summary of submissions and comments, Re: Kew Cottages Coalition, Submission 6. Link: HC14 p.4 attached)

However, in our submission Walker’s claim is simply nonsense.

Firstly, ‘the subject site’, Yarra Bend Grove is shown on all endorsed plans as Public Open Space.

Secondly, Condition 8 of Heritage Permit P9639 states:

No part of the proposed apartment building in the south western part of the site located adjacent to the former Willsmere Hospital site is to be built within the 26 meter buffer zone set out in the Urban Design Framework October 2003….

Thirdly, the Boroondara Planning Scheme, and its incorporated documents require the same 26 meter Setback Buffer Zone for all buildings more than 3.5 metres above ground level both on the south and west boundaries of Kew Cottages (KRS). Ref: Link: Clause 43_04_s03_boro attached.

Finally, the Walker Development Plan Kew (WDP-K 2010) states that:

The Building Envelopes and Setbacks’ plan in the KRSUDF (2003 p.9) .. specifies a minimum 26 metres building setback from the south boundary (common with the rear properties fronting Wills Street) of the land..” (Link: WDP-K (2010) p.15) emphasis added.

However, the subject site, Yarra Bend Grove, is less than 13 metres from the south boundary of KRS, and therefore, it is in our submission, burdened by all of the above restrictions in terms of setbacks to the south boundary.

We submit that Walker’s failure to comply with the 26 Metre setback rule is a critical failure, because it goes to heart of the matter in terms of the strength of the Heritage controls protecting Main Drive and Willsmere.

Indeed, we say that even if Walker is successful at some point in having Planning controls either removed or downgraded, and if Walker is successful in arguing that Heritage Permit P9639 is now redundant, then in our view it will be vitally necessary for the relevant Heritage Controls for the site not just to be reaffirmed, but to be suitably strengthened and upgraded in order to properly protect the significant cultural values of both Kew Cottages and Willsmere.

5. The Applicant’s Reasons for Appeal.

Reason 1. The Applicant claims that:

The development will not be detrimental to the cultural heritage values of the Heritage Place or the adjacent Heritage Place (the Former Willsmere Hospital (H0861)).

We say that the Applicant is wrong, even in the event that they submit a modified plan with appropriate tree protection controls, because:

  • We support the Executive Director’s grounds for refusal.
  • As detailed in our original submission we believe the proposal fails to comply with Conditions 8 & 9 of Permit 9639 in terms of location.
  • We submit the proposal fails to comply with the 26 meter buffer zone set out in the Urban Design Framework October 2003; and
  • As a consequence the development will have an unacceptable detrimental visual impact on the landmark settings of both Kew Cottages Main Drive, and the former Willsmere Hospital building.

Reason 2. The Applicant says that:

Heritage Victoria Permit Number P9639, which endorsed the Site Context Plan, has expired.

The Applicant appears to be trying to draw the Heritage Council’s attention away from not only the Site Context Plan itself, but also the detailed Heritage Permit Conditions in P9639, because the latter conditions includes the 26 meter buffer zone set out in the KRSUDF (Oct 2003)

However, while Permit P9639 may well have expired, what is important to note is that the grounds for the relevant Heritage Permit Conditions in this Appeal have not changed. That is to say:

  • Willsmere itself has not changed, and the prominent Willsmere skyline still needs to be properly protected. Similarly,
  • Main Drive retains it historical form. The only new building over 3.5 metres built within 24 metres of the southern boundary has been Walker’s Sales Office. The Sales Office was only granted a temporary permit, and has now been removed. A Permit has also been granted for the removal of Walker’s existing office building on the subject site. The 24 metre setback rule remains in force, and the Drive’s significant avenues of trees, views, and open space still need to be properly protected.

As a consequence we recommend that any new Heritage Permit Conditions required to address the subject site be no less robust than those contained in P9639.

Similarly, should Walker Corporation be successful in their attempts to have existing planning controls downgraded, then we recommend that Heritage Permit conditions be comprehensively strengthened accordingly.

Reason 3. The Applicant claims that:

The Site Context Plan endorsed under Heritage Victoria Permit Number P9639 does not reflect the “as built” context of the Heritage Place, which has resulted from subsequent approved development of the Heritage Place.

We would agree if the Applicant simply means that the “as built” stages 1-7 do not reflect the equivalent stages in the ‘Site Context Plan’.

However, we would not agree that that in any way constitutes a logical reason for seeking approval to construct high rise apartments on public open space, nor for appealing the Executive Director’s view that:

” Any construction on the part of the registered land bounded by Main Drive and Oak Walk is considered detrimental to the significant cultural heritage values of both this Heritage Place and the adjacent Heritage Place – the Former Willsmere Hospital (H0861)

As the Executive Director has said, “The Site Context Plan has remained an endorsed document without amendment for the duration of the now almost completed redevelopment of the registered land.”

Moreover, as we have said above, the grounds for the relevant Heritage Permit controls have not changed with respect to the subject site (Stage 8), nor have the objectives, principles, and design framework on which the Site Context Plan was based.

These principles, objectives, and design guidelines for the site are set down in the Kew Residential Services, Revised UDF (Urban Design Framework), October 2003, now an incorporated document in the Boroondara Planning Scheme.

The UDF states (p3) that:

Overarching strategy for the site is to utilise opportunities for the maintenance, enhancement and celebration of significant cultural and landscape assets on the site, generally within the future public realm.

The UDF then details the very specific interface and edge conditions for the subject site (“Yarra Bend Grove”) , including not only the 26 metre minimum setback rule for buildings greater than 3.5 metres from both the south and west boundaries (p.10 & 22), but also the significantly larger setbacks required to:

  • Recognise significance of the high ground adjacent to Yarra Bend Park as an important public feature,
  • Recognise the old Willsmere complex as the dominant building element of the precinct,, and provide
  • “Protection of existing trees and public open space amenity” in the Yarra Bend Grove.

(See: Built Form at Edge Connection, 10am-3pm Max shadow diagram at Equinox “Yarra Bend Connection” UDF p13)

We recommend, therefore, that the Applicant be requested to provide an adequate and comprehensive explanation as to how their proposal complies with the requirements of the KRS Urban Design Framework (October 2003), as referred to in Heritage Permit Condition 9639 including:

  1. How their proposal complies with the 26 meter building setback requirement from the southern boundary ? ( Link: KRSUDF pp.10&19 attached )
  2. How their proposal complies with the interface and edge conditions for the Yarra Bend Connection as shown on ( Link: KRSUDF pp.13&19 attached)

Reason 4. The Applicant says that:

Construction will not cause unacceptable damage to the root system of Tree 158, a Hoop Pine (Auricania cunninghami).

On this issue of potential damage to Tree 158, with the greatest respect to the Applicant and to their expert Arborist and his report, we would respectfully recommend that the Heritage Council place greater weight on Heritage Victoria’s independent expert advice, than on expert advice that has been paid for by the applicant.

We say this given our perception that the Applicant has a poor track record in managing the heritage trees at Kew Cottages. For example we understand that the Applicant was prosecuted by Heritage Victoria for breaching the Heritage Act after a number of significant Red Gums were damaged by construction works.

Reason 5. The Applicant says that:

The development would not result in the loss of significant trees which would be detrimental to the cultural heritage values of this Heritage Place.

We understand that despite Permit Conditions and similar assurances in the past regarding Tree Protection measures at Kew Cottages significant trees such as Tree 160 (which was actually located on the subject site) have apparently been lost due to poor management by the Applicant.

Again we would recommend caution before accepting such assurances at face value.

 

Part 2

Part 3

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Attachments

201507_Stage8AppealHC14op.pdf

43_04s03_boro_SouthBoundarySetbackRule.pdf

20031030_Boroondara-C53-Planning-Scheme-Amendment-UDF-Incorp-Doc-Kew-Residential-Services_p10op.pdf

20031030_Boroondara-C53-Planning-Scheme-Amendment-UDF-Incorp-Doc-Kew-Residential-Services_06p13op.pdf

20031030_Boroondara-C53-Planning-Scheme-Amendment-UDF-Incorp-Doc-Kew-Residential-Services_p19op.pdf

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“Beware Developers Bearing Gifts” – Part 2

Kew Cottages Coalition Appendix A.

” Images supplied by Applicant re Main Drive”.

(5 Views 9.4.15. Our ref: Link HC021 )

Re: Walker Corporation: Photographic Study 9 April 2015
Heritage Permit Application No P22396

1. Introduction

We believe that the photo montages presented in the Photographic Study by Walker Corporation conceal more than they reveal about the impact that the Walker Stage 8 High Rise Proposal will have on the the cultural heritage significance of both the Kew Cottages landscape, and the adjacent former Willsmere Hospital because:

a) There is no comparable imagery provided of how the designed landscape and significant trees will appear if the currently approved plans to restore Stage 8 to Public Open Space are proceeded with:

b) Relative heights and locations appear to be poorly represented from significant locations (This also happened with the developer’s montages of their original plans for high rise apartments. The Apartments were named “City View Apartments” but the montages presented suggested all the “City views” from the apartments would actually be obscured by trees !)

As a consequence we present here further particulars of the potential impact of the Walker Proposal on the unique Willsmere and Kew Cottages skyline.

We are sure the Applicant will be critical of the approach we have adopted, and we welcome that criticism.

For example our May 2015 study (below) of the 5 views presented by the Applicant on 9 April, assumes the elevation of the proposed apartments still to be 80m AHD, as set out in their 2014 Permit Application.

However, we understand the Applicant has now responded to our earlier criticism, and reduced the elevation of the proposed apartments to 79.8m AHD in order to accord with Condition 8 in Permit P9639.

Similarly, we are sure the applicant will be critical of the other assumptions we have used, and the local knowledge and publicly available data sources that we have relied on in forming our views about the Kew Cottages development over the past decade. (e.g. Google Earth, Google Maps, Nearmap, etc.)

We would not argue that Walker Corporation has far more, expert, and expensive heritage, survey, modelling, and photomontage services available to them than a community group such as ours.

However, what we would argue is that, from a public interest perspective:

  1. Despite their obvious expertise, such services when paid for by this developer, have often proved to be somewhat unhelpful in the past, and therefore we recommend that they be critically examined on a case by case basis; and
  2. While is pleasing to see that the Applicant has now retreated from what appeared to be a rather belligerent 80m AHD ‘largely compliant’ (HIS p.11) approach to the apartments’ elevation (as put forward in their initial application), unfortunately the revised height in itself will not actually offer any significant benefit. The fundamental failure being the proposed location for the apartments – which is still immediately adjacent to Main Drive in breach of P9639. (i.e.: within the Yarra Bend Grove minimum 26 metre buffer zone, that is endorsed as public open space.)

2. Comments of Walker’s 9 APRIL 2015 Views ( Link: HC21)

Views 1 and 2 – show the huge visual impact that the apartments would have on the view over the heritage treed area, even from the distances and the angles chosen

View 3 – shows how the view of the existing heritage trees will be nearly completely masked by the apartments. The photo montage also does not show the full height extent of the apartments

View 4 – We cant see the point of this photo. The existing trees will undoubtedly be removed when a building will be erected on the empty site, which will reveal the 5 storey apartment block above any 2 storey building erected on the block.

View 5 – this has been taken from far away, at the bottom of the park which is a spot seldom used by park users. It doesn’t show the impact from the pathway through the park.

3. Impact on current viewlines within the original (1860) Willsmere Asylum Reserve.

Both the Yarra Bend Park Lookout on the Main Yarra Trail (Kew Trig Point) , and the busy Wurundjeri Spur Lookout on the Yarra Boulevard are located within the grounds of the original Willsmere Asylum Reserve. Both provide view lines that still clearly show Willsmere within the context of the Yarra Bend Park, and the river itself in the valley below, plus the site of the former Yarra Bend Asylum (1854) on the west bank of the river, with the backdrop of the City Skyline in the west.

Unfortunately if Walker’s proposal is proceeded with then from the latter two lookouts the top stories of Walker’s apartments will appear to be suspended slap bang between the two main Willsmere towers directly above the existing roofline. (At least one and a half to two and half stories of the five stories proposed will be ‘on display’ in this way depending on final plans and approvals)

A similar view will appear when Willsmere is viewed from further away on this view line across the Yarra, for example from Fairfield Park..

As a consequence the continuity of the original Willsmere reserve will be further fragmented, and the uniqueness and distinctiveness of the historic buildings on the ridge line will be lost forever.

Fig 1. Willsmere from Yarra Bend Trail Lookout (Kew Trig Point)


4. Impact on Willsmere Skyline as seen from the Central Business District.

As previously noted in our objection to the Walker proposal, even if the roofline of the proposed apartments were to be restricted to 79.8m AHD, then there will still be an an unacceptable heritage impact on the Willsmere skyline as viewed from around Melbourne. e.g.: from the CBD.

​​ Continue reading

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