Aug 16

Does new 23 Rodier ST pass the test?

Here is a letter from Ron Marshall who lead the charge on the first proposal on Rodier Street. Check out the background here.


I contend the 14 dwelling Development proposal at 23 Rodier St contained in the City of Ballarat (City of Ballarat) (PLP/2013/490) still remains an unacceptable development for the parcel of land in Heritage Precinct for which it is proposed.

Has the Developer listened to the local residents and responded accordingly to the implications of the VCAT decision that rejected their previous 19 unit proposal? I have never been contacted by the Developers to discuss the concerns I have; and I am unaware of any other member of our community having an audience with the Developer to raise their issues either.

On rereading the Decision of VCAT I do not believe that the Developer in this latest proposal has heeded to any great extent, the main reason that VCAT rejected the previous development proposal.

It is well worth reading or rereading the VCAT Decision. It is significant. I’d direct readers to take particular note to some of the specific words and phrases used by Madam Chair Wilson included in her Decision. I only mention a sample in the following.

The use of words such as “spacious” Para 5 and ”openess” Para 10; and similar language throughout: often used in conjunction with the following words; “ …. fails to respect the spacious neighbourhood character of the area”; suggest to the reader this a dominant feature of the neighbourhood.

I believe Ms Wilson recognizes the importance of the role this feature plays in this neighbourhood character; and that it must be thoroughly accommodated in any future development plans for this parcel of land.

Paragraph 12 (P12) of her Decision contains some pointed remarks which further reinforce my argument; I quote:

“I agree with submissions that the proposal will introduce an intensity of development that fails to reinforce the existing spatial and visual characteristics of the heritage place …….. I cannot reconcile the intensity of the development with an outcome that contributes to the ‘less urbanized setting’ identified as part of the heritage quality or the sense of openness that characterises the immediate neighbourhood. ……”

Her complete Decision is peppered with similar words and phrases which any reader can clearly infer what Ms Wilson requires of any future development proposal.

I am of the firm belief that within the specific language she has chosen to use in that Decision, lay the crux as to why she rejected the previous proposal. Logically it then follows what needs to be accommodated in any future development plans for this parcel of land to gain approval for any development. It involves the construction of buildings that maintains this feeling of spaciousness and openness.

There is some improvement in the new plan – but let’s be brutally honest; it was never going to take too much to improve on the original plan for 20 ‘units’ (dog boxes)! Nor the subsequent reduction to 19 units.

We should all understand that the initial 20 units the Developer was wanting to build, was an ambit claim. I trust they understand the implications arising from the specific and unambiguous language Ms Wilson articulates in her Decision.

In summary, the new proposal still remains a high density development uncharacteristic of the nearby existing dwellings, and dwellings overall in the Eureka Heritage Precinct. The reduction in the number of dwellings down from the original 20 units proposed back in November 2011; in itself does not make this 14 unit development proposal an acceptable proposal.

I would urge as many readers of this discussion piece as possible, to join with myself and others in continuing to make submissions about these sorts of ‘development proposals’. I seek your support in joining myself and other residents as official submitters to this new proposal asap. Please let me know if I can be of help in facilitating this?

If we support each other and contribute; especially in respect to lodging a formal Objection to these types of development proposals; then we do stand a better chance of at least minimizing the detrimental effects they are having on the existing neighbourhood characteristics we value.

People and communities can achieve good outcomes. Others before us have done this in a variety of matters. We have demonstrated this too, and have mounted a sound case already against the inappropriate development of the land at 23 Rodier St. I am optimistic that a very good case can be further mounted and argued against the new proposal.

I have outlined some further reasons in an Article below for yore your consideration. Residents can utilize this information if they can relate to it; and wish to help in the matter of submissions. We will continue to prosecute our arguments to City of Ballarat and Ballarat Councillors.

Please contact me on 5338 7696 to discuss any matters arising from these articles or to discuss any other ideas. I hope you may be able to assist? Thanks for consideration.

Ron Marshall

The Reasons For Rejecting This New Proposal – an adjunct to the discussion piece.

The proposed 14 Unit development still represents a high density of development not characteristic of the Eureka Heritage Precinct overall; especially in this area so close to the Historic Eureka Rebellion Site. The new proposal still remains disrespectful of the existing neighbourhood character; some example of this are because:

  • the block sizes are far too small
  • the dwellings are too small
  • the brick external cladding is basically alien to this section of Rodier St, similarly tiled roofs
  • there doesn’t appear to be any front fencing to the Rodier St dwellings
  • the land buffer between the Specimen Vale Creek to the perimeter of any adjacent building, which is evident the length of the Specimen Vale Creek, is not maintained on this site for this proposal

Therefore the new proposal does not satisfy Clause 32.01 of the Ballarat Planning Scheme (BPS) especially the Purpose of Residential 1 Zoning “To encourage residential development that respects the neighbourhood character”.

The new proposal does not meet certain Clauses and Standards in the BPS. Some specific examples are:

  • Clause 54.02-1 Neighbourhood character objective the Standard A1 Clause 55.02-1 Neighbourhood Character
  • Clause 55.02-3 Dwelling Diversity
  • Clause 55.03-3 Site Covering
  • Clause 56.04-1 Lot Diversity and distribution objectives the Standard C7
  • Clause 56.06-4 Neighbourhood street network objective the Standard C17

I have already mentioned in the discussion piece; the comments from VCAT Member Madam Chair Wilson included in her Decision to reject the previous proposal. It is worth reiterating that as early as in paragraph 5 of her Decision she mentions these words: “ …. fails to respect the spacious neighbourhood character of the area”.

The new proposal is inconsistent with her sentiments.

The visual impact from walking along the Bunny Trail and looking down onto 23 Rodier St will be negative as all you will see is a sea of roofs packed tightly together which is not indicative of this area.

I should mention that with the recently opened MADE centre a few 100 metres further up the road in Rodier St; a number of residents have witnessed an increased amount of traffic flow going to that attraction from the direction of Victoria St.

What future visitors to our city will come across quickly therefore, will be an unsightly view of congested roof tops as previously described, that look out of place to the neighbourhood. Welcome to Eureka Heritage Precinct!

Importantly this increased traffic volume will be magnified even greater if the density of housing proposed, is approved. This in turn with have implications for road safety in this area.

The risk to flooding in the low lying area on 23 Rodier St still remains a concern. Long time residents of this area (including Rodier St) have witnessed this first hand. They have told me they have seen flooding arising from the Specimen Vale Creek pooling onto the land proposed for development in question. They have also seen the rising waters from the Creek making its way across the road surface in Rodier St.

I would want to know that the relevant water authority, which is the Corangamite Management Catchment Authority (CCMA) is satisfied that any works done on this land; will not create any adverse effects from flooding of the creek – either to dwellings built on the land or areas downstream. Without breaking confidentiality I understand this still remains unresolved.

Ron Marshall

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