Rodier Wrap Up
Here is a letter from Ron Marshall who lead the fight to save Rodier Street.
Dear BE Net,
I have received my official notification that Madam Chair Wilson from VCAT has upheld Council’s decision to reject the Revised Development Plan for construction of 19 Units at 23 Rodier St? Thanks very much for alerting me to the decision the other day. If you wish to quote anything from this communication to you on the BE Net website, feel free. My comments below encapsulates my present thoughts.
As either an Objector or someone opposed to this sort ‘development’ (for want of better word!); then we have been successful in stopping the building of these most inappropriate dwellings for this area – at least for the time being?! I understand the Developer can make an Appeal to the Supreme Court within 28 days of VCAT’s decision. Only time will tell if they were to pursue this course of action? I reiterate we must all remain vigilant and be prepared to continue our fight if circumstances dictate this.
Having read the decision of Madam Chair Wilson of VCAT I feel she has essentially rejected the proposal because it failed on numerous grounds to ‘adequately respect the existing neighbourhood character and the Heritage Precinct.’ I quote some excerpts from Madam Chair Wilson’s written decision:
At 1: “….. I find the design is an unacceptable response to the heritage context that various provisions of the Scheme seek to retain and enhance and fails to respect the spacious neighbourhood character of the area.”
At 12: “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.
At 16: “As I have found the proposal fails due to inadequate response to neighbourhood character and heritage values, I make only brief findings on other matters“
In her Conclusion she stated:
At 35: “……. However, the heritage overlay, nearby contributory buildings and the spacious neighbourhood character create a physical and planning context that requires a more respectful design response. …….”
I would suggest her decision in context of what I have heard about decisions made at VCAT (usually the Developer is successful) relating to ordinary citizens objecting to certain planning matters; is a significant victory for all who contributed to opposing this Development proposal.
This is a victory for ordinary people and it ought to serve as an example to all Ballarat ratepayers and citizens that they too, can succeed in prosecuting their concerns about similar building proposals. We have now proven that success can be achieved by being united, doing adequate research to support our arguments and most importantly; citizens must be determined and persevering in their efforts.
Essentially I believe this development proposal failed because it was a lazy and inept attempt to thrust an inappropriate design response into an existing environs, that was completely alien to that environs. This exemplified a degree of arrogance and ignorance on the part of the Developer and those consultants engaged by the Developer to do his/her bidding.
VCAT’s decision should serve as a warning to all Developers that to display such contempt to the existing amenity of residents is unwise. Developers should make genuine efforts to consult widely with the communities that may be adversely effected by their plans. The decision by VCAT sends a clear message to Developers that they need to come up with housing plans that do truly reflect the existing neighbourhood character and are sympathetic to the heritage values existing in the environs proposed for building.
Perhaps now is the time for this Developer to donate the land to Council and the local citizens so that they can transform it into a park or a community gardens for example? I have already received some very worthwhile suggestions for appropriate community land usage at 23 Rodier St. I would urge people to make those suggestions public knowledge through the various media outlets and/or Councillors. Maintain the rage!
“What do think would have been the outcome of the TWO planning proposals put to the City of Ballarat and Ballarat City Council had there not been a strong and persistent residential campaign to oppose these development plans?”
Finally I would like to thank you specifically and all Ballarat citizens who supported this Cause in any way, shape or form. I am sure you share my relief and you are chuffed as well! This is a lovely Xmas present to those citizens. I bid you an enjoyable and safe Xmas and New Year.
PS: The oath of the diggers at the Eureka Stockade may be even just a tad relevant?
“We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties”.