Ascot Waters residents concerned by proposed 15-storey retirement village development


Concerned residents Jeremy Dunnette, Andrew Gibb and Kim Vanderslik.
Picture: Will Russell |www.communitypix.com.au   d457702
Concerned residents Jeremy Dunnette, Andrew Gibb and Kim Vanderslik. Picture: Will Russell |www.communitypix.com.au d457702

A GROUP of Ascot Waters residents is calling on the City of Belmont to hold a special electors meeting following concerns about the 15-storey height of a proposed retirement village.

The proposed development, earmarked for council-owned land on 52 Grandstand Road in Ascot, comprises 59 aged person dwellings, 125 single bedrooms and facilities including an indoor pool, gym, café, lounge and two doctors’ consulting rooms.

If approved, part of the development will also be built on 2 Waterway Crescent, which has been purchased by development proponents Craigcare.

About 40 residents met representatives from the Belmont Community Group last week to raise their concerns about the proposed development, which needs to be approved by the Metropolitan Central Joint Development Assessment Panel.

BCG president Cassie Rowe said locals were concerned about increased traffic and parking, as well as the height and scale of the project, which she said was out of keeping with the low-rise residential area.

“People are also concerned that the proposal will detract from the character of the neighbourhood and negatively impact on the current community atmosphere,” Ms Rowe said.

The City of Belmont is in the process of negotiating the sale of the land to Craigcare.

Chief executive Stuart Cole said the City had imposed a number of requirements that had to be satisfied before the sale was finalised.

“This includes Craigcare obtaining planning approval from the Metro Central JDAP,” he said.

Mr Cole said 52 Grandstand Road had always been earmarked for a landmark development.

“A landmark development is typically a prominent building often of greater height and high-quality design, which forms an entry point to a precinct or area,” he said.

Mr Cole said the City had advertised the proposed development to all residents and landowners in Ascot Waters from July 4 to 25 as part of the planning assessment process.

But residents who spoke to the Southern Gazette last Thursday said there had not been adequate, detailed consultation with the community. Kim Vanderslik said it had been a “fundamentally flawed process”.

“There has been a lack of genuine engagement with the community and we feel considerably let down,” she said.

Jeremy Dunnette said since the proposal first came to the council in July, 2014, the height of the development had grown from four to 15 storeys.

Ms Vanderslik said the residents were aware that a development had been earmarked for the land, zoned special development but nobody had expected to see plans for a 15-storey building which she
called a “vertical sub-division”.

There are also concerns about the environmental and heritage impacts of the development and its location on a 100-year flood plain.

Ms Vanderslik said the group was preparing a motion to be discussed at a special electors’ meeting that they want the City of Belmont to call before the JDAP considers the planning application.

Residents had received a one-page letter, with an internet link on it to access more information.

“But a lot of residents in the area don’t use the internet and were not given an opportunity to view the project in detail,” she said.

Ms Vanderslik said the group was also concerned about the building being a landmark.

“A landmark is something that works with the wetland or the Garrett Road Bridge, highlighting the area,” she said.

“That is a true landmark to me, it’s not a high-rise building.”

Mr Cole said the City’s planning department assessed the proposal against applicable planning standards.

They included the local planning scheme, local planning policies and design codes.

“The City is then required to prepare a Responsible Authority Report outlining the assessment and making a recommendation as to how the JDAP should determine the application,” he said.

The city’s RAR is due on September 9.

Mr Cole said residents’ concerns were being assessed and would form part of the report to the JDAP.