Ascot Waters residents rise up against land sale for retirement village


Up in arms over 15-storey development: Residents are ‘overwhelmingly opposed’ to the sale of council land to Craigcare for them to build a retirement village.
Ascot Waters residents rise up against land sale for retirement village
Up in arms over 15-storey development: Residents are ‘overwhelmingly opposed’ to the sale of council land to Craigcare for them to build a retirement village.

ASCOT Waters residents have called on the City of Belmont to revoke its decision to sell land to aged care developer Craigcare to build a 15-storey retirement village at 52 Grandstand Road, Ascot.

The proposed development has to be approved by the Metropolitan Central Joint Development Assessment Panel before the city makes the final decision, expected to be in November.

Residents are also concerned that their views will not be represented at a JDAP meeting after learning that City of Belmont councillors would not take part because of conflict of interest concerns.

At the council’s August 23 meeting, Mayor Phil Marks said: “as council owns the land in question, this causes a conflict of interest for the councillor representatives on the JDAP”. Further, certain conditions were placed on the sale of the land by Council, which is also a conflict of interest.”

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The council had decided to sell the land to Craigcare at its May 2016 meeting conditional upon all criteria outlined in its recommendation of July 22, 2014 being met.”

Cr Marks said the three remaining members on the JDAP were independent experts appointed by the State Government.

About 150 residents attended a special electors meeting at the City of Belmont last Wednesday to air their concerns about development.

Main concerns raised included the proposed 15-storey height of the development and the impact it would have on the residential amenity of the area, including privacy and traffic issues.

Belmont Community Group president Cassie Rowe said Ascot Waters residents had been “overwhelmingly” opposed to the proposed development.

“Residents feel that they have been, at best, ignored by council, at worst, misled and betrayed during this whole process,” Ms Rowe said.

She said the council had engaged in some “tick the box” consultation with many residents not receiving letters, which omitted to mention the proposed height of the building.

“This supposed consultation was certainly not a two-way process nor did it show an authentic desire to hear what the residents really thought,” she said.

She said a 15-storey building would “detrimentally impact the amenity of the area irreversibly and set a precedent for further high rises in Ascot Waters.”

City of Belmont acting chief executive officer Neville Deague said the JDAP would consider the application based on its planning merits.

“The city has arranged for the proposed development to be assessed by two independent planning urban design consultants whose reports will specifically address the height and bulk of the building and its potential impact on nearby housing,” he said.

“The aesthetics and building design will be other elements to be addressed.”

Mr Deague said JDAP would consider the building’s height and said fixing height limits was a controversial issue.

The City of Belmont council will consider the residents’ motion at its September 27 meeting.

A total of 148 resident voted for the motion, with one against, Craigcare chief executive officer John Gillett.