The Bayside City Council has decided to ignore a 241 page report from their officers and reject a planning application that would have delivered 18 public housing units in Hampton.
In a proposal dating back to the Liberal Government, the plan was to combine DHHS land with VicTrack land used for train station car parking to deliver a 207 apartment development with ground level shops.
Currently there are 16 single bedroom units, and initially it was proposed to replace them like-for-like in the new development.
However, a recent re-design has increased the public housing component to 18, including five 2-bedroom units. We are pleased that VPTA advocacy has helped, in part at least, to achieve this improvement.
Shortlisting of developers began in 2014. Tenants have been relocated and currently 12 units are empty, some have been empty for 2 years.
At their meeting on June 22 Council decided to reject the application despite their officers’ recommendation. The matter will now go to VCAT for review. So far this year VCAT has been overturned or ‘Set Aside’ 56% of decisions by Bayside City Council.
The Council decision means they would rather retain an open-air par park than deliver a modern development with great access to public transport.
It also means that vital public housing assets remain vacant, probably for another year. This will disadvantage those tenants who have relocated, and are waiting to return to the new development.
It also disadvantages the tenants who remain, who have had to endure vandals and squatters targeting the vacant units.
This matter once again highlights the weaknesses of the current system. To ensure that vital assets are appropriately used we need a streamlined approval process for public housing projects.