The Thin Edge of the Wedge

Published on 22 March 2018

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All political parties should take a long-term planning view of the environmentally sensitive Mornington Peninsula region for the benefit of future generations.

The Mornington Peninsula, one of Victoria’s most environmentally sensitive and favourite holiday spots for Melburnians, could be over-run by urban development if all political parties do not take a long-term view and consistent action to strengthen the planning controls over the Mornington Peninsula.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council is calling on the Victorian Government to reverse its push to promote three storey McMansion style housing throughout the towns and villages of the Peninsula.

The Council has also called on the Victorian State Opposition to release its policy on the issue.    

Cr Bryan Payne, Mayor of Mornington Peninsula Shire Council said “The introduction by the Victorian Government of three storey, 11 metre height limits in the General Residential Zone can now occur without a planning permit. The height changes are inconsistent with the character of the Peninsula’s residential areas.

Under the State Government’s approach three storey homes can be approved by a private building surveyor without Council knowing about or seeing the building application cutting neighbours totally out of the picture. 

Last year the Victorian Government, overnight and without consultation, changed the planning regulation to allow 24,000 housing sites (25% of housing within the Mornington Peninsula Shire) the automatic right to build new or renovate existing homes into three storey homes throughout low scale developed townships and coastal villages.

“This is a major mistake by the Victorian Government which does not reflect their own policy of protecting environmentally sensitive areas.

We believe the Department of Planning made this decision without understanding the impact it could have and no one has been able to explain the action.   

Villages and townships under threat from the Victorian Government’s blanket three storey housing policy include Capel Sound, Rosebud, Dromana, Mount Martha, Mornington, Baxter, Somerville, Tyabb, Hastings and Bittern.”

“In the future what this means for any of our residents in these areas is that they could find a three storey home being built next door or on either side with no ability to appeal.” 

This planning policy is The Thin Edge of The Wedge and is a clear and present danger to the long-term planning of the Mornington Peninsula’s residential environments because of the domino impact. This is experienced in Melbourne suburbs where existing houses are demolished and replaced by vastly oversized homes dramatically changing the neighbourhood.   

Cr. Payne said “The Mornington Peninsula Shire Council is urging all political parties to take a long-term planning view of the environmentally sensitive region for future generations and implement strict planning controls which will protect the environment, character, economic and social fabric of the Peninsula.

“The lack of clear planning controls will not only impact on the residents of the Mornington Peninsula but also on future generations of the hundreds of thousands of Melburnians who visit the Peninsula annually for holidays or day trips.”