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Council requested that the developer considers making significant changes to its proposed Development Plan for a new residential precinct at the former Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) site at 37 Graham Road and 32 Middleton Road in Highett.

The developer has agreed to some amendments to its proposed Development Plan, including:

  • Reduction of maximum building height for some buildings in the precinct’s central zone down to 6 storeys
  • Increased setbacks for upper storeys of buildings sited near the Middleton Street (eastern boundary).
  • One-way access for the Middleton Road exit/entry point to the site
  • Dedicated car parking spaces available for all apartments
  • Enhanced biodiversity, native and indigenous vegetation, with links with the Highett Grassy Woodland
  • All dwellings to meet or exceed Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) best practice.

  • Council has not yet decided whether or not to approve the proposed Development Plan, including any amendments. Council will consider community submissions and whether or not to approve the proposed Development Plan, subject to any amendments, at its meeting on 26 October 2021. Find out more

    If Council refuses the application, the below concessions agreed by the developer may be rescinded and the original advertised plans may be considered by VCAT.

    Amendments in response to community feedback

    The developer has agreed to reduce the maximum number of storeys for proposed buildings, Apartments D2, H and E, located in the central precinct of the site. The maximum building height of these proposed buildings has been revised from 7 storeys to 6 storeys.

    The developer has also significantly increased setbacks for the upper levels for apartment A and Apartment L so that they are further from properties on Middleton Street. The proposed siting of both these buildings is near the Eastern boundary, adjoining residential dwellings on Middleton Street, Highett.

  • Apartment A (Southern Precinct): The fourth and fifth storeys of Apartment A are now proposed to be setback a minimum of 20 and 23 metres respectively from the boundary to Middleton Street properties. Originally the fourth and fifth storeys were proposed to be setback 12.3 metres from the boundary to Middleton Street properties.
  • Apartment L (Northern Precinct): Storeys 4 – 7 are now proposed to be setback a minimum of 18 metres from the boundary to Middleton Street properties. Originally, the fourth storey was proposed to be setback 13 metres, fifth storey as 16 metres, sixth storey as 18 metres from the boundary to Middleton Street properties
  • The revised building heights will see the previous 1,048 proposed dwellings reduced to 1,022 once fully constructed.

    A key concern residents raised in their written submissions was an increase in traffic from the proposed development, once constructed. While the traffic advice provided with the application indicates the impact would not be unreasonable, at Council’s request, the developer has reviewed the access and proposed to change the Middleton Street entry/exit to become one-way.

    A one-way entry or exit point at 32 Middleton Street is expected to greatly reduce the number of vehicles accessing this street and surrounding residential streets from this point. Consequently, this would also be likely to reduce any impacts from traffic on the adjacent conservation area.

    Council has indicated support for one-way access to the site from Middleton Road. Whether this is an entry or exit point would need to be determined through further traffic and transports analysis.

    Residents also told us in their feedback that they were concerned that inadequate parking was proposed and this may impact unrestricted on-street parking in surrounding areas.

    Council has discussed this with the developer and all apartments will now be allocated a dedicated car parking space. This will reduce the need for on-street parking surrounding the site, as well as some congestion. Some purchasers may wish to decline the parking allocation, however, this will be subject to future consideration by Council.

    The site is within close proximity to the Highett and Southland train stations, and future Suburban Rail Loop station at Cheltenham, and also supported by a bus network and pedestrian footpaths. This connectivity to public transport will support the site’s future residents who choose to use both sustainable and personal modes of transport.

    The site contains three hectares (30,000m2) encompassing the Highett Grassy Woodland that will be set aside for conservation to encourage regeneration of indigenous species and natural habitat. An additional one hectare (10,000m2) of open space has been set aside for public recreation purposes.

    The setting aside of land for open space and conservation is a condition of the site’s sale between the Australian Government and developer and is the result of long standing advocacy by Council and the community.

    The developer has revised the proposed landscaping plan for the site to enhance biodiversity links to the Highett Grassy Woodland. The developer now proposes to plant indigenous species, consistent with the remnant vegetation within the Highett Grassy Woodland, throughout the site. In other locations near proposed apartments, predominately native planting with some exotic planting is to be provided.

    It is proposed that the percentage of native and indigenous plantings on the site outside of the conversation area will be upward of 85% and sourced from the Bayside Community Nursery, where possible.

    The developer has highlighted that they intend to exceed the required ESD outcomes for the site and are proposing:

  • Energy efficient buildings
  • Electric vehicle (EV) charging for a majority of dwellings
  • Water efficiency and reuse of rainwater
  • Stormwater management including water sensitive urban design (WSUD) with extensive raingardens
  • Waste management including advanced waste sorting
  • ‘No gas’ commitment at the site, consistent with Council’s declaration of a climate emergency.
  • Increased upper level setbacks and reduced heights

    Amendments proposed for Apartments A, L, D2, H and E.

    Biodiversity improvements

    Enhanced biodiversity, >85% native and indigenous vegetation on site, and links with the Highett Grassy Woodland

    Results of quick survey on proposed amendments

    An optional quick survey was completed by 220 individuals* between 7 – 15 October 2021. It was designed to test the level of support for proposed amendments to the Development Plan, and how these made participants feel about the proposed development overall.

    Council will be basing its assessment of the Development Plan on community feedback received through the recent advertised statutory process, alongside technical reports, consultation with Government Authorities and an assessment of the proposal against the Bayside Planning Scheme. Written submissions received during the consultation period provide extensive feedback on the proposed Development Plan, including level of support for key aspects of the proposed Development Plan.

    Results of the quick survey are shown the charts below.

    *241 surveys were completed and duplicate submissions were removed.

    What happens next?

    Council will consider submissions made by the community and approval of the proposed Development Plan, subject to the amendments outlined on this page, at its meeting on 26 October 2021.

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