Presentation to MBRC 19 November 2019

Mayor Sutherland, Councillors.                                                                                                     

When I last spoke to Council I referenced a block of land in Newport, located in the original Stockland subdivision. In flagrant disregard of the block’s 8.5 metre building height restriction, it was being marketed for sale with the potential to construct high rise units.

Council has now received a development application for that block. It includes a proposal to construct a 6 storey tower, being only Phase 1 of two stages. Phase 2 also includes a 6 storey tower.  

If these two towers are to fit within the 8.5 metre height restriction quite frankly, the only people capable of living in them will be Lilliputians. Clearly, a breach of regulations is being sought to increase the height to an actual 20.5metres.

Our community agrees with you – Six Storey towers are out of synch with the future you have planned for Newport.

Before Council zoned this land Next Generation Neighbourhood , the whole community, including the owner, was given the opportunity to have input before the plan was finalised

Yet still, this development application’s density of 110 dwellings per hectare is 35 dwellings more than the maximum of 75 allowed.

The 6 Storey Tower itself has a density of 166 dwellings. A staggering 99 more than the maximum allowed. 

This high concentration of dwellings in this extremely over height construction is not what the Council envisaged and not what the community expected or wants.

This site has been described as a ‘Superlot’. Special consideration is being sought. It is larger than the other lots. It could however be reconfigured. Its size does not preclude or excuse it from complying with zoning restrictions. Superman might be able to ignore flying regulations but he’s a fantasy character for a reason.

‘Superlots’ don’t get to ignore building codes. Nowhere in your Strategic Plan is provision given for special considerations for superman or ‘Superlots’.

The ownership of this estate is now comprised of hundreds of residents, not just the original owner. Their voices and opinions are curiously absent from this development application.  

The development application claims that these silenced people- who chose to live in Newport for the lifestyle it offered –  knew that these towers would be constructed. That the three D model in the Sales Office and ‘fly overs’ prove this. This would be more believable if the three D model in the Sales Office and ‘fly overs’ had actually reflected these high towers and their true scale and proportion, it would also be more believable if the height restrictions on the block actually permitted structures like these. The claim that people in the community ‘knew’ has been actively refuted by those very same people.

The complete lack of community engagement or consultation on this proposal flies in the face of good governance, community spirit and the MBRC. The developer didn’t seem interested in knowing the community, but we know, you are.

The Negative Impacts of a concentrated, high density, high rise population bubble on the surrounding unsuspecting neighbours would be significant: dominating, overshadowing, loss of privacy, parking congestion, traffic congestion and lack of pedestrian safety. Right next to a children’s playground.

Adding six storey unit towers , with their multi-car owning residents and visitors to an already busy community– it’s clear why  you had the foresight to recuse this kind of building from the Next Generation Neighbourhood. You planned for the community’s liveability and safety and we thank you.

In the Stockland subdivision is a six storey building. We acknowledge that Council gave approval for this for special reasons-  Retirement Living.

It is flawed however to assume that because there is already a six storey building in the area then this next application should be automatically approved. With that logic, we would have six storey buildings anywhere and everywhere. If a boat takes on water and no action is taken to stop more water from being added, the boat will sink.

It is also flawed logic to claim that because the original subdivision chose not to make use of the maximum 75 dwellings limit, then this block of land should be able to compensate by increasing its capacity. If a boat has a 75 person limit but only takes 50, that doesn’t increase its capacity the next time to take 100 people. The boat will sink.

Our planning scheme is there to protect us.

MBRC is our community’s lifeguard. The future of our neighbourhood rests within your Strategic Plan and the faith you have in your own foresight.

Kenlie Williams