Letter to the Editor,
The Progress Leader is to be congratulated for helping the Bracks
Government's Minister for Planning, Rob "The Ruler" Hulls (11/10)
actually engage in public debate on Kew Cottages. You have succeeded
where residents, parents, and the rest of us, including the Kew
Cottages Coalition, had all failed !
Minister Hulls mischievously says that "debate..is the hallmark" of
strong democracy", however, as we all know it was his predecessor,
Minister Delahunty, who completely scuttled any chance of proper
public debate on the Cottages when she withdrew third-party appeal
rights on 11th of November 2003. The best that can be hoped for now is
that Boroondara Council will be given 28 days to respond to a new
Development Plan for the Cottages. A new plan that apparently no
one outside of the offices of the Bracks Government and their Sydney
Developer, Walker Corporation has even seen yet ! So much for informed
public debate !
As to the facts of the high-rise flats shown in the Government's plans
submitted to Heritage Victoria over the past six months, I would
encourage you to simply look at the plans yourself, and draw your own
conclusions. We have put copies of the DHS plans publicly
submitted to the State's Heritage watchdog on our website at
Yes, the Minister, is now correct, the RL height of the 5 storey
flats will no longer be 81m, following Heritage Victoria's
intervention last month, it will now be only 79.8m ! A
'significant reduction', as Sir Humphrey would say.
On the 9th of September the Bracks Government withdrew its original
plan that showed the proposed RL height of their 5 storey flats to be
81.3m, and submitted a revised plan to comply with Heritage Permit
P9639 Condition 8, issued on that date, which states in part, "the overall building height, including
plant, shall not to (sic) exceed RL 79.8.."
I congratulate Rob Hulls on this outcome in his role as Minister for
Heritage - a 1.5 metre height reduction in a high-rise block of
yuppy flats overlooking the Yarra on such a sensitive landmark site
named after the creator of the Australian Game, is not exactly
overwhelming, but it is a start for a young batsman new to the heritage
Bracks had to argue ' Government economic hardship' to get the flats
approved at all by his Heritage watchdog. Not an easy task at a time of
record State Government surpluses. So it appears Hulls was on a
good heritage batting wicket, despite facing strong opposition from his
Cabinet colleagues who wished to extract the maximum economic return
from the private sale of the Cottages Crown Land, no matter what the
cost to Victoria's cultural heritage.
A courageous stand by the Minister. Unfortunately it appears bad light
stopped play at Heritage (9/9), and now its back to VCAT( 14/10) for
another one day game with bat, ball, ruler, and of course a light
meter for the umpire tomorrow.
Kew Cottages Coalition