Tag Archives: Frogmore

FROGMORE UPDATE

Many readers will remember GERA’s unsuccessful “ Save Frogmore Campaign” (1 Wahgoo Road, Carnegie) and Glen Eira Council’s shameful 9/6/2015 decision to abandon applying heritage protection to Frogmore House before it could be assessed by an Independent Planning Panel (effectively denying all stakeholders access to the appropriate due planning scheme amendment process). The end result being the demolition of Frogmore House occurring in July, 2015.

Unfortunately, it appears that an addendum has recently been added to the shameful Frogmore Saga.   This time it is related to processing the of the planning permit application for a two storey Aged Care Facility which includes a proposal to remove 88 trees from the site.

BRIEF RECAP

The 9/6/2015 decision to abandon heritage decision for Frogmore was made

  • despite
    • a Council commissioned Independent Heritage Expert Assessment (Jan, 2015), which unequivocally recommended Heritage Protection at the Municipal Level.
    • it being inconsistent with the Glen Eira Municipal Strategic Statement, Glen Eira Planning Scheme and the 1987 Planning and Environment Act objectives of planning for Victoria. Inadequate strategic justification was provided to support this inconsistency.
    • a recommendation from the National Trust
    • considerable community support for Heritage Protection to be applied to Frogmore (petition of approx. 1000 signatures, planning conference 300+ letters of support for protection vs. 2 against protection)
    • Council’s
      • Instigation (reportedly by Mayor Magee) of an Interim Protection Order for Frogmore in Jan, 2015
      • 2/2/2015 6 to 3 decision to proceed with Heritage Protection based on the January, 2015 Heritage Advisor’s Report (For Protection Crs. Sounness, Okotel, Lobo, Delahunty, Esakoff and Magee; Against Protection Crs. Pilling, Hyams and Lipshutz)
  • based on
    • reliance on an inappropriate process (the planning permit approval process) to determined Heritage Values vs. the appropriate Planning Scheme Amendment process
    • reliance on an outdated (2002) Municipal Wide Heritage Assessment that recognised Frogmore as significant but excluded it from Heritage Protection in part because in was not located in a heritage protection area.   This flawed 2002 application of  the “safety in numbers” concept to heritage determination overrode the January 2015 assessment (which in addition to many other factors), recommended protection due to it’s individual location (rarity) and took into account social and demographic changes that had occurred since 2002. “It’s a victim of it’s own rarity”
    • that the potential purchaser (Jewish Care) had acted in good faith and undertaken significant expenditure in identifying and negotiating the site for re-development as an Aged Care Facility. FYI – caveat emptor is not listed as either a planning or heritage consideration
    • an unsubstantiated determination of Net Community Benefit of 120 beds. With 120 beds equating Jewish Care’s assessment of site potential if Frogmore wasn’t retained.  Clearly, this net community benefit calculation ascribes a zero value to heritage.
    • the decision of Heritage Victoria not to award State Level Protection to Frogmore which was a decision based on an assessment at the broader State Level rather than smaller Municipal Level. Council’s use of the Heritage Victoria decision as a justification, ignores the fact that Heritage Protection, within Australia, provides for heritage recognition and protection at the Municipal Level. It also ignores the fact that Council’s commissioned 01/ 2015, Heritage Advisors Assessment was undertaken at the Municipal Level and recommends protection at that level

 “Frogmore is significant to the locality of Carnegie and Murrumbeena and City of Glen Eira and should be conserved as one of the cultural assets of the city   … Frogmore House should be included in the schedule to heritage over lay clause 43.01 by the Glen Eira Planning Scheme”.

  • a casting vote – in the absence of the Mayor (Magee) and declarations of conflicts of interest (arising since February, 2015) from the Deputy Mayor (Delahunty) and Cr. Esakoff, the immediate past Mayor Cr. Pilling took and chair and exercised his casting vote. (For Protection Crs. Sounness, Okotel, Lobo; Against Protection Crs. Pilling (2 votes), Hyams and Lipshutz)

CURRENT ISSUE

9/6/2015              Decision to abandon heritage protection

17/6/2015           Planning Permit Application for a 2 storey Aged Care Facility at 1 Wahgoo Road, Carnegie, lodged with Council for Council review.

21/7/2015            Frogmore House Demolished

13/9/2015            1 Wahgoo Road, Carnegie site aerial photo ex Nearmap

wahgoo spetember 2015

15/9/2015           Advertising period for Planning Permit Application commenced, ie. plans made available for residents review and possible objections.

Included in the permit documentation provided for residents review is a proposal for the removal of 88 trees – we’d appreciate readers assistance in finding them in the above 13/9/2015 aerial photograph.

To aid you below is a aerial picture of the site circa January, 2015.

Frogmore H&L

And a picture taken during the July 2015 demolition works

012 T

29/9/2015           Advertising period completed. Objections received to be considered by Council in near future.

FROGMORE – Department of Planning Appeal

Demolition on Frogmore House itself has started – on the southern side of the house the verandah has been removed and trees are being sawn down.   On the northern side the 1960’s-1990’s extensions (of no heritage merit) are rapidly being demolished.

At the end of last week GERA spoke with an Advisor in the Department of Planning – it seems despite the our assertions (which are supported by presented documentation and the National Trust*) that Council’s 9/6/2015 decision was fundamentally flawed**,  the Department of Planning is reluctant to get involved in a decision that has already been made by another level of government.

Many of the Save Frogmore supporters are wondering why

  • ministerial approval is required for either a Municipal Planning Scheme and Planning Scheme amendments, and
  • a provision for a Ministerial Direction was included in the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

Please keep calling/emailing the Minister for Planning’s office so that our next posting is not entitled “Vale Frogmore”.  Your calls/emails are having an impact.

 Email:                    richard.wynne@parliament.vic.gov.au

 Telephone:         (03) 8392 6175

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Footnotes

National Trust Letter* (click to enlarge)NT Letter P1 TNT Letter P2 Fundamental Flaws**

  • Disregards accredited Independent Heritage Advice received in January, 2015
  • lacks adequate strategic justification, particularly with regards the determination of net community benefit
  • is inconsistent with the Glen Eira Planning Scheme (Heritage and Aged Care) and the 1987 Planning and Environment Act objectives of planning for Victoria
  • denies all stakeholders access to the appropriate due planning scheme amendment process,

 

 

 

 

 

******************

Fundamental Flaws*

  • Disregards accredited Independent Heritage Advice received in January, 2015
  • lacks adequate strategic justification, particularly with regards the determination of net community benefit
  • is inconsistent with the Glen Eira Planning Scheme (Heritage and Aged Care) and the 1987 Planning and Environment Act objectives of planning for Victoria
  • denies all stakeholders access to the appropriate due planning scheme amendment process,

 

 

FROGMORE – D-Day Countdown

Update – 1/7/2015 – Buildings included in yesterday’s first photo now rubble.

002

007

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It appears the Victorian Department of Planning is “caught up in red tape” and even though aware that demolition is imminent, has yet to review Glen Eira Council’s highly questionable decision to abandon heritage protection for Frogmore House.

 Frogmore Demolition Works – 30/6/2015

 Demolition works are currently concentrated on the 1960’s – 1990’s Aged Care Extensions which were superficially connected to Frogmore and were not to be included in the Heritage Overlay. (Frogmore’s iconic tower is visible in the background)

008

 003

 Surrounding residents’ report that Frogmore House currently remains externally intact, however, internally doors, stairs and various other fittings have been removed.  Their “D-day” estimate, based on progress to date, is that Frogmore may well be “gone” by the end of the week (at the latest early next week).

 Apparently, the slow pace of the Department of Planning is attributable to a need for a specific rationale for a State Government Department to get involved in a decision that has already been made by another level of government.

Of course GERA believes that Glen Eira’s decision to abandon the heritage protection doesn’t stand up to planning scrutiny. The arguments presented on this site have also been presented to the Minister (14/6), together with relevant documentation (ie. January, 2015 Council commissioned Heritage Advisor’s Report and Recommendation, Council’s 3/2/2015 rationale to protect and 9/6/2015 rationale not to protect) and approximately 350 signed form letters from the community. We are also aware of that a large number of our readers (both within the Glen Eira community and the broader community) have also contacted the Department of Planning in support of heritage protection for Frogmore.

Given the recently announced State Heritage Review, residents are now wondering why the Department is not making the review of Frogmore a priority.   After all in January, 2015 Frogmore was unequivocally recommended for Heritage Protection at the Local Level (historic significance, architectural merit, rarity and associations), yet in making it’s 9/6/2015 abandon decision Council ignored that expert report and reverted to Council’s 2003 dubious decision not to apply heritage protection as Frogmore was not located within an identified heritage area.  Frogmore hasn’t moved but heritage standards and social attitudes have.

We know it’s a repetitive ask but clearly the above photo’s show that this really is your last chance to save Frogmore.   Please contact the Planning Minister to lobby for urgent action.

 Contact details

Email:                    richard.wynne@parliament.vic.gov.au

Telephone:         (03) 8392 6175

Mail:                      Level 20, 1 Spring Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Twitter:                http://twitter.com/rwynnemp

 

To assist you, please feel free to cut and paste the following guideline

Hon. Richard Wynne, Minister for Planning

Request to review Glen Eira City Council Planning Scheme Amendments 136 (interim Protection) and C137 (Local Heritage Overlay) for 1 Wahgoo Road, Carnegie (a.k.a. Frogmore)

I request that you urgently act to re-instate interim protection for Frogmore while Department of Planning reviews the strategic justifications presented by Glen Eira City Council in support of it’s 9/6/2015 resolution to abandon heritage protection for 1 Wahgoo Road, Carnegie (a.k.a. Frogmore).

Glen Eira Council has not addressed key planning issues and disregarded accredited heritage advice. The end result being a resolution to withdraw/abandon planning scheme amendments C136 (interim protection) and C137 (heritage protection) that

  • denies all stakeholders access to the appropriate due planning scheme amendment process,
  • lacks adequate strategic justification, and
  • is inconsistent with the Glen Eira Planning Scheme and the 1987 Planning and Environment Act objectives of planning for Victoria

FROGMORE’S LAST GASP

Frogmore in summer w T

Frogmore – October, 2014

Less than 10 days after Council’s seriously flawed 9/6/2015 resolution to abandon local heritage protection for Frogmore its days are clearly numbered.

  • Vegetation has been cleared, fences erected and portable toilets installed.
  • Planning Permit (GE/PP-28101/2015) for “Redevelopment of existing site for a new residential aged care facility” has been lodged.

As per our previous posting, GERA has been lobbying, Richard Wynne, Minister for Planning, to act to re-instate interim protection for Frogmore, to enable his Department’s review of the strategic justifications presented by Council in support of it’s 9/6/2015 abandon heritage protection resolution.

Clearly, time is of the essence and we again urge the community to email or call the Minister to request him to act.

PLEASE EMAIL OR CALL NOW – otherwise, the next time you hear of Frogmore it will be in a demolition announcement.

Contact details

Email:                    richard.wynne@parliament.vic.gov.au

Telephone:         (03) 8392 6175

Mail:                      Level 20, 1 Spring Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000

Twitter:              http://twitter.com/rwynnemp

 To assist you, please feel free to use the following guideline

Hon. Richard Wynne, Minister for Planning

Request to review Glen Eira City Council Planning Scheme Amendments 136 (interim Protection) and C137 (Local Heritage Overlay) for 1 Wahgoo Road, Carnegie (a.k.a. Frogmore)

I request that you urgently act to re-instate interim protection for Frogmore while Department of Planning reviews the strategic justifications presented by Glen Eira City Council in support of it’s 9/6/2015 resolution to abandon heritage protection for 1 Wahgoo Road, Carnegie (a.k.a. Frogmore).

Glen Eira Council has not addressed key planning issues and disregarded accredited heritage advice. The end result being a resolution to withdraw/abandon planning scheme amendments C136 and C137 that

  • denies all stakeholders access to the appropriate due planning scheme amendment process,
  • lacks adequate strategic justification, and
  • inconsistent with the Glen Eira Planning Scheme and the 1987 Planning and Environment Act objectives of planning for Victoria

NO MORE FROGMORE

RIP Frogmore T

We regret to inform readers that at last Tuesday’s (9/6/2015) Council Meeting, Councillor’s resolved to withdraw/abandon heritage protection for Frogmore via the planning scheme amendment process (ie. heritage overlay).

Thus, Frogmore’s future will now be inappropriately determined by a planning permit approval process which does not consider heritage unless that heritage has been previously recognised via a heritage overlay.

The Age – 11/6/2015

National Trust 10/6/2015

Historic Home to face the wrecking ball – 11/6/2015 – Magic1278 (linked added 16/6/2015).

Glen Eira Leader – articled added 16/6/2015.

Leader on Frogmore Decision T

GERA believes that the resolution to halt the amendment process

  • does not give appropriate consideration to the heritage retention values shown by the significant community support for the preservation of Frogmore.
  • does not recognise that the Planning Scheme Amendment process is the appropriate  heritage recognition process
  • has disregarded current expert heritage advice without sound reasons
  • has not provided adequate strategic justification for withdrawing/abandoning the amendments

AMENDMENT C136  and C137 BACKGROUND

These amendments were initiated by residents (ie. a petition comprising approximately 1,000 signatures) in December, 2014, and resulted in a Council decision to commission an Independent Local Heritage Assessment of Frogmore.  Council defined the Assessment’s terms of reference.

On 3/2/2015, based on the findings and recommendation of that Independent Local Heritage Assessment, Council initiated amendments C136 (Interim Protection) and C137 (Heritage Overlay, ie. permanent protection).

 “Frogmore is significant to the locality of Carnegie and Murrumbeena and City of Glen Eira and should be conserved as one of the cultural assets of the city.  …  Frogmore House should be included in the schedule to heritage over lay clause 43.01 by the Glen Eira Planning Scheme”.

 The above 2015 Frogmore Independent Heritage Assessment (a.k.a. Graeme Butler Report) recommendation was based on a detailed analysis of

  • Frogmore’s heritage merits (historic, architecture, rarity and associations) in its own right, and
  • in comparison with Glen Eira’s identified historic building stock

and measured the analysis results against the assessment criteria

  • applicable to Glen Eira’s 1996-2003 Municipal Heritage Survey and
  • Heritage Victoria’s current heritage criteria, assessed within the context of the Glen Eira municipality (5 of 8 criteria satisfied, only 1 is required to be met)

 The National Trust supports the findings and recommendation of the 2015 Frogmore Independent Local Heritage Assessment.

 On 9/6/2015, although nothing has occurred that would alter the 2015 Frogmore Local Heritage Assessment findings or recommendation, the resolution not to proceed to a hearing before an Independent Planning Panel was made, based on a casting vote.  In the absence of 3  Councillors which included the Mayor and Deputy Mayor (apologies from the Mayor and Deputy Mayor Delahunty and Cr. Esakoff declaring conflicts of interest which had arisen since their participation in the 3/2/2015 resolution to commence the protection process), the immediate past Mayor (Cr. Pilling) took the chair and the casting vote.   The voting was 4 to 3.

Voting for withdrawal/abandon – Crs. Hyams, Lipshutz and Pilling (2 votes)

Voting to continue the amendment process – Crs. Sounness, Okotel and Lobo.

 DISREGARDING ACCREDITED EXPERT ADVICE

  • The 2015 Frogmore Independent Heritage Advisor’s Local Assessment should supersede the 1996-2003 Glen Eira Municipal Heritage Survey, which excluded Frogmore from a local heritage overlay.   However, support for the withdrawal/abandoning of the Amendments C136 and C137, is reliant upon the 1996-2003 Heritage Survey.  A survey which contradicts the findings and recommendation of the 2015 Independent Heritage assessment.
  • The need to consider Frogmore in the context of the municipality (9/6/2015 Officer’s Report) does not justify abandoning the planning scheme amendments. Nor does it recognise that the detailed 2015 Frogmore Heritage Assessment was undertaken at the Local Level.
  • Asserting that the 2015 Frogmore Local Assessment recommended protection “because” of associations (refer Officers Report – 9/6/2015) “downplays” the 2015 Local Heritage Assessment’s recommendation that is based on a detailed assessment of Frogmore’s historic significance, architectural merit, rarity and associations.
  • Inappropriately referencing Heritage Victoria’s March, 2015 Assessment (which did not recommend State Level Protection), “blurs the line” between State and Local Assessments. When a State Assessment recommends State Level Protection, local level protection automatically follows. Conversely, the absence of State Level protection does not, and should not, impact recognition of significance at the Local Level.
  • The 1996-2003 decision not to include Frogmore in a heritage overlay was based on
    • Frogmore not being located in an “identified heritage area” – this is not a current heritage assessment criteria and arguably a stand-alone location enhances, rather than diminishes, heritage value.
    • Addition of extensions (1960’s – 1990’s) surrounding the building – Amendment C137 does not apply to these extensions which are described as being “superficial” in the 2015 Frogmore Local Assessment
    • Obscured street visibility (due to extensions) – not a heritage assessment criteria and able to be addressed during re-development.
    • Non original modifications – the 2015 Frogmore Local Assessment did not find these modifications significant.
  • Does not adequately consider the National Trust’s recommendation to preserve Frogmore via the applying a local heritage overlay.

STRATEGIC JUSTIFICATION

  • Given the 2015 Frogmore Independent Heritage Advisor’s Local Assessment findings and recommendation, Glen Eira Council’s decision not to proceed with local heritage protection for Frogmore is inconsistent with the

– purpose and objectives of the Glen Eira’s Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS – Clause 21.10) and

– Glen Eira’s Planning Scheme (GEPS – Clause 41.01 – Purpose) and

– objectives of planning for Victoria, as identified by the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

The supporters of these amendments (C136 and C137) agree with the objectives and purposes of these documents and have consistently argued that good planning should result in an outcome that would retain Frogmore for current and future residents without preventing redevelopment (Aged Care or other permitted use), albeit a “scaled back” development. The protection of heritage values is a valid planning consideration in planning decisions.

  • The site is a large site (8,000 sqm, of which approximately 1,000 sqm accommodates Frogmore House and its significant vegetation identified in the 2015 Frogmore Local Heritage Assessment) that presents a unique opportunity for a good planning outcome that caters for multiple community usages, ie. preservation of heritage and redevelopment as an Aged Care Facility that is consistent with and encouraged by the above documents.

Abandoning Amendment C137 will not put in place orderly planning controls that conserve and enhance buildings identified as significant while also providing for sympathetic redevelopment that balances the present and future interests and needs of Glen Eira’s residents.

  • The suggestion that planning issues (particularly those related to heritage issues on large lots) are more appropriately addressed during the planning permit approval process (Officer’s Reports 3/2/2015 and 9/6/2015) is inconsistent with the above documents and will result in ad hoc, piecemeal decisions. The planning permit process only considers planning controls that are in place – no heritage controls = no Frogmore.

Abandoning Amendment C137 will not provide an appropriate forum to consider Frogmore’s heritage.

  • It is extremely difficult to see “The Minister for Planning has, to date, not responded to Council’s request of 4 February 2015 to place interim heritage control over the land” as a justification to withdraw/abandon the amendments.

Additional comments

  • No plans for the proposed redevelopment have been lodged with Council and, contrary to Officer’s Reports (3/2/2015 & 9/6/2015), the site has yet to be acquired by the potential developer. The sales agreement is conditional upon obtaining planning approval.
  • Net Community Benefit (NCB) – refer 9/6/2015 Officer’s Report (Section 6 Public Notice – Objectors), is frequently mentioned yet rarely documented or quantified. Recent discussions determine its value as being 120 beds.
    • No detailed professional analysis substantiating this determination (that NCB = 120 beds) has been presented.  The potential developer’s optimal proposed development comprises a 120 bed facility and the loss of Frogmore. Despite the 2015 Frogmore Local Heritage Assessment, this NCB determination clearly assigns a zero value to heritage.
    • Neither the Officer’s Report (9/6/2015) or Councillor discussion refer to the proposed developer’s planning conference comment that while their analysis indicated that a 60 bed facility was viable and would enable Frogmore to be retained, the developer was not interested in a lesser development and would prefer to look for an alternative site
  • That the potential developer had acted in good faith, undertaken due diligence and incurred significant costs in identifying the property as suitable and plan preparation (Officer’s Report’s 3/2/2015 & 9/6/2015 and Councillor discussion). While this is a regrettable situation, it is however, not a strategic justification for abandoning the heritage protection process.
  • That by abandoning the heritage overlay process, the potential developer avoids lengthy delays in site redevelopment. This is not a strategic justificiation for abandoning the heritage protection process.

It sets a dangerous precedent if unsubstantiated Net Community Benefit, “good faith”, costs incurred by the developer and the avoidance of developmental delays are deemed to provide sufficient justification for abandoning the planning scheme amendments. The protection of heritage values is a valid planning consideration in planning decisions.

In conclusion,

  • we re-iterate our earlier comments that Glen Eira Council has not addressed key planning issues and disregarded accredited heritage advice. The end result being a decision to withdraw/abandon planning scheme amendments C136 and C137 that is without adequate strategic justification and denies all stakeholders access to the appropriate due planning scheme amendment process, and

– reviews the 2015 Local Heritage Assessment and the withdraw/abandon justifications

– decides an appropriate course of action ie. either deny Council’s application to withdraw or abandon Amendments C136 & C137 or use Ministerial Direction to ensure that an appropriate heritage recognition process is undertaken.

SAVE FROGMORE – HELP!!!!! (Part 4)

On behalf of the Save Frogmore campaigners, GERA is asking readers to assist in lobbying Councillors, prior to next Tuesday’s (9/6) meeting, to reject a recommendation to abandon Planning Scheme Amendment C137 which applies a Heritage Overlay (HO154) on Frogmore House (1 Wahgoo Street, Carnegie).

The recommendation to abandon Heritage Protection for Frogmore is found in the Officer’s Report  included as Item 9.6  in the Meeting Agenda and reads as follows:

 “Recommendation

                 That Council

  1. Abandons Planning Scheme Amendment C137 and advises the Minister for Planning, and
  2. Writes to the Minister for Planning withdrawing the request for interim heritage controls over the land (Amendment 136)”

The information presented to support abandoning the Heritage Overlay is highly questionable (and will be questioned in our next posting).  A vote accept the äbandonment will see Frogmore disappear forever in the “figurative blink of an eye“.   On the other hand, a vote to reject the recommendation to abandon the amendment will

  • acknowledge the key issue of heritage and it’s value to the community by
    • re-affirming the findings of the council commissioned Independent Heritage Advisor’s Assessment, which deemed Frogmore as meeting the threshold for inclusion in the local heritage overlay under Clause 21.10 of the Local Planning Policy Framework – a framework which Council has a responsibility to uphold.
    • allowing the planning approval process, as recommended by the Independent Heritage Advisor Assessment, and voted for by Council on 3/2/2015, to run its due course (and save Frogmore for at least as long as the planning approval process takes).
  • be accordance with
    • Council’s heritage policies and strategies of
      • Protecting places identified as having architectural, cultural or historical significance.
      • Ensuring sympathetic redevelopment and renovation of areas and places identified as having architectural, cultural or historic significance in the municipality.
    • the objectives of planning for Victoria (as identified in the Planning and Environment Act 1987) of
      • Conserving and enhancing those buildings, areas or other places which are of scientific, aesthetic, architectural or historical interest, or otherwise of special cultural value; and
      • Balancing the present and future interests of all Victorians.

Details of significance of Frogmore are available in GERA’s earlier postings

Save Frogmore, Save Frogmore – Part 2Save Frogmore – Part 3 – The Planning Conference

As previously mentioned our next posting will review and question the Officers Report and it’s recommendation, however, at this stage that is a secondary concern.  Right now our primary concern is “getting the word out” and encouraging readers to contact each Councillor, either by phone (leave a voice message if necessary) or email (to each Councillor individually – if the email is addressed to multiple Councillors only first Councillor will respond), prior to next Tuesday’s Council Meeting.   Please do not rely on others to do the lobbying – they are relying on you.

Councillor Contact detailsCouncillor Contact Details0001 – click to enlarge

SAVE FROGMORE – PART 3 – THE PLANNING CONFERENCE

The third* part of the residents’ campaign to save Frogmore occurred in early May (6/5/2015) and comprised a Planning Conference related to Council’s Planning Scheme Amendment C137 to apply an Heritage Overlay to 1 Wahgoo Road, Carnegie. Those attending (25+) the planning conference included residents, a representative from the National Trust, the property owner (Churches of Christ – Queensland) and the potential purchaser (Jewish Care). In addition to those attending Council advised receipt of 303 letters supporting the Heritage Overlay and 2 letters opposing Heritage Overlay.

* Refer to GERA’s earlier postings – Save Frogmore, Save Frogmore – Part 2

While Council’s objective of a planning conference  is not to make a decision but rather to provide “a public and open forum where discussion of the proposal can occur between the parties with a view to identifying affected resident concerns, possible means for addressing the concerns and opportunities to improve the proposal” , the attending residents did not believe that objective had been achieved.   The residents believed the 8,000 sqm site presented a unique opportunity for a redevelopment proposal that could both preserve Frogmore’s heritage significance (as identified and recommended by Council’s Independent Heritage Advisor) and accommodate an Aged Care Facility (albeit a scaled back facility). However, the potential purchaser* (Jewish Care) expressed the view that optimum redevelopment of the site for an Aged Care Facility did not allow for the retention of Frogmore and gave little consideration to a less than optimum redevelopment. As a result of this inability to reach common ground residents hold grave concerns for the retention of Frogmore – Council is to discuss the planning conference outcome and decide whether to continue or abandon Amendment C137 at next Tuesday’s Council Meeting (9/6/2015).

 * Please note that at the Planning Conference both the potential vendor (Churches of Christ, Qld) and the potential purchaser (Jewish Care) stated that ownership of the property has not changed hands and that the sale remains, as stated in the October, 2014, media releases, a conditional sales agreement dependent upon planning approval.

BACKGROUND

Before outlining the planning conference discussion, the following is a brief summary GERA’s 2 previous posting’s and Council’s independent heritage advisors report. This will make for a longer than average post but should draw our previous postings together.

Save Frogmore Timeline

October, 2014 – Churches of Christ (Qld) and Jewish Care announce conditional sale and proposed redevelopment of site (1 Wahgoo Road, Carnegie).  The sale was (and still is) conditional upon obtaining planning approval.

16/12/2014 – Residents lodge petition (1,000+ signatures) requesting heritage recognition for Frogmore.  Council passes motion for an independent heritage assessment to be undertaken.

January, 2015 – Council obtains an Interim Protection Order on Frogmore to prevent demolition prior to Council formalising the decision to protect, or not to protect, Frogmore.

3/2/2015 – Independent Heritage Advisor’s (Graeme Butler) report which recommended Municipal Heritage Protection, together with a highly questionable unnamed Officer’s Report, submitted to Council.  Council voted 6 to 3 (For – Sounness, Okotel, Lobo, Delahunty, Esakoff and Magee; Against – Pilling, Hyams and Lipshutz) to apply Heritage Protection at the Local Level as recommended by the Heritage Advisor and in accordance with Clause 21.10 of the Local Planning Policy Framework.

13/3/2015 – As a result of Save Frogmore Campaigners’ submissions requesting State Level Heritage Protection,  Heritage Victoria published its assessment and did not recommend State Level Heritage Protection (Heritage Victoria Assessment) .  This assessment, and petitioners’ subsequent submissions, to be reviewed by Heritage Council early June, 2015.

6/5/2015 – Planning Conference of Amendment C137 Heritage Overlay on Frogmore.

9/6/2015 – Council decision to abandon or continue applying the Heritage Overlay.

Council’s Independent Heritage Advisors Report – February, 2015

Before summarising the above report, readers should note the report disagrees with the construction date of Frogmore House. The Save Frogmore campaigners believe the surviving house was constructed in 1857 (which would enhance Frogmore’s heritage significance via association with renowned architect Joseph Reed and the original owner – pioneering pastoralist William Lyall) whereas the advisor’s report gives a construction date as 1889 (which excludes the Reed/Lyall associations but retains the association with pastoralist Archibald McLauren (second owner) and subsequent owners while also attributing architectural design to noted architect Sydney W. Smith).

It is understood that the campaigners have lodged submissions to the Victorian Heritage Council providing further support of the 1857 construction date. Pending the Heritage Council determination of the subsequent submissions, for the purposes of this posting GERA accepts the Independent Heritage Advisor’s 1889 construction ’s date

Frogmore’s Heritage Significance 

 Recommendation

“Frogmore House is significant to the City of Glen Eira historically and aesthetically … and should be conserved as one of the cultural assets of the city.

 Frogmore house should be included in the schedule to the heritage overlay clause 43.01 in the Glen Eira Planning Scheme.”

 Why is Frogmore House significant

Briefly the Independent Heritage Advisors Report found that Frogmore was Locally significant to Glen Eira on the following basis

  • Historically – demonstrates pattern of settlement and growth of the Municipality development
  • Rarity – As a former farm residence, Frogmore is rare within Glen Eira
  • Aesthetically – Architectural design and features
  • By Association – with designing architect and the achievements, cultural and spiritual associations of owners.

Additional details of the Advisor’s significance findings are available in

  • a summarised version as a footnote to this posting or
  • the Independent Heritage Advisor Report , available on Council’s website (C137_Graeme_Bulter_Heritage_Assessment_Report)

PLANNING CONFERENCE DISCUSSION

 Residents

 All residents voiced the opinion that good planning resulted in planning outcomes that enabled both heritage retention and sympathetic redevelopment of large sites – on such sites, good design should enable heritage retention without preventing redevelopment and redevelopment without the loss of recognised heritage assets. In this instance, and in line with Glen Eira’s Community plan, both heritage preservation and the provision of Aged Care Facilities were seen as compatible uses that respond to the community’s needs.

  • The size of the property is capable of accommodating both an Aged Care Facility and the retention of Frogmore House and its significant vegetation. (Site size 8,000 sqm, house size 718 sqm, estimated vegetation area 300 sqm)
  • Frogmore House is the only surviving, recognised heritage building within the Carnegie/Murrumbeena area. As more and more quality period homes are lost forever to more intensive development Frogmore’s heritage value increases.
  • While Frogmore has “slipped through the cracks” in past heritage reviews, the Independent Heritage Report now imposes a duty on Council to recognise Frogmore’s significance by preserving it for current and future residents.
  • The significance of heritage to fostering the development of a community and a sense of identity is both well documented and widely acknowledged.
  • The condition of the building is good. Both Council’s Heritage Advisor’s Report and Heritage Victoria’s assessment states that
    • The original features of the house remain largely intact
    • Except for one, all building alterations (i.e. newer building annexes which are excluded in the proposed heritage overlay) have been largely superficial.

In addition, the buildings continued usage as an aged care facility until December, 2014 (when the Betheden Aged Care Facility was closed) also indicates that Frogmore’s structural condition is sound and internally is well maintained.

Residents also voiced their criticism of the unnamed Officers Report submitted to Council 3/2/2015. These criticisms were

  • the inclusion of inappropriate comments referring to the Council’s 1996-2003 Heritage Assessment (eg. that “the time to speak up was then not now”) which
    • does not reflect the “representative” nature of local government nor does it show that Council is responsive to the social and demographic changes that have occurred since 2003, and
    • contradicts the report’s subsequent comment that, “any party, notwithstanding the 1996-2003 assessment, has the ability to request/justify the addition of a property to the Glen Eira heritage register”.
  •  The report’s omission of significant vegetation included in the Heritage Advisor’s Report – 2 Canary Palms and Silky Oak
  • The Report’s reference to the 1996 – 2003 Heritage Assessment which
    • while recognising Frogmore’s significance gave it a Grade C category which excluded it from inclusion in a heritage overlay because it was not located “within an identified heritage area” – arguably (then and now) Frogmore’s stand-alone location rather than detracting from its heritage significance, actually enhances that significance.
    • This much earlier heritage assessment did not include associations that were included in the 2015 assessment and arguably it should have.
  • The report, written after receipt of the heritage advisor’s report, was weighted to full site redevelopment rather than focusing on the key issue of heritage.  The report does not refer to Council’s heritage strategies which are to
    • Protect places identified as having architectural, cultural or historical significance.
    • Ensure sympathetic redevelopment and renovation of areas and places identified as having architectural, cultural or historic significance in the municipality.
    • Enhance knowledge and popular understanding of Glen Eira’s architectural, cultural and historic heritage.
  • The report omitted to mention that the Planning Scheme encourages Aged Care Facility to be located in the various centres that have been designated for high density development rather than in the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (which is the zone applicable to the site). The reasons being that
    • Aged Care Facilities tend to increase in size and can become disruptive (visitor and servicing vehicle volumes and increased parking demand) in Residential Areas
    • Provides proximity to various facilities (shops, services, public transport) that enhances the aged care residents’ independence.

 Please also note that,

  • contrary to the officer’s report stating that the property had been sold, at the Planning Conference both the Churches of Christ (Qld) and Jewish Care stated that property has not been sold and the sale remains conditional pending planning approval.
  • That the property’s location does not provide facility residents with convenient access to local shopping or service centres. Facility residents will need to access these centres by either private vehicle or the Murrumbeena Road bus service.

Potential Vendor (Churches of Christ, Qld)

  • The Churches of Christ (QLD) representative stated that since 1951 Frogmore House has been associated with the provision of residential aged care. (Originally a 25 bed facility, successive expansions had seen it grow to 60 beds at the time of closure)
  • The decision to close the facility was the result of legislative changes (related to residential aged care accommodation standards) that, in their view, made redesign of the facility impractical and the sale of the property (with resulting funds being available for other charitable operations) the more attractive alternative.

Potential Purchaser (Jewish Care)

  • Had been seeking potential sites to provide their community with aged care facilities for a period of time and had the selected the site because of its size and proximity to services and facilities. Sites of this large size were not readily available in Glen Eira and the Planning Scheme’s continuous use* clause would enable the construction and operation of an Aged Care Facility in a Neighbourhood Residential Zone.

* The concept of continuous use (also known as existing use) provides for a previously legal or permitted use to continue even though subsequent changes to the planning scheme may now prohibit that use.

Please note that residents objection to the proposed redevelopment focused a scaling back of proposal that would accommodate both heritage preservation and aged care facility use.  No resident objected to continuous use of the site.

  • In assessing a site’s potential, the proposed purchaser used modelling tools (comprising many diverse factors, including Legislative requirements and Planning Scheme constraints) for either a 60 or 120 bed facility. If the total site was redeveloped the site could accommodate the 120 bed model, however, if Frogmore was to be retained, the location of the house on the lot would constrain the redevelopment to a 60 bed facility. While the potential purchaser appreciated heritage, in their view, building a 120 bed facility represented a Net Community Benefit (NCB) of 60 beds which outweighed Frogmore’s heritage value. Based on this analysis, the potential purchaser was reluctant to consider a smaller facility for the site and would prefer to seek alternate sites.

Residents pointed out that

  • It is up to the Glen Eira Community and due Planning Processes (which provides for community input) to determine what constitutes Net Community Benefit.
  • That the arithmetic equation (ie which is based solely on the difference of what could be built if Frogmore is not retained vs. what could be built if Frogmore is retained – NCB = 120 – 60) is simplistic and assigns a zero value to heritage preservation.   This is contrary to well established planning principles that recognise and value heritage retention – such a valuation should be undertaken by accredited professionals and the results may outweigh the NCB value of 60 beds.   In addition, little evidence or justification was provided to support use of only two models.
  • The National Trust Representative offered the Trusts assistance with the proposed redevelopment’s planning and heritage issues. Although this offer was not responded to at the Planning Conference, follow-up is anticipated to occur.
  • Presumably in support of the zero heritage value, the potential purchaser commented that Victoria Heritage had not recommended State Level Heritage Protection for Frogmore.

Residents outlined the 3 levels of Heritage Protection that exist within Australia. These being National, State and Local – with each heritage assessment application being assessed using similar criteria with, because of the extent of the areas being reviewed, varying standards are applied to each criteria.   At the Local level, Council commissioned an Independent Heritage Advisor’s Report which unequivocally recognised the significance of Frogmore and also unequivocally recommended a Heritage Overlay be applied to Frogmore.

  • The potential purchaser indicated that considerable costs had been incurred in both the property search and in preparation of plans. The plans were nearing completion and would shortly be lodged with Council.

Please note that, as is customary, these plans have not be publicly discussed with, or shown to residents. Residents knowledge of the plans is limited to the information included in the previously mentioned press releases and the planning conference discussion.

THE NEXT STEP

 As previously mentioned the next step in the Heritage Overlay process is for Council to decide, on 9/6/2015, to continue or abandon the Planning Scheme Amendment process.   While many residents have expressed concern re the outcome of the Planning Conference and that Council may decide to abandon the process based on the above Net Community Benefit calculation, GERA trusts that Council will proceed with the process of implementing the amendment. This will ensure

  • Due planning processes are followed to ensure that residents are able to participate in those processes which would include input into the determination of Net Community Benefit and a quantifiable Heritage Valuation by an accredited professional.
  • Due consideration is given to Council’s Independent Heritage Advisor’s Assessment , which deemed Frogmore as meeting the threshold for inclusion in the local heritage overlay under Clause 21.10 of the Local Planning Policy Framework – a framework which Council has a responsibility to uphold.
  • Consistency with Council’s Heritage Strategies of
    • Protecting places identified as having architectural, cultural or historical significance.
    • Ensuring sympathetic redevelopment and renovation of areas and places identified as having architectural, cultural or historic significance in the municipality.
    • Enhancing knowledge and popular understanding of Glen Eira’s architectural, cultural and historic heritage.
  • Consistency with the objectives of planning for Victoria (as identified in the Planning and Environment Act 1987) in that continuing the amendment process will:
    • Provide for the fair, orderly, economic and sustainable use, and the development of land;
    • Secure a pleasant, efficient and safe working, living and recreational environment for all Victorians and visitors to Victoria;
    • Conserve and enhance those building, areas or other places which are of scientific, aesthetic, architectural or historical interest, or otherwise of special cultural value; and
    • Balance the present and future interests of all Victorians.
  • Frogmore is preserved, at least until due planning processes have occurred.

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Footnotes:

THE NEXT STEP

Readers should note that continuing with the potentially lengthy, planning scheme amendment process will involve.

An Independent Planning Panel hearing and assessment/recommendation

A Council decision on to accept or reject the Independent Planning Panel’s recommendations

 SUMMARISED INDEPENDENT HERITAGE ADVISOR’S FINDINGS

 Why is Frogmore House significant

  • Historically
    • Early associations with stock breeding and farming and the early pattern of land settlement
    • 1880’s redevelopment linked to key early development with the City and the late Victorian-era land boom. This link makes it part of the Glen Eira Victorian era architectural heritage
    • ArchibaldMcLauren association
      • Noted pastoralist in two colonies
      • Subdivision allowed for growth of Caulfield District and Gippsland Railway opening
      • Early Caulfield District Roads Board Member, Councillor and philanthropist
    • Frogmore House designed by Sydney W. Smith (son of architect Sydney William Smith who designed Caulfield Town Hall) early in his long and distinguished career.
  • Rarity
    • Frogmore is now rare within the Glen Eira because of the combination of age, scale, architectural style and historical associations.
    • Few identified Victorian era Italianate villas have survived in Glen Eira with none identified in the Carnegie/Murrumbeena area (which was relatively unaffected by the Victorian era building boom).
    • Glen Eira’s surviving Victorian-era residential building stock were residences of professional Melbourne City workers and are not associated with working farms.
    • No other known example of Sydney W. Smith’s 1880’s work directly parallels the design. Of the buildings designed by the Smith’s, only the Caulfield Town Hall (father) and Frogmore House (son) survive in Glen Eira.
  • Aesthetically
    • Architecturally designed Frogmore House is a good example of a Victoria-era Italianate villa. It was and is rare in the Carnegie/Murrumbeena area
    • Frogmore House features include
      • Diachromatic brickwork
      • Diachromatic tower that has become a landmark
      • Verandahs on three sides
  • By Association
    • Early associations, via crown land sales, with William Lyall and his model farm.
    • House and Land associations with Archibald McLauren, the dominance of pastoral activities in the Victorian era and the later growth of the Caulfield District via land subdivision and immigration.
    • The cultural and spiritual associations held by subsequent owner/occupiers (Gairdner, Seelemeyer, Menck, Keys, Churches of Christ).