Tag Archives: Heritage Victoria

HELP SAVE LIND HOUSE

We’ve been contacted by a resident who is concerned that Glen Eira is again likely to lose forever a property of historic and architectural significance.   As per the below Domain article Council has applied to the Minister for Planning for an Interim Heritage Protection Order for the property – GERA applauds Council’s action and hopes that Council has also sought Heritage Victoria’s involvement.

The ‘Lind House’, at 450 Dandenong Road, Caulfield North is described as one of the best and most intact examples of Melbourne’s “mid-century design movement”.  Designed by Anatol Kagan, one of the best architects from the Melbourne mid-century movement, it is an architectural treasure.

Documentation and pictures supporting the significance of the “Lind House” and Designer Anatol Kagan are presented in article published on the Australian Modern website.

We encourage residents to show support for the preservation of the “Lind House” by emailing the Mayor (MDelahunty@gleneira.vic.gov.au) re Planning Permit GE/PP-30607/2017.

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Modernist Caulfield North house faces wrecking ball as council calls for urgent interim protection

An iconic modernist Caulfield North house is under threat of demolition, prompting the local council to seek an urgent interim protection from the planning minister.

Designers and modernist architecture enthusiasts have taken to social media to express their dismay at the fate of the Lind House, bought last year by a developer for just over $2.1 million.

The five-bedroom house at 450 Dandenong Road was designed by Russian-born architect Anatol Kagan, and is a classic example of mid-century modern architecture.

But locals and design experts fear the property could soon be demolished by its new owner, who applied for planning permit to build eight dwellings in its place.

There are no heritage controls on the property, and the two week public notice for objections ended on Tuesday.

Glen Eira mayor Mary Delahunty moved an urgent motion at a meeting on Tuesday night to write to the planning minister Richard Wynne for interim protection.

“Although a permit would have to be requested for it to be demolished, we really wouldn’t have any grounds to refuse that,” she said.

“I’m just trying to make sure that time is given for a proper assessment to be done of its historical significance so that we don’t get faced with this really unfortunate situation where it might be knocked down at any minute.”

​​Cr Delahunty said a major heritage review was underway and encouraged people to alert the council to other significant properties in the area they might not be aware of.

She said heritage experts would examine the Caulfield North house, and they would take into consideration the advice of other experts of modernist-era architecture.

As pressure mounts to increase density across the city, experts say more post-war homes should also be considered for heritage protection.

When Robin Boyd’s Blott house in Chirnside Park hit the market earlier this year, it also triggered fears the property, without heritage protection, might face the wrecking ball if it sold to a developer.

National Trust of Australia, Victoria, advocacy manager Felicity Watson believed Lind House and Blott House highlighted a major gap in the state’s heritage protection.

“When people think about heritage in Melbourne, they often think about Marvellous Melbourne and the gold rush, and the amazing Victorian architecture that we have,” she said. “But what people sometimes forget is that the post-war period in Melbourne was a period of enormous cultural and physical transformation, really of a scale not seen since the gold rush.”

Ms Watson said the heritage system had not caught up with the understanding of the importance of post-war architecture.

“It’s really time to … protect these vulnerable places and do some strategic work to look at that before we lose them,” she said.

“With development pressure increasing and density increasing, all of these places are becoming vulnerable, so we really need to identify which are the best examples that we need to protect.”

Tim Ross, comedian and presenter of TV show Streets of Your Town, said post-war buildings should be given the same respect the terrace houses and California bungalows received.

“Our suburbs should reflect all periods of our history because that’s what gives them their character,” he said.

“Kagan’s work is finally starting to get the recognition that it deserves. We don’t save buildings for today or tomorrow. We save them for 20, 30 years time and beyond.”

Craig Guthrie, a landscape architect and urban designer at Hassell, is also among the experts trying to raise awareness about the potential demolition.

“Melbourne’s growing a lot and we do need to increase density in the inner suburbs, where we have good infrastructure, schools and transport,” he said.

“But we need to protect some of the special places that we have. When 80 per cent of housing is probably mediocre to sometimes poor, we got to keep the good ones.”

A spokesman for Planning Minister Richard Wynne said he had not yet received a request from the Glen Eira Council, and would consider it on its merits if he did.

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.

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