Tag Archives: Heritage

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 2

Exterior0012

UPDATE:

At tonight’s Council Meeting, Councillors voted 6 to 3 to proceed with

Option A – Initiate a heritage protection process (which recognises Frogmore’s significance at the municipal level as per the   January, 2015 Heritage Advisor’s Recommendation)

 As per the reasons outlined in our below posting, Option A was the preferred option for the Petition Organisers, GERA and the community.

The voting pattern was

For:  Crs. Sounness, Okotel, Lobo, Delahunty, Esakoff and Magee (and against Option B).

Against:   Crs. Pilling, Hyams and Lipshutz (and for Option B).

 GERA congratulates Council for this decision and the Petition Organisers for their significant efforts in highlighting the issue and striving for this outcome.

No doubt further efforts, related to providing additional information to Heritage Victoria and preparing for the Planning Amendment Process will again require significant efforts on the part of the Petition Organisers.  GERA will continue our support and urges readers and residents to do likewise.

PS.  Urging the inclusion of a Vegetation Protection Overlay (VPO) for the identified, yet again overlooked, significant trees would also be a good idea.

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

The agenda for the this Tuesday’s (3/2/15) Council Meeting includes item 9.2 – 1 Wahgoo Road Carnegie – Heritage Assessment (2015 02 03 EXTRACT of Council AGENDA and relates to Frogmore House (refer GERA’s previous post).

The Independent Heritage Advisor’s Report (which did not involve an internal or structural review)

  • differs from the residents’ submission on when the existing house was built (ie. that the Lyall commissioned working farm and family residence, designed by Joseph Reed (1857) was demolished and rebuilt by Archibald McLaurin – 1880) and also
  • differs with Council’s 1996 – 2003 Heritage Survey which although recognising Frogmore’s “local significance” determined that since the building was not within an identified historic area it was not recommended for inclusion the resulting heritage overlay.
  • recognises significant vegetation on the property – two Canary Island Palms and one Silky Oak

The organisers of the petition, are appreciative of Council undertaking the reassessment which not only considers the significance of the existing house but also the house’s historical associations and makes the following recommendations and conclusions:

  • Recommendations

 “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.”

  •  Conclusion

 “Frogmore House should be included in the schedule to heritage over lay clause 43.01 by the Glen Eira Planning Scheme”.

 With regards the differences in date of construction, the organisers of the petition have advised GERA that additional 1850 – 1860’s documents, contained in the Lyall Family Archives, will be submitted to Heritage Victoria for inclusion in their assessment of Frogmore House. This documentation reportedly includes comments on the house and tower that closely aligns with that which currently exists and, therefore, supports the “linkage” to Lyall and Reed.  The documentation also supports their contention that although Archibald McLaurin may have altered the house he did not demolish and rebuild Frogmore. If accepted this documentation emphasises Frogmore House’s significance at the State Level.

OFFICERS REPORT – GERA’s COMMENTS

While GERA still congratulates  Council for initiating an Interim Protection Order on Frogmore and undertaking the a professional heritage assessment, GERA is concerned about the comments and recommendations included in the submitted Officer’s Report.

  •  The Report is not focussed on the key issue of heritage – is Frogmore House of historic significance to Glen Eira and does it warrant heritage protection?  The independent heritage assessment clearly identifies the municipal significance of both the house and three trees and recommends heritage protection, by inclusion in the Glen Eira Planning Scheme.
  • However rather than focussing on the heritage issues, the Officer’s Report appears to be focussed on
    • the differing heritage findings of 1996-2003 Heritage Survey (which did not consider historical associations of the property) vs. the current (February, 2015) heritage assessment (which did consider historical associations) and various mentions of no objections to Frogmore’s exclusion being received in 2003.
    • planning issues (eg. land size and proposed land use) which are more appropriately addressed during the planning permit approval process. With regards the Officer’s Report, the analysis associated with these issues is apparently slanted to a total redevelopment of this large (approx. 8,000 sqm) site – the opportunity that a site of this size presents for a redevelopment that incorporates a historically significant house is not mentioned. Likewise, no mention is made of significant trees.
    • the site’s recent change of ownership and that the new owner acted in good faith in committing significant funds on the basis of Council’s planning scheme – no mention is made that both the Vendor Purchasers Statement indicate that the proposed sale was conditional upon receiving planning approval or that to date, as per Council’s  Planning Applications Register 2,no planning permit application has been received.  While changes to the announced conditions of sale are entirely within the rights of the contracting parties, it does raise serious questions re the validity of disadvantage to the purchaser being included in the Officers Report.
  • The Officer’s Report gives two options to redress this situation

However, before considering these two options readers should note that within Australia there are three levels of Heritage Protection or Registration, each undertaken by different authorities with varying assessment criteria and focus:

  • Australian – National Trust – significance assessed at the National Level
  • State – Heritage Victoria and the Heritage Council – significance assessed at the State Level
  • Local – Local Authorities (Councils) – significance assessed at the Municipal Level

As a general rule, heritage protection works on a “top-down” basis (if a property is significant at the national level then it is also significant at the lower levels) rather than a “bottom-up” basis (if a property is significant at the local level it does not necessarily follow that it is significant at the higher levels).

The two options provided are

  • Option A Option A T

Council is then advised that

“If Council favours Option A, the terms of a possible decision would be

That Council request the Minister for Planning to impose interim heritage controls over 1 Wahgoo Road, Carnegie and authorise the exhibition of a planning scheme amendment to place heritage controls over the property.”

  • Option B Option B T

Council is then advised that

 “If Council favours Option B, the terms of a possible decision would be

That Council

  • Note the heritage process over the period 1996 to 2003 which provided the appropriate opportunity to put views for or against the heritage status of 1 Wahgoo Road, Carnegie;
  • Note that the current owner of the property has acted in good faith and committed significant funds on the basis of Council’s planning scheme; and
  • Forwards the attached consultant report to the Heritage Council and agrees to abide by the Heritage Councils decision in this matter.”

 GERA believes that Option A should be the preferred option as Heritage Victoria, in response to the previously mentioned residents submissions, will be undertaking an State Level assessment of the property which should include the property’s

  • interior and structural conditions
  • historical association with Joseph Reed (Architect) and William Lyall (original owner)

Depending on the assessment findings

  • If the assessment records the property as being significant at the State Level, then heritage protection will be applicable at both the State and Municipal Level.   Thus, the planning scheme amendment process can be halted.
  • If the assessment records the property as significant at a Municipal Level rather than at a State Level, that finding should not preclude Council recognising the Heritage Advisor’s Statement of Municipal Significance and enacting a Heritage Overlay on the property. In this case, the planning scheme amendment process would continue
    • Readers should note that the planning scheme amendment process, is by the “nature of the beast” and regardless of the request, a lengthy process with varying degrees of certainty. The heritage advisor’s report justifies the amendment and, as such, should reduce the uncertainty mentioned in the Officer’s Report.
    • The community consultation, incorporated in the amendment process, ensures that all interested parties (stakeholders) have input into the outcome.
    • Not to continue the Planning Scheme amendment, in the light of the Heritage Advisors Report, would give rise to the same criticisms of Council’s heritage management process as those included in the 2011 Independent Planning Panel Report (Amendment C83 – Removal of Heritage Overlay on a Caulfield South property – Cnr. Hawthorn Road and Seaview Street):
      • Planning authorities have a responsibility to ensure that planning schemes have a sound basis. There should be good reasons when … expert advice is disregarded but none were provided in this instance.Council responded to the query from the Panel about why the Council did not accept the expert advice provided by stating that Council may form its own view.
      • It would set ‘a dangerous precedent’ if a strategic designation for more intense redevelopment was deemed sufficient justification for removing (or not adding) heritage overlays. The protection of heritage values remains a valid planning consideration in planning decisions.
      • The Panel does not accept the argument put by Council that removal of HO114 is justified by the fact that one quite different example of development influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright will be retained and all examples would not be lost. … It is apparent that the Site is a rare example in the locality and its heritage values should be taken into account in future planning decisions.
    • Widely spread, unconfirmed rumours indicate this option is recommended by Heritage Victoria.
  • Is in line with the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) – Councillor Training Program‘s recognition that Questioning and Challenging Officers Reports is an integral part of a Councillors role.
  • Both the 2011 Amendment C83 and this current issue indicates a review of the 2003 Heritage Assessments and associated administrative processes are warranted. This is an issue which is not addressed in the Officer’s Report.

GERA and many members believe that this is an unfortunate situation that may involve a significant disadvantage to the purchaser of the 1 Wahgoo Road, Carnegie. Equally, it is also unfortunate that residents were not aware that Frogmore House was not included in the 2003 Heritage Overlay. That being said, it is even more unfortunate that the wording of the Officers Report of the 2003 consultation process (exemplified in Options A and B above) is considered inappropriate and does not reflect the level of responsiveness (frequently claimed by Council) that can reasonably be expected of a Council fully attuned to the dynamic demographic, communication and social changes that have occurred since 2003.

 

SAVE FROGMORE

At the last Council Meeting (16/12/2014), a petition (with approximately 1,000 verified signatures), was submitted to Council requesting that a heritage survey be conducted of the little known Frogmore House (1857) in Wahgoo Road, Carnegie.  A recent advice of a proposal to demolish and replace Frogmore, with a state of the art 120 bed aged care facility, made residents realise that Frogmore House had been overlooked in past Council heritage surveys and, therefore, did not have heritage classification. In addition to the petition, the residents have also lodged submissions, to include Frogmore House in the Victorian Heritage Register, with Heritage Victoria.

Frogmore House – current main entrance, Sept/Oct, 2014Exterior0012

GERA has been supporting the residents in their quest to have Frogmore House assessed for historical importance (social, cultural and heritage) as it is a significant property with potentially National and definite State and Local importance and is worthy of preservation.

As a result of the petition, Council “engaged a heritage adviser to “reassess” the heritage value of Frogmore House … the report is due within days” (Leader Article – 13/01/2015). While GERA is not aware of the content of the adviser’s report, GERA welcomes Heritage Victoria’s recent advise that, at Council’s initiation, an Interim Protection Order (IPO) has been issued for Frogmore House.   The IPO prevents any demolition works being undertaken until Heritage Victoria has completed an assessment and determination of the significance of Frogmore House.

GERA congratulates the residents who undertook substantial reasearch and organised the “Save Frogmore” campaign (a superb effort), those who signed the petition and Glen Eira Council, particularly Mayor Jim Magee, for initiating the IPO.

SIGNIFICANCE OF FROGMORE HOUSE

The following is a summary of the residents’ submissions to Heritage Victoria for the inclusion of Frogmore House in the Victorian Heritage Register.

Description

Original House – Artistic ImpressionFrogmore0001

Current Main Entrance – Sept/Oct. 2014Exterior0012

Frogmore House is an intact early single storey Italianate working farm family residence (with an ornate red brick tower, surrounding verandas on 3 sides and a garden setting with mature vegetation) built in 1857. It is situated in the former farmer settlement area then known as the Caulfield District and now known as suburban Carnegie/Murrumbeena .

Surrounding buildings, which obscure the street view of Frogmore House and are associated with Frogmore’s immediate past (65 years) usage as an aged care residence, are not included in the Heritage Listing Application.

Frogmore H&L

House area:        approx. 718 sqm (yellow) – comprising 6-8 rooms, linked by internal hallways, and a tower

Land area:           approx. 8000 sqm (red)

Current Condition

Over the years, the land area of the property has decreased and although various additions have been made in accordance with Frogmore’s aged care usage, these have been sympathetic

  • Externally the integrity and structure of the original house remains.  Additions, and their connection to the original working farm family residence havebeenwell considered in terms of
    • architectural styling and connectivity (via original doorways and windows)
    • Mature tree preservation
  • Internally, public access and residential areas retain original ceiling and wall mouldings and are well maintained. The tower staircase remains.

Tower  – original main entrance (Sept/Oct. 2014)Exterior0001

 Original Bay Window and polychromatic brickwork with rear sympathetic polychromatic addition – Sept/Oct. 2014Exterior0008

 Tower staircase – Sept/Oct. 2014Tower Staircase0001

 Corridor Crossing – Sept/Oct. 2014Interior 20007

 Statement of cultural heritage significance:

 Frogmore House was designed by renowned Architect Joseph Reed, as the working farm/family residence for William Lyall (a significant Scottish Pioneer who was in residence 1857-1868). In 1868 it became the residence of Archibald McLaurin (another significant Scottish Pioneer who was in residence 1868 to 1891).

Joseph Reed (1823?-1890) Cornish Architect who arrived in Victoria during the Gold Rush (1853)

  • “A dominant figure during Melbourne’s period of greatest growth, Reed was responsible for some of the largest and most important building commission in the city and in doing so was instrumental in making Melbourne one of the great Victorian cities” (Goad and Willis)
  • As well as prominent city buildings, Reed also designed smaller buildings and residences and was renowned for designing according to the intended “function of the building”.
    • Some prominent city buildings designed by Reed are Geelong Town Hall (1854), Melbourne Public Library (1854), Melbourne Town Hall (1864), Independent Church (1866) and the world heritage listed Exhibition Buildings (1878)
    • While few of the residences designed by Reed remain today, 2 exist within Glen Eira.
      • Frogmore House (1857) , designed in the Italianate* style as a single storey working farm/family residence (6-8 rooms). It features polychromatic (two tone) brick work, bay windows, an ornate red brick tower and surrounding verandas on 3 sides and
      • The much grander Rippon Lea (1868), also designed in the Italiante* style (Lombardic Romanesque) as a two-storey, 15 room house for a successful (former goldfields) merchant’s family residence and estate. It features polychromatic (three tone) brickwork and an extensive pleasure garden around the house.    Rippon Lea, circa 1880.  Rippon Lea has experienced alterations and additions over time.

William Lyall (1821-1888) – Resided at Frogmore 1857-1868.

  • a Scottish immigrant originally to Van Diemens Land, moved to Melbourne in 1847 and became a successful livestock merchant and noted Melbourne pastoralist
  • He returned to England and studied agricultural chemistry in Britain (1854-1856), returning to Victoria with stud livestock and gained a reputation as a stock breeder (cattle and sheep, race horses and game birds) with sales within Victoria and to Tasmania, NSW and New Zealand.
  • He established a model farm at Frogmore Estate (originally 93 acres (37.6 ha), expanded to 212 acres (85.8 ha)). Both at Frogmore’s model farm and a Tooradin property he pursued practical and innovative farming practices (seeds and pastures) and animal husbandry techniques
  • He was a regular contributor to the “Argus” writing articles on animal husbandry and other agricultural matters
  • The Public Offices held by Lyall, while residing at Frogmore, include founder of the Victorian Agricultural Society, Zoological Society, Acclimatisation Society (Southern vs Northern Hemisphere impacts on pasture plantings and livestock) and Victoria Racing Club, member of the National Agricultural Society, Member of the Legislative Assembly (Mornington 1859-1861) and Territorial Magistrate.

Archibald McLaurin, J.P. (NSW) (1815 -1891) Resided at Frogmore 1868-1891.

  • A Scottish immigrant (1839), one of the first overlanders and a noted pastoralist in Port Phillip and New South Wales
  • In the late 1860’s he sold his pastoral interests and acquired Frogmore where he lived until his death in 1891. While at Frogmore he grazed sheep (at Frogmore and Mordialloc) and was active in the community and local affairs (he was a Caulfield Shire Councillor)
  • He encouraged Scottish migration for the development of Victoria and the development of Murrumbeena area as a farmer-settler community in the 1860’s to 1870’s
  • In 1891 he donated two blocks of land (east side of Murrumbeena Road) for the building of a Presbyterian Church – now St. Giles Uniting Church

Following the death of Archibald McLaurin, during the period 1891-1951 details on the subsequent occupants (owners and or tenants) of Frogmore are limited (eg.  1906 – Gairdner, 1913 – J.G. Thompson, 1921 – L.O. Menck, 1925-1945 – J. Keys).   However, various period documents and newspaper articles record Frogmore House as hosting Melbourne society functions/gatherings, Church Services and Fund Raising events throughout this period.

In 1951, Frogmore House was acquired by the Churches of Christ  and operated as the “William Clay Nursing Home” (originally 25, later extended to 48 beds). In the 1990’s it was further extended to 60 beds and renamed “Betheden”.   As previously mentioned, although various additions have been made in accordance with Frogmore’s 65 years of continuing aged care usage, these additions have been sympathetic to the integrity and structure of the original house and the interior has been well maintained.

HERITAGE VICTORIA SIGNIFICANCE CRITERIA – FROGMORE ASSESSMENT

 Criterion A – Importance to the course, or pattern, of Victoria’s cultural history.

  • Example of a grand early working farm family residence whose early owners included pastoralists, actively involved with the development of Melbourne and Victoria. It’s location in Carnegie demonstrates the pattern of land settlement as Melbourne and Victoria developed.

Criterion B – Possession of uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of Victoria’s cultural history.

  • Frogmore House is a rare example of an early (1857) Italianate* single storey working farm family residence in the former Caulfield District of Melbourne. Few residences remain from the 1850s.
  • Other remaining Glen Eira heritage listed 1857 single storey residences (Rosecraddock and Halstead)

Comparison and map T

 Comparison: Frogmore with Rosecraddock and Halstead

  • although all three are described as Italianate* in style, each represents diverse interpretations of that style (Rosecraddock does not feature a tower and although Halstead does have a three storey tower – with a Mansard roof and cast-iron balustrade – it is significantly different from Frogmore’s two storey polychromatic renaissance style brick tower)
  • bothRosecraddock and Halstead
    • are stuccoed and do not feature polychromatic brickwork
    • are not attributable to a known architect (although Rosecraddock’s recessed central verandah section and cast iron lace, added in the 1880’s,  is attributed to architect Lloyd Tayler).
    • have been considerably altered over time (Rosecraddock in the period 1850’s – 1880’s and with a recent subdivision and stable relocation/conversion ; Halstead’s heritage recognition acknowledges a history of alteration and addition.)
    • were designed and constructed as residences of wealthy Melbournian Public Servants and Merchants rather than as a functioning model farm and family residence (of a wealthy livestock merchant and pastoralist interested in practical and innovative animal husbandry practices and pasture improvements).
  • locations represent their importance in the socio-economic history of south eastern suburban Melbourne, whereas Frogmore’s simultaneous construction emphasizes the inland pattern of development as well as that socio-economic history.

Criterion C – Potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of Victoria’s cultural heritage

  • Significance of pasture experimentation and animal husbandry innovations on the development of Victoria -Lyall
  • Encouraged Scottish migration and development (farmer-settlers) of Victoria and Caulfield District (now Melbourne and in particular Carnegie/Murrumbeena) – McLaurin and Lyall .

Criterion F – Importance in demonstrating high degree of creative or technical achievement at a particular period

  • Joseph Reed – diversity and development of architectural design in private (Frogmore, Rippon Lea) and public buildings (Parliament House, Exhibition Buildings)
  • William Lyall – successful livestock merchant (imported stud bloodlines) and innovations/experimentations with pastures (grasses and seeds) and animal husbandry.
  • Archibald McLaurin – pioneer and noted pastoralist

Criterion G – Strong or special association with a particular community or cultural group for social cultural or spiritual reasons

  • Aboriginal – nomination of street names eg. Bambra, originally Cambrook – now Kambrook, Koornang and Neerim (accredited to Lyall)
  • Scottish Community (Lyall and McLaurin). Scottish St names in Murrumbeena – Ardyne Street, Innellan Road, Ariadne Avenue, Dunoon Street, McLaurin Road
  • Pastoralist Community (Lyall and McLaurin)
  • Founder of the Victorian Agricultural Society, Zoological Society, Acclimatisation Society and Victoria Racing Club (Lyall)
  • Religious Community (Lyall, McLaurin and Presbyterian/Uniting Church, Churches of Christ)
  • Hosting social and community events (Lyall and McLaurin and other owners/tennants)

Criterion H – Special association with the life or works of a person or group of persons of importance in Victoria’s history

  • Joseph Reed
  • William Lyall
  • Archibald McLaurin
  • Presbyterian/Uniting Church/Church’s of Christ

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Footnote:

Italianate Style – featured asymmetry and, usually, a tower of varying size. In Australia, the addition of the verandah, sometimes arcaded but later in Filigree (wrought iron), gave a regional flavour to the style.

 

C87 REVISITED – NEIGHBOURHOOD CHARACTER

GERA is disappointed with the entire C87 amendment process. It’s content,  it’s ramifications, and it’s failure to take due recognition of community wishes. The C87 amendment was discussed at the last Council Meeting (1st May, 2012 – Minutes – Section 9.1).

Background 

This Amendment sought to implement what is described as “new” prescriptive planning tools of the Neighbourhood Character Overlay (NCO) and the Design Development Overlay (DDO)* to some of the previously defined Significant Character Areas (SCA)*.

* For an explanation of the NCO, DDO and SCA, please refer to GERA’s earlier posting (17th February, 2012), under the Topic of  “C87 – Neighbourhood Character”.  Please also note that the NCO and DDO are not “new” prescriptive planning tools – in 2002 when Council sought to introduce SCA’s as a planning scheme reference policy, the Independent Planning Panel recommended use of the prescriptive NCO and DDO rather than the loosely worded SCA guidelines.  In 2008 another Independent Planning Panel re-affirmed the use of NCO’s and DDO’s rather than the SCA guidelines.

The C87 amendment sought to

  • exclude 4 previously defined SCA’s due to “mixed and extensive overbuilding”
  • 11 of the original SCA’s are to remain, however, 3 of them are to be split as their “different architectural styles warrant separate/different controls”.   In the case of  Queens Avenue and Derby Crescent the connecting streets will be excluded as  “new developments undertaken in these adjoining streets have lowered the significance of those areas”.
  • Include 3 streets not previously identified as SCA’s but which are now recognised as “having a relatively intact streetscape with many of the original buildings remaining and well preserved  …  where later overbuilding has occurred, these have generally been respectful of the established neighbourhood character”

* Again, for details there areas please refer to GERA’s earlier posting (17th February, 2012).

In total Council received 59 submissions commenting on Amendment C87 –

  • 17 residents residing in the SCAs supported the amendment
  • 15 residents residing in the SCAs did not support the amendment
  • 27 submitters objected because “their property or neighbourhood is not part of Amendment C87, and they think it should”  …  These residents “put strong arguments why the amendment should have encompassed their properties”.

With regards these 27 submissions, the Administrative Officers Report states This category of submissions request changes which go beyond the scope of this amendment in the form it was exhibited to the community. Any property that was not included as part of the exhibited amendment cannot now be included in this amendment. 

The suggested way forward for this category of submitters is to encourage them to put their views to the independent panel. The panel may, through their reported recommendations to Council, come to the view that some properties, not currently part of the amendment, are nonetheless worthy of NCO or DDO protection. It would then be open to Council to consider a new amendment process to include these properties”.

GERA’s Comments

GERA is extremely concerned by the officers “suggested way forward”.  These concerns are:

  1. If the Council considers the submitters requested changes to be “beyond the scope of this amendment” then the Independent Planning Panel (who will review the amendment under the guidelines contained Council’s  C87 Explanatory Note) “may”  (i.e. likely) adopt the same view as Council.
  2. The councillors unanimous resolution was that Council Supports the Amendment as exhibited, at the panel hearing subject to the following changes” (which were the exclusion of a Poath Road, Murrumbeena property and the reclassification of Normanby Road, Caulfield North as a minimal change area).  How is it that, as a result of the community consultation process,  properties which were not included cannot now be included yet properties which were included can now be excluded.
  3. The Council Meeting Minutes state that “The consultants who undertook the review of Neighbourhood Character were asked to comment on the submissions to assess if any changes to NCO boundaries/areas could be justified. Attachment 2 to this report lists submitters’ addresses, the issues raised by each submitter and provides an officer comment on each submission and recommended changes to the exhibited amendment (if any)”.  In line with open, transparent and accountable governance, GERA believes the full consultants comments should be included in the minutes – “an officer comment on each submission” is insufficient and residents have the right to view the comments submitted by the consultants (particularly as it impacts their property). 
  4. GERA does not support the comment that if the Independent Planning Panel recommends inclusion of properties not currently included in the amendment that “it would then be open to Council to consider a new amendment process to include these properties”.   Commencing  a new amendment process to include these properties is not dependent on a recommendation from the Independent Planning Panel, Council could proceed with a new amendment if it chose to.   GERA supports submitters who wish to lobby Council for a new amendment process. 
  5. GERA is concerned that the Planisphere Report may not have been as comprehensive as it may have been.  The Planisphere Report includes the following comments:
    • Section 1.2 Methodology – “The level of significance for each area with significant neighbourhood character was undertaken by way of two surveys – a framework survey of the entire municipality and then a detailed survey of all SCAs – and subsequent comparative analysis”
    • Section 1.2.1 – Framework Survey
      • “ The methodology for the framework survey included a windshield survey of random residential streets throughout the entire municipality
      • A preliminary survey and assessment was also undertaken of the fifteen SCAs listed in the Minimal Change Area Policy of the Glen Eira Planning Scheme (Clause 22.08), as well as potential areas of significant neighbourhood character recommended by Council”.
    • Section 1.2.2 – Detailed Survey

“A detailed street-by-street survey was undertaken of the 15 SCAs listed in the Planning Scheme, as well as an additional twenty-two streets that showed potentially significant neighbourhood character attributes”.

GERA believes it would have been appropriate to ask for residents input prior to commissioning the Planisphere Report.  This would not need to be an expensive or time consuming process (eg. a notice requesting community input on Council’s website and in the Glen Eira News) and would have been in line with Council’s claim of encouraging community participation.

Amendment C87 – Neighbourhood Character Areas – Past and Present

Following on from our previous post on Planning Scheme Amendment C87 – Neighbourhood Character Areas, the following presents the history and an outline of this amendment. But first some definitions are required. 

Definitions 

Neighbourhood character is the qualitative interplay of built form, vegetation and topographic characteristics, in both the private and public domains,  that make one place different from another.  The general attributes of private and public (street) realms (i.e. the building form and layout of the different areas; their overall streetscape qualities; the vegetation and landscape quality and the era of development) are all considered.

Significant Character Areas (SCA) – are those areas where the Neighbourhood Character is deemed to exhibit a particular quality that sets them apart from surrounding residential areas.  In the Glen Eira context, developmental controls are in the form of non-prescriptive guidelines, primarily aimed at restricting multiple dwelling development within the SCA boundaries.

Neighbourhood Character Overlay (NCO) –  The purpose of the NCO is to protect and encourage the preferred character of areas as the pressures for redevelopment continues to increase. It introduces a greater level of control in relation to the fundamental neighbourhood character by prescribing considerations of building height, form and setbacks, as well as more detailed issues such as building removal, material selection and vegetation removal.

Design and Development Overlay (DDO) – The purpose of the DDO is to identify areas which are affected by specific requirements relating to the design and built form of new development.  In the Glen Eira context, it will also protect the streetscape by prescribing consideration of front and/or side fencing in areas of Significant Neighbourhood Character by prescribing fence heights, style, materials and colour.

Past

The current Planning Scheme Amendment C87 – Significant Character Areas (SCA) has it’s origins way back 2002.  Over the past decade council has had opportunities to adopt more the prescriptive NCO, as recommended by two independent State Government appointed Planning Panels rather than continue with the SCA guidelines.

Each amendment divided residents and raised contentious issues. Each time council rejected the Planning Panel recommendations. Now ten years later when development has become rampant throughout the municipality and all areas are “endangered” Council is revisiting something that could/should have been  decided in 2002.

Present 

The commencement of the introduction of NCOs  is raised in Council Minutes 1st September, 2009  – Section 8.8, Part 4 Overview states  “An NCO protects all buildings/dwellings and development through the need for a planning permit. … The Minister will not approve Amendment C56 which sought to only control multi dwellings.”   Amendment C87  is the next step in introducing the Neighbourhood Character Overlay (NCO) and the Design and Development Overlay (DDO).

Unfortunately, the SCA’s have not fared very well over the past 10 years – the current Planisphere Report (entitled C87 – Final Report) and Appendix B (use the Planisphere Report link – entitled C87 – Appendix B – Areas of Significant Neighbourhood Character ) indicates

  •  The four SCA’s to be removed, while still retaining some “fine examples” of their original dwelling stock, have experienced “modern overbuilding that has seen substantial change to its architecture styles and building forms. The range of development, with its mixed base and extensive overbuilding leave a neighbourhood character that is not consistent or distinct from surrounding residential areas”.

Please note the Planisphere Report suggests reclassifying all SCA’s removed as Housing Diversity Areas (i.e. high density areas), however, the C87 Explanatory Report (use the above Planisphere Report link – entitled C87 – Explanatory Report) suggests these areas may be reclassified as minimal change areas or housing diversity areas.  Since the C87 documentation is not clear on the reclassification issue, impacted residents are urged to contact Council for clarification. 

  • The original 11 SCA’s  identified as exhibiting highly significant neighbourhood character due to the relative intactness of the original dwellings and the consistency of its key character elements are now described as “where building alterations” or “modern infill development is evident, it is generally respectful” and the areas remain distinct from surrounding residential areas.  “Non contributory properties” will be excluded from the NCO in some areas.

Again impacted residents are urged to carefully review C87 documentation, particularly the Council provided NCO and DDO overlay maps, (use the above Planisphere Report link – to access the relevant NCO and DDO maps) and contact Council if clarification is needed. 

Please note that three of the original SCA’s have been split, as streets within the area are considered to have different architectural styles and therefore warrant separate/different controls.  The areas split are

    • Downshire Road Area and St. James Parade Area, Elsternwick
    • Exhibition and Field Streets, McKinnon
    • Queens Avenue and Derby Crescent, Caulfield East – The streets connecting Queens Avenue and Derby Crescent will be removed from SCA classification as “new developments undertaken in these adjoining streets have lowered the significance of those areas and did not warrant  protection”. 

Please also note that one side of Craigavad Street is to be excluded from McPherson Avenue, Carnegie, SCA.   This one side of Craigavad Street has a “lower degree of consistency than the other streets of the area. Most original dwellings in Craigavad Street have imposing second storey additions, and other sites support non-contributory buildings”. 

  • The three new SCA’s (Murrray Street, Prentice Street, Kambea Grove) are generally described as having a relatively intact streetscape with many of the original buildings remaining and well preserved.  While “later overbuilding has occurred, these have generally been respectful of the established neighbourhood character” and the areas are distinct from surrounding residential areas.

Please note that not all properties in any of these 3 streets will be included in the NCO – in each street “non-contributory buildings” are to be excluded.  Again impacted residents are urged to carefully review C87 documentation, particularly the Council provided NCO and DDO overlay maps (use the above Planisphere Report link – to access the relevant NCO and DDO maps), and contact Council if clarification is needed. 

Given, the 10 years that it’s taken for Council to act on the NCO recommendation, it will be interesting to see how quickly/slowly Glen Eira Council acts on the Planisphere recommendations (and presumably the forthcoming C87 Planning Panel recommendations) for Heritage Overlay controls on

  • The Highway, East Bentleigh
  • Queens Avenue, Caulfield East
  • Derby Crescent, Caulfield East
  • St. James Parade, Elsternwick
  • Downshire Road, Elsternwick
  • Oakdene Crescent, Murrumbeena
  • Murray Street, Elsternwick
  • Prentice Street, Elsternwick
  • Kambea Grove, Caulfield North

Amendment C87 – What it really means

The latest edition of the Leader (31/1/2012) includes a notification of a Planning Scheme Amendment C87 – Neighbourhood Character.  Amendment C87 changes the Planning Scheme protection of neighbourhood character by replacing the previous Significant Character Area (SCA) designation with the new designations of Neighbourhood Character Overlay (NCO) and Design and Development Overlay (DDO).

In preparing the C87 Amendment, Council commissioned Planisphere to undertake a study of the municipality to

  • Review/assess the level of significance of  the 15 Significant Character Areas that are currently nominated in the Glen Eira Planning Scheme.
  • Identify other areas within the municipality that could also warrant designation as Significant Character Areas.

The Planisphere Final Report, March 2011,  recommends changes to the existing SCA’s

  • some areas are increased (eg. Oakdene Crescent Area expanded to include part of Blackwood Street) while others are decreased (e.g. Queens Avenue/Derby Crescent to be split into two with connecting streets removed from SCA).
  • the removal of 4 SCA’s which are to be reclassified as Housing Diversity Areas (i.e. high density housing areas) – bypassing the Minimal Change Area classification
    • Urandaline Grove, Caulfield
    • Normanby Road/Park Crescent, North Caulfield.  Area includes Kambrook Road between Balaclava and Normanby Roads.
    • Hawthorn Road Tramway Estate, South Caulfield
    • Ulpurina Road, Ormond
  • the inclusion of 3 new areas.
    • Murray Street, Elsternwick
    • Prentice Street, Elsternwick
    • Kambea Grove, Caulfield North

A summary of the Planisphere Report (pages 25-26) is presented below.  Appendix B, which includes maps, area character descriptions and lists characteristic elements for each area, is a separate document to the Report and should also be reviewed.  Appendix B is available via the same link as the Planisphere Final Report.

GERA will make subsequent postings commenting on the Planisphere Report.  However, given the significance of the proposed changes underpinning Amendment C87, this post is to advise residents of the changes so that residents can make whatever representations they consider appropriate to Councillors and Council.

Note:  GERA has highlighted, in red, the Report recommendations

Existing Significant Character Areas

  1. The Highway, Bentleigh

High degree of neighbourhood character significance, possible heritage significance. Additional controls warranted.

2.  Chestnut Street, Carnegie

High degree of neighbourhood character significance. Additional controls warranted. Remove properties at the northern end of the street from the area.

3.  McPherson Avenue Area, Carnegie

High degree of neighbourhood character significance. Additional controls warranted. Remove properties in Craigavad Street, and several properties in Munster Avenue and Grange Road from the area.

4.  Urandaline Grove, Caulfield

Area does not display greater degree of neighbourhood character significance to surrounding residential areas. No additional controls warranted.

5.  Queens Avenue and Derby Crescent, Caulfield East

High degree of neighbourhood character significance, possible heritage significance. Additional controls warranted. Separate Queens Avenue and Derby Crescent into two areas and remove connecting streets.

6.  Normanby Road/Park Crescent, Caulfield North

Area does not display greater degree of neighbourhood character significance to surrounding residential areas. No additional controls warranted

7.  Clarinda Street, Caulfield South

High degree of neighbourhood character significance. Additional controls warranted.

8.  Hawthorn Road Tramway Estate, Caulfield South

Area does not display greater degree of neighbourhood character significance to surrounding residential areas. No additional controls warranted. Subdivision layout may have heritage significance.

9.  St James Parade / Downshire Road, Elsternwick

High degree of neighbourhood character significance, possible heritage significance. Additional controls warranted. Separate into two areas of significant neighbourhood character. Extend Downshire Road area north to Stanley Street and Rowan Street. Extend St James Parade area to include interwar estate to the east (Nagle Ave, Clonard Ave, Duffy Ave, Elster Ave and Gogh St.)

10. Exhibition and Field Streets, McKinnon

High degree of neighbourhood character significance. Additional controls warranted. Separate into two significant areas of neighbourhood character.

11. Boyd Park Area, Murrumbeena

High degree of neighbourhood character significance. Additional controls warranted. Extend area to the south to include Neerim Road (between Hobart Road and Poath Road) and Riley Reserve

12. Lindsay Avenue, Murrumbeena

High degree of neighbourhood character significance.  Additional controls warranted.

13. Oakdene Crescent, Murrumbeena

High degree of neighbourhood character significance, possible heritage significance. Additional controls warranted.  Extend boundary to Blackwood Street.

14. Lydson Street, Murrumbeena

High degree of neighbourhood character significance. Additional controls warranted.

15. Ulupna Road, Ormond

Area does not display greater degree of neighbourhood character significance to surrounding residential areas. No additional controls warranted

Potential Areas of Significant Neighbourhood Character

16. Murray Street, Elsternwick

High degree of neighbourhood character significance, potential heritage significance. Additional controls warranted.

17. Prentice Street, Elsternwick

High degree of neighbourhood character significance, potential heritage significance. Additional controls warranted.

18. Kambea Grove, Caulfield North

High degree of neighbourhood character significance, potential C20th architectural heritage significance. Additional controls warranted.

Debacle on Seaview

Glen Eira Council maintains one of its main functions is to gather relevant information and, based on that information, make the best decision possible.  Unfortunately, the  recent heritage issue was not an example of this.

Background

In 2003, Council passed Planning Scheme Amendment C19 (HO114) which identified the building located at the corner of Seaview Street and Hawthorn Road, Caulfield South, as being a property worthy of heritage protection.

The standalone building comprises 3 double story maisonettes on three separate strata tiles.  The address of the front maisonette is 466 Hawthorn Road and middle and rear units addresses are 2B and 2A Seaview Street respectively.

Regrettably, when preparing documentation for this amendment, Council officers did not confirm that their mapping of the property and the wording of the schedule aligned and hence officers created an “anomaly”.  This anomaly meant that the two owners of 2A and 2B Seaview Street were not advised of the heritage overlay.

Note:  From Council Meeting Minutes of 31 August, 2011 (refer to below link to minutes) – section 9.5, page 903 – states “Planning permission is not required for internal alterations to a dwelling in this heritage overlay.  Certain external alterations and additions may also be allowed provided they do not have a detrimental effect on the cultural heritage significance of the building.”

 To remove the heritage overlay Council prepared Planning Scheme Amendment Amendment C83 Explanatory Note

Council Meetings Discussions

 Cr. Margaret Esakoff declared a conflict of interest (as both she and her husband had an interest in one of the Seaview Street properties) and did not participate in the Council Meeting discussions.  Jack Esakoff  “lobbied Councillors” (The Age, 18 August, 2011) – warrants a click, if not for the worthy article,  at least the picture.

Council meeting discussions occurred on

At both these meetings, Councillors voted unanimously, against officers’ and heritage advisors’ recommendations, and expressed the view that the property was not worthy of heritage protection in the planning scheme and should be removed.

  • Cr. Tang – said it was a matter of supporting the property owners who, due to an administrative error, were not given the opportunity to object to the implementation of the overlay
  • Cr. Lipshutz – said he had inspected the building and the building had deteriorated and the owner was not prepared undertake further repairs.  The building condition means it does not warrant heritage protection.
  • Cr. Hyams – said that in his opinion the building did not warrant heritage protection since many of the original features listed in the original citation had since be removed (e.g brick work painted over, removal of gates and rockery).

Council also chose not to follow up on the Department of Planning and Community Development comment on the application to proceed with the removal of the heritage overlay.

  • Council’s submission to the DPCD (C83 Explanatory Note – see link above) stated that “The removal of this overlay will allow for potential of a more intense re-development of the subject sites which are located in Glen Eira’s Housing Diversity Area”
  • DPCD 14th February, 2011 “The Department is concerned with the lack of strategic justification provided in support of the amendment.  I encourage Council to provide further justification”

 Heritage Advisors’ Reports

  1.  Original Report, Andrew Ward, October, 2000

The apartments at 466 Hawthorn Road “are aesthetically significant (Criterion E) as uncommon examples of residential buildings undertaken in a manor directly influenced by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, comparing in Glen Eira only with the house at Number 45 Balaclava Road but demonstrating that the influence of his work was still being felt in Melbourne during the late inter war years”

 2.  Current Heritage Advisors Report, Gabrielle Moylan, 27 July 2010

In my opinion, all three apartments should be included in the heritage overlay.  In fact, the rear 2 apartments are perhaps slightly more intact than the front apartment, as tapestry brick embellishments remain unpainted (these have been over painted on the front apartment).  … I would agree that this apartment block, clearly influenced by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, in unusual in the context of this municipality, and even beyond, and I think individual protection of the site is warranted”

Council Minutes of 31st August, 2010 also include the following statement “While a number of features that are listed in the citation have been removed from the property,  it is the actual building that is the most significant structure on the property and is the most important element to retain”

3.  Independent Heritage Advisors Report, John Briggs, 15th November, 2010

‘I would agree (with the Statement of Significance) that this apartment block, clearly influenced by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, is unusual in the context of this municipality, and even beyond, and I think individual protection of the site is warranted. Property is significant and will not write any strategic justification for removal of this overlay‘ 

4.  Independent Heritage Advisors Report, D.V. Bick,  26th November, 2010

  “This building justifies the current Heritage Overlay Planning controls …. The two rear dwellings are integral parts of the whole, the building being basically symmetrical on the Seaview Street façade (which is somewhat unusual as side street frontages of such buildings are often simpler).  This building is of unusually good quality”

 5.  Independent Heritage Advisors Report, Dale Kelly, 14th December, 2010

“In my view, both  publicly visible façades, while different from each other in composition, are integral to the strong overall design, and hence to the heritage value and integrity of this prominent building.  I do not believe that it would be appropriate to remove the current heritage protection”

6.  Independent Heritage Advisors Report, Roger Beeston (heritage advisor to the City of Melbourne), 14th  December, 2010

“the site is clearly worthy of heritage controls …further research might be undertaken which would have the likely effect of amplifying the heritage attributes of the place”

 Excerpts from the Amendment C83 Independent Planning Panel Report  (31st August, 2011)

  • The Panel is satisfied that the Amendment C83 process, including the Panel process, has provided the affected landowners with an opportunity to makesubmissions with respect to the heritage overlay… The Panel is satisfied that the significance of the entire apartment building supports its inclusion in the Heritage Overlay.
  • The Panel’s inspection indicate that, while some maintenance works could be undertaken (such as to address damp or renew some downpipes and fascia boards), the condition of the building does not appear to be such that major structural works or demolition are warranted. If more major works were warranted, it is highly likely that they would have been brought to the Panel’s attention.
  • Planning authorities have a responsibility to ensure that planning schemes have a sound basis. There should be good reasons when officer and expert advice is disregarded but none were provided in this instance.Council responded to the query from the Panel about why the Council did not accept the expert advice provided by stating that Council may form its own view.
  • The DPCD authorisation of the Amendment identified the need to strengthen the strategic justification for the Amendment. Council advised that no further justification could be provided. …  The Council noted it was unable to obtain expert evidence in support of the Amendment to remove the heritage overlay.
  • It would set ‘a dangerous precedent’ if a strategic designation for more intense redevelopment was deemed sufficient justification for removing heritage overlays. The protection of heritage values remains a valid planning consideration in planning decisions.
  • The Panel notes that, although new development in the immediate area may be more intensive, the three substantial, distinctive maisonette dwellings on the Site (which has an area of approximately 740m2) already contribute to the diversity of housing options in the locality.
  • The Panel does not accept the argument put by Council that removal of HO114 is justified by the fact that one quite different example of development influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright will be retained and all examples would not be lost. … It is apparent that the Site is a rare example in the locality and its heritage values should be taken into account in future planning decisions.

Panel Recommendations

 Based on the reasons set out in this Report, the Panel recommends that:

1. Amendment C83 to the Glen Eira Planning Scheme be abandoned.

2. The Minister for Planning amend the Glen Eira Planning Scheme, without further notice, pursuant to 20(4) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to revise the Schedule to the Heritage Overlay to include 2A and 2B Sea View Street, Caulfield South in the description of the land to which HO114 applies.

 From the above it is clear that this was definitely not a case of Glen Eira Council  gathering relevant information and, based on that information, making the best decision possible.  Instead substantive evidence, gathered by administrative officers, was disregarded and an unsubstantiated opinion was formed by Councillors.  No documentation as to the buildings condition was presented and Council was unable to obtain a professional, independent heritage advisor’s opinion that supported removal of the heritage status.

Given that the Local Government Act clearly states that Council is responsible for protecting heritage and guidelines, outlining heritage criteria, are readily available, GERA is unable to justify this decision to pursue removal of heritage protection.

____________________________________________________________________

Council Minutes – 20 September, 2011 – Council voted unanimously to accept the officers’ recommendation that Council:

• notes the recommendations of the Panel

• abandons Amendment C83 (which seeks to remove the heritage overlay);

• requests the Minister for Planning to undertake an amendment, without further notice, pursuant to 20(4) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to revise the Schedule to the Heritage Overlay to include 2A and 2B Sea View Street, Caulfield South in the description of the land to which HO114 applies.