Mr Doug Giles
Manager Economic Development
Bayside City Council
PO Box 27
SANDRINGHAM VIC 3191
Dear Mr Giles,
Proposed Amendment C49 to Bayside Planning Scheme: Beaumaris Concourse Activity Centre
General Comment: This submission on the above amendment that appears on the Bayside City Council Web site at www.bayside.vic.gov.au notes that Beaumaris Concourse was planned in the 1950s as a pleasant and small-scale shopping centre to cater primarily for the regular daily purchases of Beaumaris residents, and it still continues to serve that function admirably.
Proposed Clause 22.06 in Bayside Planning Scheme (Policy for Concourse Activity Centre):
C49 will degrade Beaumaris Concourse – Southland is purpose-built to be an Activity Centre, and can withstand it:
· Southland, only 4.3 km away, has five times the space to provide people’s more specialized and occasional higher value purchases, with its three storeys on its 14 hectare ground site plus two storeys on its most conspicuous 0.5 hectare highway airspace structure, compared with the 2.7 hectare ground site of the Beaumaris Concourse.
· Southland’s much greater scale of establishments provides a good number of competing, enduring businesses with enough room to display a wide range of consumer durables, and still be in business when warranty questions arise.
· Southland is very accessible on the busy six-lane Nepean Highway, but the Concourse is on a relatively secluded site near the end of the much shorter local road, Reserve Road, and is served by no train line nearby, only a slow, winding bus route. The Concourse’s main asset, its small, friendly scale and peacefulness, will be lost with C49.
· Southland has virtually no residential units, with no attempt to have residents act as an unpaid security service, or suffer the noise, blight and lack of private garden space that saw shop-top houses fading after Queen Victoria’s era.
Unwise Site for an Activity Centre: Beaumaris Concourse is a strange location for an Activity Centre, as it is only 500 metres from the edge of the Melbourne Metropolitan Area and, as a result, has negligible catchment area for customers in a 270 degree arc from the south-south-east direction around to the west-north-west direction, as the territory in that arc nearly all consists of the submerged Crown land seabed of Port Phillip, entirely devoid of people.
Proposed Schedule to Business 1 Zone (Requires Permit for Restaurants in Concourse Retail Core):
Beaumaris Conservation Society Inc. accepts the rationale for the Retail Core as defined on the map, and the related proposed introduction of this Schedule, although “Area” is preferred to “Core” as, not being central, it is not a core.
The Concourse Bushland: This site on the south corner of Agnes Street and Reserve Road is referred to in my letter to Bayside City Council dated 11th March 2006. It is an anomaly on the DDO6 Map as it is coastal bushland of a distinctly Beaumaris character, is in public ownership, and should be excised from the DDO6 Map, rezoned to Public Park and Recreation Zone (PPRZ), and given a distinctive name to reflect its environmental significance, as sought in my letter. It and the Concourse Green give the area great distinction. The present DDO6 Map shows that land as an anomalous protruding appendage to the otherwise compact, cohesive and regular shape of the shaded area.
Intrusion into Agnes Street: The purely residential Agnes Street should not be white-anted by having a business zoning intruding into it. That anomaly is akin to the long-uncorrected anomaly of having the Concourse Green zoned as a business zone, which was only rectified by Bayside City Council in 2004.
3-Storey Structures & “Roof Decks”: The proposal for three-storey structures is opposed as being incompatible with the surrounding residential areas, where fortunately height entitlements still remain at two storeys. These higher structures proposed to be allowed in the Concourse will undoubtedly be used as a precedent and example to apply pressure for approving the spread of three-storey entitlements into the surrounding residential areas. The additional proposal to allow “roof decks”, even if requiring a permit, is opposed for similar reasons.
New “Frontages”: This attempt to remedy the existing aesthetic defects of unsightly fences and untidy backyards to commercial premises, and provide further business opportunities thereby has redeeming features, but it appears quite unclear how that would be achieved in practice without decreasing necessary rear access and storage for goods and waste, and without substituting more unachievable demand for access and storage from the extra businesses.
Proposed Parking Precinct Plan & Schedule to Clause 52.06 (Latter at end of consultant’s report):
Doubtful Financing: The harsh reality of the market for freehold land in Beaumaris is that it generally maintains a level and growth rate well above the corresponding Consumer Price Index levels. For that reason alone, letting a development proceed on the basis of a cash-in-lieu payment scheme for provision of essential car parking spaces where fixed or even CPI-indexed amounts are retained until there are enough of them to purchase the minimum practical quantum for parking land (usually more than one car parking space) can easily have the total sum accumulated lagging in purchasing power (for land acquisition on market) well behind the growth rate in land prices for much of the time.
Such a faulty and hollow scheme means that the development will have been built, but the envisaged and necessary parking provision becomes unattainable financially. The only satisfactory means of avoiding that dilemma is to require the physical car parking space to be bought and developed before the related development begins.
Type & Location of Car Parks?: The above Plan is
deficient in giving no indication of the physical nature of the extra
parking space. Is underground car parking, or first storey car parking
contemplated? Whereabouts would that parking be i.e. on the existing very small largely built-over freehold lots within
the DDO6 area, or perhaps achieved by gradually white-anting the south side of
Large Increase in Car Parking Opposed: Beaumaris Conservation Society Inc. opposes any large scale of car parking provision proposed (in this case a doubling) because of the certain environmental degradation that would result, notwithstanding a statement of most dubious credibility in the document headed “Explanatory Report” under the heading “Environmental Effects” that reads, “The amendment will have no significant effect on the environment.” Nowhere in the documentation for Amendment C49 is there the slightest hint that a doubling in car parking would be unavoidably associated with a great intensification of traffic volume and movements, or that such a great intensification would be environmentally quite undesirable. There appears to be no recognition that the existing traffic volume and movements are not at all pleasant or appealing.
Some Gains in Car Space still possible by Rationalization: Beaumaris Conservation Society Inc. accepts and has already proposed small rationalizations of existing inefficiencies in parking such as the largely unused and wasted areas abutting the south side of Moysey’s Run, and had one of its suggestions, to convert a superfluous car park exit cum entrance from Reserve Road into parking spaces, implemented by Bayside City Council recently.
More Planning Emphasis on Walking or Cycling to the Concourse: For many Concourse users walking, cycling or the equivalent is the preferred means of access. Planning should emphasize these as fine and desirable ways to minimize the environmental, health and safety problems introduced by excessive encouragement of access by cars.