Allowing schools in bushfire prone green wedges puts children’s lives at risk

The semi-rural hamlets of Narre Warren North, Narre Warren East and Lysterfield are reeling from a sudden influx of five proposals for places of worship and schools in this tiny corner of the Southern Ranges Green Wedge, and the Western Port Green wedge is experiencing its first threat in Devon Meadows.

For six months or more, the ferocious fires devastating our eastern states have dominated the news. Why then are schools and places of worship still permitted uses in Melbourne’s high risk Green Wedge Zones?

This is especially inexplicable in the Southern Ranges Green Wedge where the whole region is in either a Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) or a designated bushfire prone area, with large tracts of forest to the north through to the west. Bringing large numbers of people – especially children – into such a heavily timbered area on a regular basis is a recipe for disaster. (Ref: Addendum 1. Bushfire Risk)

Proposed Place of Worship and Car Parking - Objection

The subject site, 73 Browns Rd Devon Meadows, is located on Green Wedge A Zone (GWAZ) land in a rural area, surrounded by farms.

The Green Wedges Coalition has frequently opposed applications for schools and places of worship in the Green Wedges on the basis that schools should be where the students live and religious edifices should be where the parishioners live. These are fundamentally urban uses, and it is poor planning to allow them in the rural fringe areas where they increase car usage, generate heavy traffic flows on green wedge roads and impact adversely on the amenity of those who choose to live in the countryside.

Even though Place of worship is a Section 2 use (Permit Required), this does not make it “as of right”. There is plenty of scope to refuse an application if it doesn’t satisfy the long list of policy objectives, strategies, guidelines or zone requirements for the area.

Thursday, 17 October, 2019

Place of Worship, Browns Rd, Devon Meadows - Submission

The proposed Place of Worship and car parking at 73 Browns Rd, Devon Meadows is contrary to the purposes of the Green Wedge Zone A (GWZA) which are:

  • To implement the Municipal Planning Strategy and the Planning Policy Framework.
  • To provide for the use of land for agriculture.
  • To protect, conserve and enhance the biodiversity, natural resources, scenic landscapes and heritage values of the area.
  • To ensure that use and development promotes sustainable land management practices and infrastructure provision.
  • To protect, conserve and enhance the cultural heritage significance and the character of rural and scenic non-urban landscapes.
  • To recognise and protect the amenity of existing rural living areas
Tuesday, 3 December, 2019

Objection to Retrospective Place of Worship Application, Devon Meadows

I am writing with an urgent plea. Please do not approve this urban use application. Each one that is approved provides incentive and precedent for another, and I think this is the first in the Western Port Green Wedge. But if it gets through, this highly vulnerable area will be subjected to the same assault of urban use applications that we are now seeing in Narre Warren North and Narre Warren East.

Saturday, 30 November, 2019

Bottle shop blow to 'Tully's Shed plans

THE Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has refused permission for a bottle shop to be added to the sales and restaurant activities at Tully’s Shed, in Moorooduc Highway, Mornington.

The decision follows a site inspection by VCAT senior member Russell Byard who described the “shed” as a supermarket offering goods from around the world.

The decision to not allow the bottle shop can only be overturned by the Supreme Court or VCAT.

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