As talked about for some time now, the Community Alliance with planning expert Kevin O’Leary has produced a blueprint on preserving and enhancing Adelaide’s traditional high streets, as many of them become increasingly threatened by growth and development through planning rule changes.  

Please download the Blueprint from the homepage of our website here.

We would like you to distribute and publicise the Blueprint as widely as possible, including to your local council and by lobbying them and the State Government for the outcomes you want in your own local high streets.

A media release is attached.

This is a 10 storey development with 53 apartments & 5 2 storey town houses on the southern side near the existing houses, 93 parking spaces & 80 bicycle parks.  The developer plans to restore the old house St Margaret’s & the garden, retain the old Ombu tree & have some green space surrounding the new development. Rubbish will be removed by a private contractor. There are many green energy components in the development.

The development sets many precedents.

The developer must be commended for attempting to negotiate with the community before applying for final approval. There was an open day on the 18th of June for everyone to meet with all the professionals involved on the project & FOCUS were invited to a further meeting last Wednesday. We understand neighbours have been visited by the project manager to attempt to deal with some the difficulties & losses which will arise with such a large building in an inner city suburb.

The restoration of St. Margaret’s arising from significant historical research, means this important building in the history of Unley may be accessible to a limited extent by the public, as the plan is to turn it into offices.

The developer has adhered to the 30 degree envelope with the adjoining houses so the bulk of the building is in the centre of the site, the front is much lower than the back & there are plans to have high balustrades on each balcony to minimise looking into adjoining back yards.  We understand the developer initially wanted the podium to be higher to compensate for the generous setbacks from the boundaries but has settled for the 10 storeys.

The height of the apartments will dominate Parkside & erode the view of the foothills.  The neighbour on the southern side will have overlooking issues & some restriction on sunlight in the winter & the neighbours on the Eastern & Western sides will experience both overlooking & overshadowing.

Traffic management will be an issue given the narrowness of George Street which will require ongoing negotiations between Council & the Department of Planning, Transport & Infrastructure.


The May 2016 Unley Development Register is now available.


FOCUS has received notice of an OPEN HOUSE at 179 Greenhill Rd/1 George St, Parkside,  St Margarets (previously Carramar) to view and discuss the Draft Plans for the proposed development.

DATE SATURDAY 18th June between 10 and 2pm.

Enter from Greenhill Rd and follow signs to school house.

Car parking is available at rear of site off George Street.

The new owners Aestus Pty Ltd have invited residents to view their proposed development which includes restoring the house and school room and for “mixed uses”.

The mixed uses includes professional offices, residential apartments and a small coffee shop. The Council has only limited involvement in this application, ie traffic,parking and street trees.

I urge you all to have a look and tell the developers what you think and want.

Focus committee looks forward to discussing its activities & submissions in relation to the draft Tree Strategy, the Unley Precinct Plan, the Environmental & Sustainability Strategy  and the passing of the Planning, Development & Infrastructure Bill at the meeting on Tuesday 17th May after the address by our speaker. See details on the flyer below.

We value hearing the views of the members on these draft plans & the legislation, all of which will have an impact on the character & heritage of Unley.

Peter Tsokas
Chief Executive Officer
The City of Unley
PO Box 1


Dear Peter

FOCUS welcomes this Council initiative, and the opportunity to contribute to and enhance the future environment of our City.  We are particularly interested in tree strategy in the broader context of maintaining and promoting biodiversity.  To this end FOCUS has established a ‘Biodiversity Group’ with a view to assisting Council in it’s endeavours, particularly in the areas of community liaison and education, and possibly, in contributing to activities such as tree monitoring and second tier greening.

The Draft Tree Policy is an excellent document; well researched, thoughtfully constructed and attractively presented.

FOCUS supports the concept of an ‘Urban Forest’ and the seven Principles underpinning the Tree Strategy.  The strategies in the three pathways for street, park and private trees seem sensible and realistic. We have mixed views about the details of tree succession and second generation planning for street trees, but based on the data presented, we feel that the proposals are good starting points for discussion.

FOCUS has been a strong advocate of the need to protect significant and regulated trees on private property, whilst recognising the considerable difficulties in achieving this.  We support the proposals for mapping and auditing, education and advice, and improved planning and development application protocols.

FOCUS endorses the concerns and actions in the Strategy relating to water/soil moisture retention, climate change and urban infill.

Please see attached FOCUS recommendations and suggestions.

Yours Sincerely

Ros Islip

Cc John Devine, General Manager Assets and Infrastructure, Councillors.


FOCUS  wishes  to highlight the following list of constructive ways in which we can endorse, support and help implement the aims of the Council’s Tree Strategy:

  • FOCUS, along with other stakeholders, can play a helpful role in promoting community awareness of biodiversity issues.  This could involve targeted programs for community engagement, specific education programs (eg for schoolchildren), and the establishment of a Facebook Page or Web Site providing education, information, and a forum for community discussion.  We believe that Council might be able to provide funding to subsidise such activities.
  • We are concerned about the effects of subdivision leading to relatively larger homes and smaller gardens.  Council could address some of these issues in the planning process, and should also highlight ‘model’ gardens as an example to householders and the community in general.
  • Council should assume leadership in providing advice and support to householders concerning trees that are suitable for habitat and shade without the potential to cause structural damage.
  • The reference to existing canopy cover of 26.1% describes streets and parks.  FOCUS believes that the Tree Strategy should set a long term target for canopy cover for the whole of the Unley area.
  • We support, and would like to assist in, second tier greening projects, water conservation, biodiversity monitoring and protection, the establishment of ‘Pocket Parks’ in dead end streets, and the greening of public car parks.
  • FOCUS members have a particular wish to preserve remnant indigenous trees for their importance to the biodiversity and habitat of the area.  We endorse the Response you will have received from Margaret and Andrew Black,  dated 23 October 2015, and titled: ‘Our Heritage is in your Hands – Biodiversity Conservation in Unley’
  • We are particularly concerned about the fate of remnant River Red Gums, and would wish to be involved in their monitoring and protection. We believe that the issue of auditing and monitoring is urgent.
  • We would wish to be reassured that the restrained approach to implementing street tree succession for Jacarandas, outlined in Councillor Rabbit’s Q and A document, will be adopted.
  • We endorse any plans for footpath modifications to improve water permeability.
  • We are concerned about the inconsistency and unprofessionalism of some Arborist’s reports. We will support any efforts at Local or State Government levels to regulate and standardise reporting. We encourage Council to place a greater emphasis on its own Arborist’s impartial recommendations when reviewing development applications.
  • FOCUS recognises that the new State planning laws and regulations will put significant and regulated trees on private land at increased risk.  We will support Council in any efforts to mitigate this risk. We would be interested to hear of any efforts to explore the details and limits of legal processes for tree protection.
  • We support the proposal to prepare a Draft Development Plan Amendment for significant trees.
  • We are aware of the threats to trees and biodiversity, in general, of urban infill and climate change.  We urge Council to do everything in its powers to modify these effects.
  • We believe that the Tree Strategy provides an opportunity for Council to increase our, currently, very low open space ratio, particularly in relation to new developments.
  • We urge Council to keep the community up to date by dedicating an issue of ‘Unley Life’ to ‘greening’ information and initiatives, and by providing regular updates on the Tree Policy.
  • FOCUS advocates for a dedicated greening issue of Unley Life and for regular updates of the 4 year plan.
  • FOCUS supports the vegetating of public Car Parks
  • Finally, FOCUS applauds Council’s initiative in establishing a comprehensive Tree Strategy.   We wish to be part of this ongoing process.

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