Chaos, confusion and outrage are spreading around the Government’s draft Planning and Design Code. At the time of its premature release six weeks ago, it included twelve pages’worth of known errors.

We are now all painfully aware that there are hundreds of errors, gaps and omissions,making it unusable for meaningful consultation with the community. The process clearly transgresses the Community Engagement Charter which was integral to the 2016 Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act.

All South Australians are being forced – with minimal time and consultation – to respond to a new set of planning rules that will radically alter their streets, neighbourhoods, towns and environment. The information released for public consultation by the State Planning Commission (SPC) in October is inaccessible and incomprehensible to most people, and yet it will affect everyone, wherever they live.

Thousands of letters went out last week to property owners, from the SPC, about changes that will affect, directly, how they can use their properties. The letters are full of incomprehensible gobblegook and give owners just three weeks to respond. They refer people to the unnavigable online planning portal for more information – a website that is a
morass of bureaucratic waffle and spin.

Whirlwind statewide community ‘consultation’ starts this week. It offers 1 – 2 hour sessions with representatives of the SPC, which are supposed to explain ‘once in a generation’ planning changes that will impact every property in the state and radically alter our built and natural environment for the foreseeable future.

The general community, and even key stakeholders, remain in the dark about this impact.They cannot navigate the thousands of pages of proposed policy material, and the confusion is compounded by a companion online ‘mapping tool’ which is beset with inaccurate,missing and contradictory information. People are spending fruitless hours trying to find out the most basic information about their future, from these and other, equally confusing,
documents and guides.

It is impossible to know if information in the draft Code and its accompanying online documentation is erroneous or reflects real changes in the planning policy and rules. When nothing is clear, how can there be an informed assessment and response from the public?

Either way, the statewide community is stymied by this mis-managed process….if they give up and don’t respond, the rules governing their properties, and those around them, will be changed without their knowledge or consent.

Warren Jones AO, Convenor of the Protect our Heritage Alliance says:

“The draft Planning and Design Code is an exercise in incompetence and deception on a grand scale. It beggars belief to think that the Government can mess with the property rights of everyone in this State in this ham-fisted and undemocratic way. As the electorate wakes up to the cost in property rights and values and the loss of amenity in their neighbourhoods and towns, the Government will be so on the nose that the stink about the land tax will pale into insignificance. If the Marshall Government persists on this ill-considered path, it will pay the price at the next election.”

“The Planning Minister must call a halt to this farcical process until the mess that is the Planning and Design Code is sorted out. The Government must clearly and unambiguously spell-out the changes it proposes, and give the public the time and opportunity to consider and debate the issues properly.”

Professor Warren Jones AO is the Convenor of the Protect our Heritage Alliance, a coalition of concerned organisations and individuals, working to protect our built and natural environment.

Phone: 0419 852 622 Email: convenor@protectourheritage.org.au

Download the petition to Parliament and get signing!

Online petitions are just the start. We need 10 000 written signatures to ensure Parliament debates the problems with the new planning rules.  Print a copy and start collecting signatures now.


What's in a Name?.jpgMalvern was named after the Malvern in Worcestershire, which is described as a favourite place of residence of retired people, and much frequented as a summer resort.

A sale of this land, conducted by T.J. Matters & Co, in the Unley Town Hall on 23 September 1882, was one of the most remarkable subdivisional triumphs in the history of suburban Adelaide. It was wonderfully well advertised and reports say that ‘notwithstanding the dusty, hot weather, there was a vast crowd at the sale, which lasted from 2.30pm until 7.30pm’. The whole of the 600 allotments offered were quitted, for the handsome total sum of £35560.

There exists another populous Malvern in Victoria, much to the annoyance of the postal authorities. Still they have something to be grateful for, because a third Malvern was established in South Australia on the ‘Great North Road’ in 1848, but it did not endure. The Unley Malvern was known as such before the great sale was held, because on 8 October 1881, under the name Townsend & Son, in conjunction with Lyons & Leader, disposed of portion of preliminary sections 242 and 243, Hundred of Adelaide, known as Trimmer’s Unley sections.

The advertisements were exceptionally fulsome, even for auctioneers’ puffs. They followed this strain: ‘Malvern, in all its glory of green and gold, will be sold. Malvern! Heath is its heritage. Native birds sport themselves undisturbed in the fine native trees which ornament Malvern and it is not the intention to permit the destruction of these charming songsters. All delights of a rural life within ten minutes travel of the city pleasures. Australia does not hold a fairer spot.’

Further, ‘this perfect Eden’ was to have ‘no factory chimneys, no dust storms, no shrieking motors’. The point about the last remark is that a steam-motor was first used for traction on the Mitcham tramway. It was soon discontinued.


What’s in a Name? – Nomenclature of South Australia
Authoritative derivations of some 4000 historically significant place names by Rodney Cockburn. Ferguson Publications, 1984.



Attached is the notice of the next FOCUS Inc  Public meeting on ‘Greening Unley’ at the Unley Community Centre.

The City of Unley has a target to increase canopy cover by 20% by 2045 to help keep Unley leafy for generations to come. This is a big challenge as currently we are losing trees across the city every week.

Learn what is already underway with the review and update of the Tree Strategy, additional tree planting in the city, as well as ideas and options on how you can help.

I look forward to seeing you at this important and informative Meeting.

Warren Jones
President. FOCUS


From The Sunday Mail. 13/10/19
Now, this is a sensible idea. It is a viable alternative to the ugly, developer-driven, demolition-dependent, infill progressively polluting out suburbs.



South Australians show their anger.


IMG_7586.jpgHere is the hard copy of the Planning and Design Code released on Friday 4th October. Quite apart from it being internally inconsistent with a parallel electronic version, incomplete, confusing , inaccessible and riddled with errors, its size is ‘impressive’. It comprises 3000 pages in five volumes , weighing 7.5 Kg….comparable to a large turkey. It purports to replace 23,000 pages of current development plans across the State.

However it really, effectively, replaces individual development plans for each of 72 areas in the State. These currently average around 400 pages each compared to 23,000……..that is, there are seven times more pages in the new Code.

Warren Jones – FOCUS President

(The Advertiser 5/10/19)
Unley residents will recognise this story which was also played out at 248 Unley Rd where an Application ‘variation’ turned out to be a complete re-vamp of the plan…..
Removal of a basement car park level, extending the commercial space area and raising the building height.

All of this sanctioned by the State Planning Commission and its ‘hit team’ on the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP).IMG_7566.jpg

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