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The State Government seems hell bent on creating poorly planned and designed infill development across urban Adelaide. This will be at an untold cost to public amenity and to our built and natural environment. The government has no public mandate for this strategy which is widely opposed on economic and environmental grounds.

Misguided policy directed by lobbyists for the development industry will undermine current property values for short term windfall profits by developers at the expense of existing property owners and the wider community. Historic buildings and precincts, established trees and open space will be sacrificed for more low quality infill development that does nothing to enhance the sustainability of our urban environment or prepare us for the challenges of a changing climate.

The proliferation of infill development has escalated under the watch of the State Planning Commission (SPC) since its establishment two years ago. And this is only a prelude to the full implementation of the new Planning and Design Code, which will offer developers weakened demolition protections for heritage places and the opportunity to take advantage of perversely flexible new provisions which can be manipulated to their advantage.

The stated aim of the SPC to encourage, if not mandate, eco-sensitive requirements for infill building applications is pie-in-the-sky. The Commission’s track record to date would argue that it doesn’t have the will or the means to implement such a policy.
Indeed, there is already pushback from the building industry against the proposal for tree retention and planting in new developments. Their justification for this position hides under a cloak of affordability for aspiring homeowners. In fact, the true motivation is not altruism but greed – the maximization of profit.

It is likely that the SPC will capitulate to this pressure. To do otherwise would be at odds with its current accommodation of applications for ugly, overcrowded infill which subsume land footprints to the exclusion of trees, greening, open space and water conservation.

The effects of overcooked residential infill will be exaggerated by high rise proposals in the draft Code for main roads and shopping centres.
Buildings in urban corridor zones, such as Unley Rd, will be able to accrue an additional height ‘bonus’ in certain circumstances, and their interface building envelope angle will increase from 30 degrees to 45 degrees. This means higher developments, with footprints
closer to roadside and residential boundaries, leading to overlooking and overshadowing of adjacent properties.

In addition, a host of designated suburban shopping precincts have been slated for six storey development. These include many small groups of ‘neighbourhood’ shops scattered across metropolitan Adelaide.

The combined, cumulative effects of these intrusions into our suburbs will bypass municipal and community rights and irrevocably distort the established and desirable character and amenity these areas.

In order to prevent this looming disaster, the Government must immediately engage the community in a genuine conversation about where and how infill development is necessary and acceptable, rather than the free-for-all envisaged in its draft Planning and Design Code.

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

It may be Thanksgiving in America, but in South Australia we are faced with turkeys of a different kind.

The State Planning Commission’s draft Planning and Design Code, released in October, is an overcooked, bloated turkey. It totals 61,794 pages of hard copy and electronic documents covering a proposed new statewide planning system. Its massive size and complexity is compounded by extensive errors and omissions, making it inaccessible and incomprehensible to the public.

Moreover, the provisions in the Code, if implemented, will weaken protection of heritage places, promote unrestrained crowded urban infill, enable high rise development in small suburban shopping precincts and erode our natural environment of trees, greening and open space.

Greens MLC, Mark Parnell has introduced a Planning, Development and Infrastructure (Commencement of Code) Amendment Bill 2019 which allows the Minister for Planning to postpone the implementation of the Code from July 2020 to a later date.
The Bill, which will be debated in the Upper House on 4th December 2019, seeks to create an opportunity to review and re-construct the Code which, at present is incomplete, inaccurate and unfit for purpose. It would also allow proper consultation and feedback from the community which thus far has been impossible.
We urge you to contact Members of the Legislative Council and ask them to support the passage of the bill to defer the implementation of the Planning and Design code until the community has had an opportunity to understand and debate it.

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

 

 

 

PLANNING AND DESIGN CODE TRASHES HERITAGE PROTECTIONS

The State Government’s draft Planning and Design Code has dealt a potentially fatal blow to the state’s heritage protections by failing to include key information that defines the protection for historic buildings across the State.

Under the proposed new planning rules, heritage protections are applied through a ‘heritage overlay’ which defines what is to be protected and puts controls on modification and demolition of properties in those areas. Currently, there are around 140 such historic conservation areas across the state, across 25 council areas. Most of the protected heritage buildings in the state are within these areas, which in total amount to less than 3% of all buildings in South Australia.

Despite months of spin and misinformation from the State Planning Commission about maintaining heritage protections, buried within the 5000 pages of the unwieldy draft Code documents is further evidence of the Commission’s intention to gut current protections for our heritage by neglecting to include meaningful information about what should be protected under the new rules.

Under the new Code, ‘historic area statements’ are meant to define what is to be retained in these areas and protected from demolition or inappropriate development. However, these detailed descriptions of what is most highly valued and valuable in these areas are conspicuously absent from the draft Code, just one of many critical omissions. The draft Code offers no effective or consistent policy to provide protection for the built heritage that is the heart of these historic conservation zones, which comprise the most valuable and cherished historic streetscapes, neighborhoods and townships in the state.

Instead, the Commission, three weeks after releasing the draft Code for public consultation, asked local councils to do that work. The draft historic area statements provided to 12 rural councils by the State Planning Commission are particularly poor. Rural councils are especially disadvantaged as they have been given barely a month to review the historic area statements and to consult with their communities by 29 November. If allowed to pass these inadequate, vague and loose descriptions proposed by the Commission would effectively remove meaningful protections for hundreds of our most historically significant buildings in towns such as Robe, Penola and Moonta.

The statements proposed by the Commission consist of sketchy and often incoherent phrases that can easily be circumvented meaning that what is most valued in some of our most significant heritage towns will no longer be protected from damaging alteration or demolition.

This farcical process could have been avoided if the Code had actually been complete when released for public consultation in October and if there had been proper public consultation on the future of heritage protection under the new planning system. As it stands, the Code will expose thousands of historic places to the risk of demolition by removing or watering down protections that have been in place for decades. This is unacceptable and yet another breach of faith by the State Planning Commission in translating heritage protections into the new planning system.

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

Lost in Translation -POHA News release 26Nov2019

Authorised by Warren Jones, President – Friends of the City of Unley Society, Inc, (FOCUS)

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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.

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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.

Reference
https://www.catalog.slsa.sa.gov.au/record=b1053849

A DATE FOR YOUR DIARY – 5 NOVEMBER 2019 at 7:30pm

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

KAT RYAN FLYER

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