Kingston disappointed in golf course rezoning
Published on 25 September 2023
Kingston Council joins with the Dingley Village community in its disappointment that valuable green open space at the Kingswood Golf Course site has been rezoned for housing by the Victorian Minister for Planning.
Council fully supports the need to address Melbourne’s housing crisis, but there is absolutely no need to sacrifice important green open spaces like golf courses to achieve this.
Kingston’s Housing Strategy is a positive plan that identifies more suitable sites for new housing growth to meet the forecast demand, and we call on the Minister to approve this plan as soon as possible.
Kingston Mayor Hadi Saab said Australian Super’s proposed development for the site sparked over 8000 community objections and it is very notable that the Minster has only approved the rezoning and not the development plan.
“On the back of Australian Super’s recent announcement that they intend to sell the land, we believe it provides an opportunity for the new owner to reset the relationship with the community and offer genuine engagement on the site’s future,” Cr Saab said.
“While we understand the state government has determined that this site will be used for housing, as things stand, we don’t know how many homes will be allowed on the site or how other important issues will be addressed.
“Any development of Kingswood should include much-needed open space, and infrastructure to meet the needs of this new and existing Dingley Village community, including a large proportion of social and affordable housing, and the protection of canopy trees and green space to address the heat island effect and lessen the impacts of the climate crisis.
“With the owner now required to prepare a development plan that outlines how these priorities will be met, we expect that the local community and Council will still have a strong role to play in shaping these important details.
“If development does go ahead, it must happen in a responsible, coordinated and balanced way.”
Kingston is taking a motion to the Municipal Association of Victoria State Council Meeting to be held in October.
The motion is asking for the Minister for Planning to urgently review the Planning Guidelines for the Conversion of Golf Course Land to Other Purposes, and their practical application. Council feels this is necessary due to the poor process and outcome of the Kingswood application.
Kingston City Council has concerns regarding the useability of the Planning Guidelines for the Conversion of Golf Course Land to Other Purposes June 2020 (PGCGCLOP) and consider they are not an efficient or adequate tool for assessing golf course rezoning proposals.
The Guidelines provide additional steps to the consideration of planning scheme changes, with no demonstrable benefit. Council has identified several issues which require further consideration:
- The Guidelines do not provide sufficient weight or consideration of the role that Golf Course land can play in contributing to open space networks, projects that assist in addressing the State Government renewable energy targets and opportunities to counteract the urban heat island effect.
- The Guidelines are unable to properly guide decision making for proposals that can have significant impacts on environmental values associated with golf course land.
- The Guidelines do not provide sufficient direction on how proponents properly demonstrate a need for conversion of the land, including that the land is surplus to golfing in a range of the contemporary forms in which it is increasingly being presented.
- The Guidelines require community consultation to be undertaken when it’s likely that the proponent has already predetermined the optimal development outcome that they are likely to pursue.