Last year, numerous local residents fought long and hard alongside Yarra City Council to stop what they considered to be an inappropriate development from proceeding at 9-13 Stewart St in Richmond.
The proposed development was described by council as "not respectful of the existing buildings or the surrounding heritage context" and VCAT agreed, refusing to grant a permit.
This week, parties to the VCAT hearing have received letters advising that under the Development Facilitation Program, Planning Minister Richard Wynne is now considering making himself the responsible authority for approving a proposal by the same developer, at the same site, which is not materially different from the one that was refused by VCAT.
If the minister proceeds to grant approval for the development it would effectively overturn the VCAT decision which was supposed to be final and binding, unless set aside by the Supreme Court.
It should be of grave concern to all local residents that the Planning Minister would contemplate usurping the legal process in this manner. This would set a dangerous precedent for future development proposals in the area that are considered to be inappropriate.
I would encourage anyone with concerns to express their views directly to the Minister's office.
Stephen McCulloch, Richmond
Since air travel recently resumed in Melbourne there has been a rapid increase in the number of aircraft flying over Richmond.
The large number of flights is a concern in terms of noise pollution and jet exhaust particles which are linked to adverse mental and physical health effects. It is only going to get worse once we return to pre-Covid flight levels, as well as any future growth in aircraft movements.
In my view, the flight path that currently directs incoming aircraft over the Melbourne inner-city to perform a close-range CBD fly-by should be abolished due to amenity and health impacts to hundreds of thousands of inner-city residents in Yarra, Melbourne and Port Phillip LGAs.
Melbourne Airport is seeking comment on a proposed third runway to support significant growth in aircraft movements. I have lodged a submission which documents my concerns. Submissions have now closed, but you can make the council aware of your views.
Mitchell Shaw, Richmond