Opposition to Bendigo’s first large-scale medium-density housing development was “misguided” and “misconceived”, a state government planning committee heard on Tuesday.
The Lansell Crest development in East Bendigo, which would see more than 100 new homes fill an empty block close to the city, was opposed by close to 100 residents through submissions to the City of Greater Bendigo in May, many of whom disagreed with the size and close proximity of the proposed lots.
A lawyer representing developer Birchgrove Property told a planning advisory committee – convened to address the submissions – the project addressed a yawning gap in the local housing market.
“It’s not about the size of the lot, it's about the dwelling diversity it provides,” John Cicero said.
The planning scheme amendment proposes to build 104 dwellings from 85 to 350 sqm, ranging from two to five-bedroom houses, some of which will be triple storey.
“It’s about opening up the housing market to as many people as possible across a price range than enables all persons whatever their economic or social status to have the opportunity of buying or indeed renting a home in this location,” Mr Cicero said.
“And I’m sure you’re going to hear a lot of submissions about the size of the lots and the size of the dwellings - those submissions are entirely misconceived and misguided.”
A written submission to the hearing in Bendigo on behalf of the developer stated the social effect of the housing project “cannot be equated, for example, to the social effect of a gaming facility or brothel in a prominent location to people wishing to avoid such temptation”.
A City of Greater Bendigo staff member present at the hearing said: “The city is satisfied that the site is capable of more intensive residential development.”
The three-person independent panel will hear evidence from planning and traffic experts, along with local objectors to the proposal.
The planning committee, which sits for three days this week, will provide a recommendation on the development to City of Greater Bendigo councillors, who can chose to vote against it if they wish.
A concluding decision on the project, which could set a precedent for local medium-density housing developments in the future, will be made by the planning minister.
The 2.6-hectare block at 39-51 Lansell Street – which extends back onto Lloyd Street – was formerly the Bendigo Abattoir and Country Roads Board, but all buildings have been demolished and the land decontaminated.