All aboard the train replacement accessible taxi

With works all over the rail network, train replacement buses have been a familiar sight around Melbourne. But in recent times something new has appeared alongside them – train replacement accessible taxis.

Passengers board Dysons bus #748 3183AO at Sunshine station

Thankfully inaccessible high floor buses are becoming a thing of the past – on paper the bulk of buses are now accessible to passengers using wheelchairs or mobility aids.

Some buses can be lowered by the driver so they are closer to the kerb. If needed, the bus driver will also use a ramp to help passengers board the bus. Low-floor buses have allocated spaces for passengers using wheelchairs or mobility aids. This area is marked on the floor with a wheelchair symbol.

But for some reason during major works, passengers requiring accessible transport are directed to taxis instead of buses.

Directions to Frankston, Cranbourne and Pakenham line buses on the footpath outside Flinders Street Station

Sent to a separate pickup area.

'Train replacement accessible taxi' sign at Sunshine station

Where wheelchair accessible taxis are waiting for intending passengers.

Pair of wheelchair accessible taxis waiting with a Ventura service van and standby bus off St Kilda Road

Each with a ‘DDA approved train replacement bus’ signs in their front window.

'DDA approved train replacement bus' sign in the front of a 13CABS maxi taxi

So why provide a separate mode of transport for passengers using wheelchairs or mobility aids?

I suspect clueless passengers is one reason – as soon as the driver had to deployed the ramp, some dumbarse will try and walk over it.

There are 17 other doors on this train, and this idiot passenger figured fighting past the wheelchair passenger trying to exit was the best way to board

Multiply by that by the number of buses needed to replace a rail service, it’s easier to keep the fleet of buses moving with the ‘self loading freight’ crammed aboard, and use taxis running point to point, unconstrained by zombie passengers getting in the way of manoeuvring wheelchairs and mobility aids.

Footnote

Accessible taxis are also used to transport passengers while lifts are being repaired or upgraded at City Loop stations.

Lift upgrade works underway at Flagstaff station

Transporting passengers to the nearest station that is still accessible.

Notice of lift upgrade works at Flagstaff and Parliament stations

They have also been used to transport passengers from stations where there are lifts but not ramps.

Notice on the platform informing passengers of lift upgrade works at Watergardens station

Victorian level crossings to nowhere

Across Melbourne the Level Crossing Removal Program is removing conflict points between road and rail vehicles, but elsewhere in Victoria there is something a little stranger -level crossings that lead nowhere.


Google Street View

In the paddocks of Bacchus Marsh

Back in 2006 a level crossing on the recently upgraded Ballarat line outside Bacchus Marsh got a mention in the Herald Sun.

Crossing a signal failure
Liam Houlihan

Herald Sun
Wednesday, July 26 2006

A set of rail warning signals installed on a road to nowhere has embarrassed the Government’s launch of a $500,000 safety campaign.

Transport Minister Peter Batchelor has been accused of stupidity for equipping the derelict, dead-end crossing at Bacchus Marsh with expensive safety lights and bells.

More than 1400 road-rail intersections in Victoria have no flashing lights or boom gates.

Most of the state’s 2274 level crossings have no more than a stop sign.

At Bacchus Marsh, a dirt track crosses the rail but instantly ends at a locked gate.

“Victorians have died at level crossings and if nothing is done will continue to die,” Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said.

“Yet this newly upgraded crossing is only metres from the road’s dead end at a rarely used back entrance to the Bacchus Marsh rifle range.”

Mr Mulder said the warning equipment should have gone to Lismore or Trawalla, where there had been deaths.

Grass grows through the rusty gates at the contentious entrance and the road inside the property is little more than a goat track, he said.

Twenty-one people have died in level crossing accidents in Victoria since 2000.

The Government has ruled out road tunnels or bridges at all level crossings as too costly at an estimated $60 billion.

Mr Batchelor said that $208.7 million had been set aside to upgrade for safer railway crossings, upgrading close to 300 over the next decade.

The crossing was upgraded as part of the Regional Fast Rail project, that increased the speed of trains on the line to 160 km/h.

VLocity VL11 back on the move at Bungaree Loop East with an up Ballarat service

As a result each level crossing was equipped with lights, even if it only served one house.

Occupation crossing AO 86.457 west of Ballan

Or an empty paddock on the side of the Werribee River valley.


Google Street View

The level crossing still being in service today.

Road closed in Cranbourne

The Evans Road level crossing is on the Cranbourne line near Merinda Park station.

Level crossing to nowhere - Evans Road, Lynbrook

But is closed to road traffic.

Level crossing to nowhere - Evans Road, Lynbrook

The level crossing at Evans Road long predated suburban development of the surrounding area, but development is what led to it closing – the City of Casey temporarily closed the unsealed section of the road in 2005 due to safety concerns, and it has remained closed since, despite the road having been sealed in the meantime.

Siemens train passes through the closed Evans Road level crossing in Lynbrook

But it won’t be reopening to road vehicles any time soon – the Level Crossing Removal Authority is going to replace it with a road over rail bridge as part of the Cranbourne Line Upgrade project.


Level Crossing Removal Authority artist impression

Cut short in Pakenham

The railway east to Traralgon was also upgraded as part of the Regional Fast Rail project of the mid-2000s.

VLocity VL58 on the up at Lardners Track

And in December 2007 the Pakenham Bypass was opened, completing the freeway east from Melbourne to Gippsland, and severing a number of local roads in the process. One of them was Ryans Road, which crossed the railway to the east of Pakenham.

7 News reported on the level crossing to nowhere in October 2008.

With the Member for Hastings, Neale Burgess suggesting that the redundant level crossing equipment be relocated to an unprotected level crossing in his electorate.

I wish to raise a matter for the Minister for Public Transport. The action I seek is for the minister to facilitate the immediate removal of the boom gates at the unused Ryan Road, Pakenham, level crossing and ensure their prompt installation at the Bungower Road level crossing in Somerville.

As reported on Channel 7’s news on 28 October 2008, the barriers at Ryan Road in Pakenham have been obsolete since the road was closed on the completion of the Pakenham bypass. The news story stated that while people have been dying on inadequately protected railway crossings around Victoria, fully functioning boom gates have been going to waste on a road to nowhere. V/Line has been responsible for the crossing for more than a year, since resuming control of it from private operator Pacific National.

Following the embarrassment of the story, V/Line announced the same day that the Ryan Road boom gates would be dismantled and removed. The next day I sent an urgent fax, followed by a copy by email, to the Minister for Public Transport, asking her to immediately arrange to have the unused boom barriers relocated to the Bungower Road level crossing in Somerville. Unfortunately the minister has not responded.

After a long and sustained campaign by the community, the Minister for Public Transport relented on her previously reported position that the Bungower Road crossing was safe and committed to upgrading protection at that deadly Bungower Road level crossing to boom barriers. However, the minister intends to make the community wait three years for that upgrade. The Bungower Road level crossing in Somerville has already claimed two lives, most recently a local family man, Jeff Young, just over 12 months ago.

I ask the minister, in the interest of public safety, to assist in having the unused boom gates at Ryan Road immediately transferred to and installed at Bungower Road. The availability of the defunct boom barriers to assist in the prevention of any further loss of life at this notorious intersection is a blessing for my community. It would also consolidate the state government’s commitment to upgrading dangerous level crossings.

Any opportunity to expedite the installation of boom gates at life-threatening level crossings should be taken. The Minister for Public Transport is in a position to make a simple decision that has the potential to save the lives of motorists using the Bungower Road level crossing. On behalf of the community and motorists, I ask the minister to act now to protect the lives of people using the Bungower Road level crossing.

Five months later he received a response.

V/Line is prepared to decommission and remove the equipment at Ryan Road after the Shire of Cardinia has finalised its local planning deliberations on the future of Ryan Road.

The level crossing at Ryan Road has since been decommissioned.


Google Street View

But the Bungower Road level crossing had to wait much longer to be upgraded to flashing lights and boom barriers – sometime between 2010 and 2013.


Google Street View

And a level crossing that never existed

On the Cranbourne line at Aylmer Road in Lynbrook there is a level crossing that never existed – an east-west road proposed in the 1990s that was never completed, and never will be due to a policy of no new level crossings.

Dead end of Aylmer Road at the railway crossing, looking west

Footnote: reusing level crossing equipment

Turns out reusing level crossing equipment at a new location doesn’t actually save much money – the most costly part is usually extending mains power to the site, followed by installing train detection equipment that reliably triggers the warning devices – the flashing lights and boom barriers are the cheapest bit!

Photos from ten years ago: July 2010

Another instalment in my photos from ten years ago series – this time it is July 2010.

VL38 heads back to the station, VL34 left behind in the stabling cage for tomorrow morning's service

Down on Spencer Street

For Melbourne Open House 2010 CitiPower opened ‘JA’ zone substation – a key part of the power supply to the Melbourne CBD.

11 kV switchgear for the outgoing cables

For historical reasons the substation was divided into two – the State Electricity Commission of Victoria who generated electricity controlled the 66kV input.

Looking down the 66 kV switchgear

While the Melbourne City Council Electrical Supply Department (MCCESD) controlled the 11kV output to consumers.

Control room, one of two in the substation: when it was opened the SECV controlled the input, and the Melbourne City Council controlled the output

The operations of the substation were merged following the breakup of the SECV – generation, transmission, distribution and retail being the current segments of the electricity industry.

Outside the substation was a big hole – the site of the former Spencer Street Power Station.

Hole where the power station used to be

Ready for the ‘Upper West Side’ development, which had already erected an elevated display suite.

Sales office for the new apartment complex

The heritage listed cast iron water tank being the only remnant of the old power station.

Heritage listed cast iron water tank

The $550 million development was completed in 2016, containing 2,207 apartments across four towers.

Trains around Melbourne

Metro Trains Melbourne was busy promising more staff on the network, with ‘despatch paddles’ rolled out at City Loop stations during morning and afternoon peak to indicate that the doors were clear.

Platform attendant at Flagstaff indicating to the driver the doors are clear with an illuminated paddle

But the experiment was short lived – abandoned by 2012.

On 27 July a faulty overhead wire cut power between Southern Cross and Flinders Street stations, severely limiting the amount of trains that could move through that section, and causing crowds across the network.

Passengers wander around confused at Footscray, no trains running after the overhead failed at Southern Cross a few hours earlier

As ‘compensation’ passengers were given a free travel day on Friday 30 July.

Afternoon peak over at Flagstaff, the Metcard barriers open for the free travel day

Since then, only the 2016 V/Line VLocity train issues have result in free travel as compensation to passengers.

A happier note was early works for Regional Rail Link, with construction of Southern Cross Station platforms 15 and 16 moving along slowly.

At this end work on platforms 15/16 still seems to be slow moving

2020 marks five years since V/Line trains from Geelong started using the completed corridor.

And out at the Yarra Valley Railway was an even happier day, with local MP Ben Hardman and Minister for Tourism and Major Events Tim Holding attending the launch of regular heritage train services on the line.

Getting ready for the ribbon cutting

Since then the railway has gone from strength to strength, with government grants allowing the line to be progressively restored from Healesville to Yarra Glen.

V/Line services extended to Maryborough

July 2010 also saw the ribbon being cut on the extension of V/Line rail services from Ballarat to Maryborough. The project was announced in December 2008 as part of the Victorian Transport Plan, at a cost of $50 million.

Quite a crowd in attendance at Maryborough

Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula, Premier John Brumby, and Member for Ballarat East Geoff Howard rode the first train.

Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula, Premier John Brumby, and Member for Ballarat East Geoff Howard at the opening of Creswick station

Creswick was the only station to be reopened in this first stage, with a new platform constructed opposite the heritage listed buildings.

The original station at Creswick looking a bit worse for wear

Clunes following in December 2011.

Rolling through the abandoned station at Clunes, the new works siding yet to be commissioned

And Talbot in December 2013.

Passing the privately leased station at Talbot, a new fence erected along the platform edge

As part of the project flashing lights and boom barriers were installed at level crossings.

Temporary message board in place to warn drivers on Carisbrook - Talbot Road

And level crossings on minor roads were closed.

Closed level crossing at Halls Road, south of Talbot

The increasing size of trucks presenting difficulties at other level crossings.

'Keep track clear' and 'No right turn' signs all addressed to trucks

But one unwanted ‘upgrade’ was the removal of passing loops at Sulky, Tourello and Talbot – leaving a 60 kilometre long section of single track between Ballarat and Maryborough, and crippling the ability to run freight services along the corridor.

Removed points at the up end, part of the loop slewed across for new level crossing signage

The recent Murray Basin Rail Project attempted to rectify this at a cost of $440 million, but has left the corridor in even worse condition.

Rail freight

On the standard gauge mainline between Melbourne and Adelaide, a new passing loop was being built outside Lara.

Up train passing work on the new Elders Loop on the standard gauge at Lara

Giving a slight reduction in travel times and increase in efficiency for freight trains on the corridor.

However plenty of freight trains were still being hauled by 60 year old antique locomotives.

B74 leads T357, T320, S303 and T341 out of Geelong at Corio

Such as those moving grain from the wheat belt.

Still waiting at Dunolly, the crossing loop is out of use and the junction is manually operated, after a derailed PN grain took it all out a few weeks back

To the Port of Geelong

Still creeping around the grain loop

The intent of the Murray Basin Rail Project was to convert Victoria’s orphan broad gauge network to standard gauge, allowing the use of locomotives from anywhere in Australia, but with the project stalled, today broad gauge freight services still rely on similarly aged rolling stock.

Finally, I headed out to Waurn Ponds, where loaded cement hoppers were sitting in the sidings ready for despatch.

Loaded wagons in the down end sidings

Alongside B-double cement trucks.

One of the Lyndhurst cement 'trains' at Waurn Ponds

In the end the trucks almost won, with the final cement train ran from Waurn Ponds in December 2015 – but in a surprising move, Qube Logistics returned cement traffic to Victorian tracks in September 2019.

And road freight

‘High Productivity Freight Vehicles’ became widespread at the Port of Melbourne in 2010.

Another 'High Productivity Freight Vehicle'

These ‘super’ B-double trucks took the place of port rail shuttles, a project forever proposed but yet to be implemented.

These new bigger trucks serve container parks in the western suburbs of Melbourne, with projects such as the $48.5 million Kororoit Creek Road duplication project in Altona North making road transport more convenient.

Crane on the northern side of the line, work continuing on the bridge

Work on the project was completed in December 2011, including the removal of a level crossing on the Werribee line.

Another gift to road freight was the $200 million Anthony’s Cutting upgrade on the Western Freeway between Melton and Bacchus Marsh.

Digging the cutting at Hopetoun Park Road

Requiring a massive cutting west of Bacchus Marsh, and new bridges across Djerriwarrh Creek.

Cuttings for the new Western Freeway alignment at Bacchus Marsh

The upgraded freeway opened in June 2011, making it even easier for trucks to replace trains on the Melbourne-Adelaide corridor.

One step forwards, two steps back?

Footnote

Here you can find the rest of my ‘photos from ten years ago‘ series.

On the road to nowhere in Rockbank

Years ago I was wandering through paddocks of Rockbank photographing trains, when I came across an odd sight – a ‘Road Closed’ sign hidden in the grass near the intersection of Hopkins Road and Greigs Road. So how did the road come to be?

Road closed at the railway line on the former alignment of Greigs Road

Going back to the gold rush

A check of land titles in the area suggested that the roads once connected.

And when I turned to the Melway, I got another clue – ‘Historic Display – Cobbled Roadway’.

I looked it up on the Victorian Heritage Database – H7822-2334:

The site consists of a representative sample of the most intact section of a former alignment of Greigs Road. This section of road is 120m long and 4m wide, although the cartilage of the listing is 20.5m wide to match the width of the delisted section. The track includes a slightly raised embankment, approximately 0.2m above the surrounding floodplain, cobbled road surface and road edging.

And learnt that Greigs Road dated back to the gold rush.

Prior to the 1850s inland travel was generally along cart tracks but, following the gold rushes, the road to Mount Macedon and Ballarat was a busy thoroughfare of diggers passing on their way to the goldfields and was one of Victoria’s most important inland roads.

Swamp land around Rockbank made the route along Greigs Road the most practical early route to the Ballarat and later Blackwood (Ballan) diggings.

The route followed the Greigs Road alignment (at that time known as Exford Road) and across Strathtulloh property to Toolern Creek, then south to the Werribee River crossing at Exford. From here it went along Exford Road to rejoin the main road at Ballan.

This section of road was once part of the Greigs Road alignment but, following realignment of Greigs Road, is now part of the Meskos Road reserve.

With a 2013 report on Rockbank’s cultural heritage detailing the early years of European settlement.

William J T Clarke obtained a Special Survey of 140 square miles with a right to depasture stock on an equivalent area of Crown Land in 1852.

The initial survey’s were conducted by Wedge and Darke in about 1838, defining the country into a regular grid of 640 acre blocks (one mile by 1 mile), except where provision had to be made for natural features and existing travelling routes. Natural features are rare in this district, Kororoit Creek providing the only relief, and the previous route identified on the early plans as a track ‘from Upper Werriby (sic) and Pentland Hills to Melbourne’ ran roughly parallel to the existing highway, but about a kilometre to the north.

When the Crown Survey was undertaken, two roads were reserved to Ballarat, branching at Hopkins Rd. One became the present highway through Melton while the other went south along Greigs Road through Exford and on to the Bacchus Marsh. This Greigs Road route appears to have been the main route in the 1860s, and its exceptional width of about 60 m or three chains, was intended to accommodate droving livestock.

A major change to Rockbank occurred in the 1880s when the North Western Railway was constructed linking Sunshine to Ballarat through Melton and Bacchus Marsh. This meant the creation of a railway reserve, through the existing Crown Allotments and eventually forcing the realignment of the eastern end of Greigs Road to avoid an extra level crossing.

But when was Greigs Road realigned?

I thought the removal of a level crossing would be easy to find among railway records, but this time around I came up blank.

Citybound VLocity VL52 passes track duplication works at Hopkins Road, Rockbank

My copy of “Weekly Notice Extracts 1894-1994” by Alan Jungwirth and Keith Lambert came up blank, as did a check of Andrew Waugh’s history of signalling on the Ballarat line.

Was the realignment linked to the construction of the nearby interchange between the Western Freeway and Hopkins Road in 2001?

The intersection of Hopkins Road (Melton-Werribee Road) with the Western Freeway at Rockbank was improved using Black Spot Program funds in 1989 and 1991, but a long term solution to the congestion and crashes at this location is an elevated interchange. The $13.1 million interchange is proceeding. A sum of $3.30 million will be spent in 2001-02.

The interchange is expected to improve dramatically the safety for drivers travelling between the highway and Hopkins Road – the main route from Melton to Werribee.

The project incorporates a highway overbridge and a series of on and off ramps to cater for interruption-free traffic movements through the intersection. Under the proposal, Hopkins Road traffic will be carried on an overpass above the Western Freeway, linking to Neales Road West. A roundabout will be built where this elevated roadway intersects Government Road and on-off ramps installed to the freeway. Existing accesses to the Western Freeway from Deanside Drive, Sinclairs Road and Hopkins Road will be closed.

Seems that it didn’t – a check of the 1999 Melway shows Greigs Road already avoids the level crossing.

And going back further in time in the Melway doesn’t give me an answer – Map 357 didn’t appear until 1993, and the road was still in the current alignment.

Switching to the less detailed Map 255, the 1987 Melway shows Greigs Road as a sealed road avoiding the railway.

When the year before it was a unsealed road crossing the railway line.

Which matches this 1962 aerial photo.

Which suggests that Greigs Road was moved onto the new alignment in 1986, as part of the reconstruction of a dirt track as a sealed road .

And to the future

Right now Greigs Road passes empty grassland.

Sydenham-Moorabool 500kV  high voltage transmission lines cross Hopkins Road next door to the Boral quarry and Stockland's 'Mt Atkinson' housing estate

But will soon be part of the massive ‘Mt Atkinson’ estate being developed by Stockland.

Land sales office at the Stockland 'Mt Atkinson' housing estate

The excavators have moved in.

Roads starting to take shape at Stockland's 'Mt Atkinson' housing estate

With more than 4000 houses to occupy the estate once completed in about 20 years time.

First houses completed at Stockland's 'Mt Atkinson' housing estate

Complete with a new town centre that will relocate Greigs Road for a second time.

Melton and Melbourne – you’ll be connected by suburban sprawl soon enough!

Cowies Hill and a deviation on Tarneit Road

The western suburbs of Melbourne lie on flat and otherwise featureless volcanic plains, covered by a grid of main roads. But out at Tarneit there is something to break the monotony – Cowies Hill, and a curious road deviation.

Water tower atop Cowies Hill in Tarneit

Cowies Hill is located between Sayers Road and Leakes Road, with Tarneit Road skirting the edge – but this isn’t an original feature.

Early years

Once upon a time the only feature atop Cowies Hill was a pair of Melbourne Water storage tanks.


Google Earth, March 2004

Surrounded empty paddocks.


Google Street View, December 2009

With Tarneit Road climbing straight up and over the hill.


Melway map 202 (1999)

Development commences

In 2000, Wyndham City Council received an application for the development of the land bordered by Sayers Road, Derrimut Road, Leakes Road and Davis Road, with the Cowies Hill Outline Development Plan prepared to guide the development and subdivision of this area.

Developer Peet purchased 65 hectares of land on Cowies Hill for $7.23 million in 2002, with the $83.4 million residential development ‘Tarneit Rise’ featuring 627 residential lots, a child-care centre site and a school site commenced in 2006, with views across the plains featuring strongly in promotional material from the developer.

Get in on the ground floor…

Can you see it? A safe place to bring up kids amongst new friends with every amenity. For those with a little imagination and a desire for a better life, The Rise, Tarneit could be the opportunity of a lifetime.

Rise above it all

Aspiring families now have the chance to own some of the best land in the fast-growing City of Wyndham. The Rise, Tarneit has the most elevated land in Wyndham with sweeping views of the surrounding hinterland. From the apex of The Rise, you can see the CBD skyline, Mount Macedon and the You Yangs.

Houses soon starting to creep north towards the hill.


Google Earth, February 2006

By 2009 the hill was surrounded.


Google Earth, December 2009

Tarneit Road still running due north.


Google Street View, February 2010

But a road deviation had appeared in the Melway.


Melway map 202 (unknown date)

Matching concept plans created by Peet for the ‘Tarneit Gardens‘ estate.

By 2012 the realignment of Tarneit Road around Cowies Hill was complete.


Google Earth, September 2012

Kulana Lane, Tableland Road and Thwaites Road taking over the old alignment.


Google Street View, April 2014

But the water tower was still visible.


Google Street View, February 2014

Until the last houses were built along the former Tarneit Road alignment in 2019.


Google Street View, August 2019

So when was the deviation completed?

I figured that finding the date for the realignment of a main road would be easy to find in the Government Gazette, but I came up blank.

The reason being the land was never rezoned – the old Tarneit Road alignment is still designated as ‘Road Zone Category 2’.

But I eventually found my answer.

Victoria Government Gazette
28 July 2011

Geographic Place Names Act 1998
Notice of Registration of Geographic Names

The Registrar of Geographic Names hereby gives notice of the registration of the undermentioned place names

CR32618
Thwaites Road
Tarneit
Wyndham City Council

Formerly known as part of Tarneit Road (between Leakes Road and Sayers Road).

Footnote on the water tanks

The water tanks atop Cowies Hill are connected to the Melbourne Water network by a 17-kilometre long pipeline from St Albans, with $30 million spent in 2015 to upgrade the main to supply up to 200 million litres of water a day. Cowies Hill is also where the Geelong and Melbourne water networks meet, following the completion of a 59 kilometre long pipeline to Lovely Banks in 2012.

And Tarneit Gardens Shopping Centre

In December 2011 Matthew Guy, Minister for Planning used Section 20(4) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to rezone six hectares of land on Tarneit Road at Cowies Hill from Residential 1 to Business 1 following a request for intervention by Peet Tarneit Gardens Syndicate Limited, developer of the site.

His reasoning at the time included:

Benefits of exemption

The main benefit of the exemption is that it will enable a prompt decision to be made on the adoption and approval of the amendment. The amendment will contribute to the fair and orderly development of land in accordance with section 4 of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 by providing residents in Tarneit and Tarneit West with proximate access to local retail, commercial/office and community facilities. This will not only provide neighbouring residents with conveniently located retail and community services but the provision of office floor space will also provide for local business and employment opportunities.

Effects of Exemption on Third Parties

The effects of the exemption will be that third parties will not have the opportunity to make a formal submission to the planning authority and to have this considered by an independent panel.
Wyndham City Council has provided written support for the rezoning.

I have considered the potential effects of the Amendment on the Council. Consultation with Council officers occurred during the preparation of the Development Plan which has since been approved by Council. The Council will also retain responsibility for considering and approving any planning permits associated with the further development of the site.
Given the proposal’s high level of compatibility with State and Local planning policy, and the existing development plan approval it is likely that, even were submissions to be considered, the amendment would be approved generally in accordance with this approved amendment.

An Addendum to the Development Plan outlining the layout of a town centre at Tarneit Gardens has been approved by Council. A Masterplan for the site indicating the future location for the Neighbourhood Activity Centre was provided to adjoining land owners with their Contract of Sale.

Assessment as to whether benefits of exemptions outweigh effects on third parties

I have determined that any potential impact would not outweigh the benefits of expediting this amendment. The amendment will facilitate development in an area lacking access to retail services with the nearest retail provision currently over three kilometres from the site. Accordingly I consider that the benefits of exempting myself from sections 17, 18 and 19 of the Act outweigh any effects of the exemption on third parties.

The end result was Amendment C153, permitting a maximum combined leasable shop floor area of 8,000 m2 and office floor area of 4,000 m2 – one of many planning interventions Matthew Guy made for favoured property developers across Melbourne.

And the ‘Verdant Hill’ estate

Around the corner is the ‘Verdant Hill’ estate, which features neither trees or hills.