I have become alarmed at the tactics used by the new owner of the land on the corner of Melbourne Rd and Birmingham St in Spotswood.

This land is well recognised by the old Way and Works building on the site.

There have been a number of proposals for this land during the past couple of decades, including for affordable housing, but, until now, none have come to fruition.

The new owner has put in plans for a housing development but has not consulted with the council on the site’s master plan.

Certainly, the council planning department has expressed concerns about the overbearing heights of the development.

On top of that, the developer has rushed off to the State Government to get its plan fast-tracked.

That usually results in poor planning outcomes.

We had a similar situation a few years ago, when the developers of the large tract of land on Blackshaws Road in Altona North known as the former Dons Smallgoods site rushed off to the Premiers’ office to fast-track its proposal.

Pressure was placed on Hobsons Bay City Council by the Premier’s office to speed up the planning process at breakneck speed.

The Council stared the Government down and said it wanted to go through the proper planning process.

And it did just that.

I can see no reason why this project should be fast-tracked, particularly it appears to be an overdevelopment of the site.

The current plans appear to lack any cohesive and articulate design outcomes.

The developer does not seem to be even interested in an affordable housing element on the site.

Given all the economic problems with the Covid pandemic, I would have thought the State Government would be interested in seeing affordable housing is included on the Way and Works site.

Good developers usually constructively engage with councils to ensure sensible community outcomes.

That doesn’t appear to be the case with this one.

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