Box Hill needs a new master plan

Central Box Hill urgently needs a new master plan if we are going to avoid it becoming a jungle of high rise towers and wind tunnels. Here’s what I said about it in Parliament last week:

Residents of Box Hill and nearby suburbs are becoming increasingly concerned at the headlong proliferation of high-rise towers around central Box Hill without a proper master plan for how a future Box Hill should look and with the government failing to provide the infrastructure or services needed to support the additional population. The government talks a lot about the importance of getting planning right when it comes to central Melbourne, yet it continues to allow its CBD restrictions to push ever-increasing development into Box Hill despite Box Hill’s current planning scheme being hopelessly inadequate to cope.

The government’s planning panel has criticised and dismissed Whitehorse City Council’s proposed changes but has offered no alternatives. The Whitehorse Ratepayers and Residents Association has taken up a petition addressed directly to the Minister for Planning, calling on him to place a moratorium on further high-rise tower approvals to allow time for a thorough and comprehensive development plan for the area to be established and to protect against inappropriate development and ensure the needs of the community will be properly met.

This petition has been signed by more than 3600 residents of Box Hill and surrounding suburbs. The huge number of signatures that dedicated association volunteers have been able to raise in just a few short weeks shows the depth and strength of feeling on this issue within the local community. A similar petition has also been tabled in the Legislative Council. Regrettably the Minister for Planning refused to meet with association representatives to receive the petition and to listen to and respond to their concerns.

Accordingly, the association has asked me to call on the minister to receive this petition and to deliver it to him. The minister needs not only to receive this petition; he needs to listen and he needs to act. He needs to work with Whitehorse council to draw up, consult on and implement a master plan that will set rules and limits for future development, create open spaces, gardens and pedestrian walkways, and provide for accessible and well-designed transport interchanges and adequate car parking.

(For the Hansard of my remarks, see Call for Box Hill master plan .)