The mayor of an Australian territorial authority is encouraging people to contact a state minister over Ryman Healthcare's proposals for a new retirement village in Victoria.
Sam Hearn, mayor of the Mornington Peninsula Shire and a Briars Ward councillor, told the Herald yesterday the scheme from the Christchurch-headquartered listed business was rejected on Monday night, partly due to worries expressed by people living in the area.
Ryman will appeal but Hearn wants people to contact Victorian minister Richard Wynne over the rejected scheme.
"The council's unanimous rejection of this application reflects the significant community concern about the appropriateness of the development," Hearn told the Herald.
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"Ultimately, in rejecting this, council's aim is to protect the unique rural and green break between Mt Eliza and the township of Mornington. We are also encouraging the community to write to the Minister for Planning to voice their objection to this application," Hearn said.
"While I am disappointed that Ryman is challenging the decision, especially considering the level of community opposition and the significant flaws within their proposal, I'm not surprised that they are doing so," Hearn said.
In February, the shire asked Wynne to amend the planning scheme and rezone the Kunyung Rd site green wedge, which would stop developments of the type planned by Ryman.
A Ryman spokesman said yesterday the company would take matters further.
"We intend to take an appeal to the Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal, the appeal authority for council planning decisions. We were not surprised by the decision as councillors and staff have foreshadowed its opposition to the proposal and we look forward to taking our application to the tribunal to consider," the Ryman spokesman said.
"We know we have strong support from retirees on the Mornington Peninsula and want to live on what would be a fantastic site in a peaceful location overlooking Port Phillip Bay," he said.
Ryman's site is 8.9ha and includes the heritage Moondah Mansion and Gatehouse, both recognised for heritage significance.
It will keep those but wants to build 10 new buildings with 217 places.
The two-storey Italian renaissance revival mansion in the middle of the site and the castellated gatehouse in the south-east corner were built in 1888 as a stately private residence.
A coach house, east of the mansion, was built around 1889-90.
Concerns raised in objections to Ryman's plans were over development of the site, inappropriate land use, loss of vegetation, increased traffic on the surrounding road network, impact on fauna, adverse emissions, bushfire risk, coastal degradation and construction impacts.
A business, Landmark Heritage, reviewed the scheme for the shire, examining heritage and strategy.
Landmark said the scheme represented a significant over-development of the site and that the heritage place and its significant elements would be overwhelmed by the scale of additions and new building works, as well as the loss of the context and setting, "which cannot appropriately be replaced by faux heritage pleasure gardens, bowling greens and other elements".
The shire's urban design officer said removal of the sugar gums to the front of the site would significantly disrupt the vegetated presentation of the site to the streetscape.
"These trees are to be replaced with built form of a significant scale, which is also incompatible with the existing and established streetscape pattern along Kunyung Rd," the officer told the shire.
The access points configuration to each of the buildings could be refined so that the green spine down the centre of the site could be truly achieved.
"At present, it is dissected by driveways and footpaths, which all impact upon the ability to establish significant canopy cover and create a meaningful and landscaped break between the two rows of buildings down the site. The driveway access points to each of the buildings should come from the circular road/driveway that runs around the perimeter of the site," the shire was told.
The overall height of the buildings proposed was inappropriate for the site and surrounding residential/semi-rural context.
The scale of the built form on the site would dwarf the large existing manor to be retained on the site. The proposed built form would not allow any breathing space or opportunity for the heritage building to be retained as the major focus of the site.
The report to the shire concluded that Ryman's scheme represented a substantial change to the site.
"The scale, siting and materiality of the proposed development will result in an inappropriate design outcome that removes much of the subject site's established vegetation and overwhelms the significance of the heritage place. It is therefore recommended that the planning services committee refuses planning application P19/2453," the report said.
From 1947 the property was a holiday resort under the name 'Hotel Manyung' until 1957 when it became a business school.
Ryman wants to demolish all buildings except the mansion and gatehouse.
Ten new buildings are proposed along with substantial additions to the mansion. Nine of the new buildings will be for the village and one single storey place of worship is planned in the north-east corner.
• a link to the agenda items and the live feed: https://www.mornpen.vic.gov.au/About-Us/About-Our-Council/Council-Meetings/CouncilCommittee-Meeting-Agendas-and-Minutes