15 March, 2012

Camberwell Market Car Park Under Threat - Again

Boroondara Council's Strategic Planning Department has produced a draft Open Space Strategy document which is looking at the open space and parks in the Municipality but hidden in the draft are these words:
Car Park at Camberwell Market
"Additional local open space is required in the west of this gap area,preferably at the Camberwell Market site by conversion of part of all of (?) the car park to open space"
The Camberwell Market car park has been under pressure many times from developers to move it underground and develop above. Back in the seventies National Mutual proposed building a shopping mall to rival Chadstone (as it was then) but the residents mounted a massive backlash, threw the councillors out and voted in councillors more sympathetic to the residents' concerns. The new council reneged on the deal to support the developer (Podgornick) and settled the matter in court by having to purchase all the land previously owned by National Mutual.
The only way to convert the car [park to open space would be to put it underground which opens up a real possibility of commercial development above and a small section made into a public plaza
We say that open space is scarce in the area because development has been allowed to take place without providing a public plaza or any additional open space. Take the Tower at the Junction for instance, boundary to boundary and no plaza or public space provided. The same at the very congested "Well" development. Our attempt to convert the Camberwell Station precinct to provide a landscaped public plaza was defeated at VCAT. Instead we could get a ten story commercial development with a new entrance to the station referred to by the developer as a plaza. Its nothing other than a station entry.
Our view is that the right mechanism for supplying new open space is by demanding maximum and appropriate open space around new developments or demanding an appropriate levy to enable council to purchase additional open space but this rarely happens.
So now we have another attempt to turn our car park into who knows what. We are suspicious that the wording in the draft Open Space Strategy document is just another attempt to develop on the market car park.
We have asked council to explain what is really meant by this new proposal but so far there has been no response to our request. We will keep our members informed.