Further to the article in last week’s Sentinel Times (‘Grantville hampered by shire’s ‘inconsistent’ advice’, 7/01/14 p7) I would like to reiterate the need for more consistency, more informative preliminary meetings and a faster turn-around in applications.
Developers, town planners, architects and consultants should be able to get clear, un-contradictory advice from planning officers.
Developers should have greater clarity before they submit their final plans and not find out after they have spent large sums of money, that plans do not comply.
No one should get five different responses, to the same question, from five different planning officers.
Apparently the diversity of response is due to how each planner interprets the strategic planning policy as well as how much officious power an individual officer chooses to exert.
And as for ‘neighbourhood character response’ I think the planners should get out of their virtual reality and look around them.
The neighbourhood character of Grantville is pretty insignificant in my opinion.
We should be building with vision to create a unique neighbourhood character and not continue to maintain the existing lack of one.
In the article, the acting planning and environment director, Jodie Kennedy, mentions that our application for a medical facility and two units, was incomplete.
It was extremely fortunate that we did not submit a ‘detailed landscape plan’, ‘detailed signage’, ‘a neighbourhood and site description and design response’ and a detailed description of use including the number of people providing health services etc, etc.
Had we included all of the above requirements we would now be at least $20,000 out of pocket not $8,500.
Developers should not have to automatically cost in a trip to VCAT because they know they will get a faster turn-around.
I hope more people have the courage to speak up about their dealings with the shire’s Planning Department so that we can see some real change and turn-around of the current culture.
Alternatively, council could employ private contractors and outsource the work to make it a more efficient process.
Helen Zervopoulos, Grantville