Hot Planning Issues

Hot Planning Issues are those major local matters that are ‘live’ meaning the community may submit an objection to Council, support residents at a VCAT Hearing or make a submission.

The date indicates the month listed on BVRG web page.

23 April 2022

Planning Application – 32 LABURNUM STREET – WH/2021/978

A proposal to remove 6 large, protected canopy trees from the front setback will be considered at the meeting of Whitehorse City Council on Tuesday evening, 26 April 2022. One tree is a Lemon Scented Gum and the other five are Sugar Gums. All are protected trees under the Whitehorse Planning Scheme SLO2. All trees are shared by the neighbourhood.

The proposed removal of all 6 trees the following unacceptable consequences:

  • Loss of valuable bird and wildlife habitat
  • Failure to conserve indigenous mature trees notable for their species and height
  • Impact on the quality of the environment for neighbours
  • Loss of shade and amenity for walkers
  • Increase in the urban heat island effect
  • Failure to ensure that buildings retain an inconspicuous profile
  • Risk to remaining trees on the property and nearby (a stand of trees has more protection against strong winds)
  • Failure to seriously investigate remediation and retention strategies
  • Irrevocable change to the preferred neighbourhood character – a Bush Environment

We believe that maintenance and retention is a viable option worthy of further investigation.

We encourage you to let the CEO Mr Simon McMillan and your local Councillor know of your objection before Tuesday at the email addresses below. All Councillors will be involved in making the decision.  

Further Information see Council report to meeting 26 April 2022 or details of the Council Meeting Agenda for Tuesday 26th.

2 July 2021

Planning Application WH/2019/1029A  27-29 The Avenue Blackburn.

Members are encouraged to lodge an objection ASAP to the following:

In December 2019 a permit application was lodged with the Whitehorse Council to partly demolish and relocate the existing single story dwelling straddling the two property boundaries. A single story addition was proposed to be added to the rear of the dwelling. The original plans submitted included extensive timber decking and a pool to the rear of the dwelling.

Following many objections lodged with council, a forum was held, and the applicant agreed to delete the decking and pool from the plans. A permit was subsequently issued by the Council, excluding the timber decking and pool.

Recently, as the development reached an advanced stage, a new permit application, with amended plans, was submitted to the Council. The amended plans included the timber decking and pool deleted from the first permit application.

The inclusion of the extensive decking and pool will mean that there is no longer sufficient land for planting of canopy trees and other vegetation required of the Whitehorse Planning Scheme.

In particular the new plans fail to meet the landscape character objectives and decision guidelines of SLO2, the Preferred Character Statement of Clause 22.03 Residential Development and the policy basis and objectives of Clause 22.04 Tree Conservation. The amended plans would also not conform to the requirements of Clauses Clause 21.05 Environment and Clause 21.06 Housing.

Download the Objection Form form from council web site or send a free form letter or email  to outlining grounds for objections. include site address and the WH reference number.

May 2020

Blackburn’s Bushland Character – worth fighting for.

The following 3 planning proposals do not conform to Clauses 21.05 Environment, 21.06 Housing, 22.04 Tree Conservation and the Municipal Strategic Statement where trees are regarded as the most significant determinant of neighbourhood character. In addition, they do not conform to the Preferred Character Statement for a Bush Environment in Clause 22.03 Residential Development.

If you are affected or have concerns you should make an objection. Objection process is detailed at: 

Planning Application – WH/2019/1019 – 31 Fuschia street Blackburn

The proposed development involves adding a carport/pergola, alfresco, veranda, cabana and driveway to the existing buildings which have only recently been erected without a permit application being lodged. The impact of these additions would be to increase the existing site coverage of 32% to a site coverage of 45.3%; this is well more than the 33% included in the SLO2 guidelines. This represents an overdevelopment of the site.

In addition, a number of setbacks do not comply with the SLO2 guidelines. The setback of the carport from the front boundary is only 3.1m; a substantial difference compared with the SLO2 requirement of 11m. The carport/pergola setback from the western boundary and the BBQ canopy from the eastern boundary do not comply with the guidelines of SLO2.

The addition of the new buildings and driveway will also involve a reduction in landscaping opportunities with planting in front of the dwelling being restricted to the south east area and the area behind the dwelling; on the eastern and western boundaries there are limited opportunities for landscaping if a bush environment is to be achieved. The landscape plan involves the planting of only 4 trees capable of achieving a height of 15 m; the SLO2 guidelines require 6 trees for a site of this size. Moreover, most of the other items of vegetation including trees, shrubs, groundcover and climbers include exotics rather than native or indigenous vegetation.

This proposal is totally inconsistent with the landscape character of objectives of SLO2 in that:

  • The dominance of vegetation is not maintained
  • Wildlife habitat is not preserved
  • Because of the additional buildings and driveway not enough space is available for planting of trees in a natural setting
  • This is a proposal not sympathetic to the maintenance of a tree-dominated           landscape
  • The very large and tall dwelling will not retain an inconspicuous profile for abutting – properties
  • This proposed development is not compatible with the character of the area

WH/2019/849 – 8 Wolseley Crescent Blackburn

The proposal is inconsistent with the landscape character of objectives of SLO4 in that:

  • Proposed vehicle access and storage have not been designed to minimise excavation, loss of vegetation and dominance of car storage facilities. The advertised proposal has two driveways and 2 double garages and does not present an inconspicuous frontage to the street.
  • The preferred canopy tree ratio of 1 tree for each 150 sqm of site area trees capable of reaching 15m is not met.
  • The planting schedule does not provide for adequate indigenous plants from the suggested Whitehorse council planting list –

The proposed development does not meet the Bush Environment characteristics or objectives, the front landscape planting is low and porous, and the extra driveway reduces opportunity for planting that would make the building subservient.

Existing Characteristics not met:

  • Garages or carports are non-existent or sited behind dwellings and hidden from the front setback with single crossovers.
  • Gardens are bushy and informal with predominantly native/indigenous species and large canopy trees. The appearance of vegetated garden areas around buildings is an important feature of this precinct

Garden and Landscape objective not met:

  • To maintain and strengthen the garden setting of the dwellings and the tree canopy of the neighbourhood. To maintain and strengthen the bush dominated setting of the dwellings.

Planning Application – WH/2019/1317 –39 Jeffery Street Blackburn

 The proposed development involves adding a new guest/study room at the front and extra space at the rear of the existing dwelling, new garage, new carport, pergola to the rear of the building and covered outdoor area in the location of the demolished garage. The impact of these additions would be to increase the existing site coverage to 39%; this is greatly more than the site coverage of 25% provided for in SLO1. This represents an over development of the site.

The addition of the new buildings together with the decking and covered area at the rear of the dwelling will result in a  reduction in landscaping opportunities with planting being confined to the front of the house which is set back only 6.155m from the front boundary (as opposed to a guideline of 9m for a single storey building in SLO1) and the rear of the extended building which is set back from the rear boundary by only 8.6m. This setback is maintained across the site through the inclusion of decking and a covered area.  The potential for planting on the western boundary is limited due to the carport and garage and covered area (both hard up against the boundary). The potential for planting on the eastern boundary is greatly reduced due to the existing dwelling being sited only 1.2m from this boundary. A major shortcoming of this permit application is the absence of any planting regime being provided as part of a landscape plan. The unencumbered, land based on this proposal, is not adequate to provide for a Bush Environment.

With the removal of 5 trees from the site there will be only one tree on the site with the potential to reach over 15m at maturity and this is tree 2 (at the rear) which is currently 18 m in height. But there is no guarantee that this tree and trees 9 and 24 will survive as their TPZs will be encroached during the works on site. With a site area of 723sqm there should be based on the provisions of SLO1 at least 4 and possibly 5 trees on the site capable of reaching over 15m at maturity.

This proposal is totally inconsistent with the landscape character of objectives of SLO2 in that:

  • The dominance of vegetation is not maintained
  • Because of the additional buildings decking and covered area not enough space is available for planting of trees in a natural setting
  • This is a proposal not sympathetic to the maintenance of a tree-dominated           landscape
  • The buildings will not retain an inconspicuous profile for abutting properties
  •  This proposed development is not compatible with the character of the area
  •  The front setback is not well vegetated

October 2019

Blackburn to Laburnum section of Box Hill to Ringwood Shared User Path (SUP).

If you have a view on this project or its impact on Blackburn or Laburnum

Write to Council to state your views.

Simon McMillan CEO –
Denise Massoud  –
Andrew Munro –

See the Community Alternative  to the VicRoads proposal which is detailed below.

2019 proposal

The Box Hill to Ringwood Shared User Path (SUP) is a principle bicycle network trail for metropolitan Melbourne. VicRoads have revised 2017 plans. The 2019 Plans are essentially the same as those proposed in August 2017. VicRoads has scheduled 2 drop in sessions to explain their plan to local residents. Blackburn and Laburnum residents are encouraged to attend. See details below.

BVRG in its 2017 submission to VicRoads were concerned with the treatment at Main Street with the loss of street trees and the amenity impacts that a new 3 metre concrete path would have on the narrow Laburnum Park. We believe that better options are available that reduce the amenity impacts for residents and traders. Those options include:

  • Activation of Diggers Way (public right of way) for pedestrians and Cyclists and
  • Widening the existing path in Laburnum Park to avoid duplication and  unnecessary loss of play area.

The 2019 proposal has 3 key components:

SUP Main St

Main Street VicRoads Proposal.
  1. Main Street is narrowed for traffic between Laburnum Street and South Parade, a 3m shared path is added on the road side of the footpath narrowing to 2m in front of shops, pushing parking further into the road. 5 street trees are removed.  Traders with alfresco coffee and dining areas will be effected.
  2. Mixing cyclists with road traffic along Laburnum Street from Blackburn to Laburnum Station at revised speed limits of 40km per hour.
  3. Installing a new 3 metre concrete path through the linear Laburnum Park. The existing walking path close to the station remains, with the new path traversing through the narrow open space play area of the park between property boundaries and the children’s play ground.

SUP Laburnum Park

Laburnum Park VicRoads Proposal

VicRoads Community drop-in session – Laburnum section

Monday 21 October

Time: 4-7:30pm

Location: Blackburn North Community Centre, 104 Springfield Road, Blackburn

Wednesday 30 October

Session 1 time: 2-4pm

Session 2 time: 6-8pm

Location: The Avenue Uniting Church, Cnr Blackburn Road & The Avenue, Blackburn

June 2019

124-126 Blackburn Road – Assault on tree coverage in SLO2.

The refusal by Council for a development proposal for 5 large double story 5-bedroom units with 2 level basement carparking on this site with inadequate landscaping and large-scale tree removal has now moved to VCAT.

Residents who feel that this development proposal should not proceed should lodge an objection by way of a statement of grounds to VCAT. You can lodge at VCAT even if you were not a previous objector. If you lodge a statement of grounds and do not wish to speak you can nominate BVRG or someone else as proxy to speak on your behalf or pay a fee of $20.20 and present a submission in person.

Grounds for objection could include:

  • Failure to meet planning scheme objectives
  • Inconsistent with landscape objectives of the Significant Landscape Overlay
  • Does not conform with preferred character objectives
  • Excessive built form which presents a visual bulk for adjoining properties

Statement of grounds forms must be lodged by 24th June 2019. With copies to both the applicant c/- Ratio Consultants 8 Gwynne Street Cremorne, 3121 or and the Council at

See Also:

VCAT Statement of Grounds Form
Flyer with more details

proposed and existing comparison

November 2017.
199 Canterbury Road – Child Care Centre in SLO2, removal of significant trees – The applicant has chosen to go directly to VCAT as Council had not made a decision in 60 days. Residents are encouraged to make a submission to VCAT. Closing date for Statement of Grounds is 22nd November 2017.

More details and information for lodging a submission to VCAT.

August 2017 – VicRoads latest proposal – Box Hill to Ringwood Bike Path – Laburnum section.

There is no safe off road link joining the new shared path at Blackburn to the Box Hill section of the shared path. The use of Main Street footpath, Laburnum Street roadway and a new 3m path through Laburnum Park is proposed.

BVRG is encouraging Blackburn residents to have their say by August 31st 2017.

April 2017 – 199 Canterbury Road Blackburn (SLO2) – Planning Application for a Child Care Centre


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