By Rowan Forster
Councillors have rebuffed a heaving 62 dwelling estate – consisting of three-storey townhouses – which was proposed to adjoin McGregor Road, despite Cardinia Shire planners recommending the mass development go ahead.
The $12 million plan to build a contemporary high density neighbourhood at 39-43 Rogers Street was shut down, in a motion led by Councillor Michael Schilling.
While the main concerns were in relation to the impact on McGregor Road’s unrelenting traffic gridlock, 20 objectors reeled off a range of grievances including a loss of privacy, declining property values and noise.
Cr Schilling said high-density housing will have a role to play in Pakenham’s future, but this specific development was not supported by adequate infrastructure.
“We already have struggling road infrastructure in that particular area, specifically talking about McGregor Road which is already chaotic and difficult to navigate on the best of days,” he said.
“We have all been in the situation of being on McGregor Road with the railway line, sitting there for up to 20 minutes at a time.
“I don’t even think it would be fair for the people moving into these townhouses.
“People expect they’re going to have good connectivity to their local community and a piece of that is access.”
Despite most councillors holding concerns, Cardinia Shire’s planning department wanted the development to be approved.
The application progressed after four residential properties currently occupying the area were purchased by one group of savvy investors over the span of a decade.
When listed for sale in 2017, it was marketed as “primed for a potential unit site”.
Listing agent, Barry Plant Pakenham’s Stuart Sheppard, at the time recommended between 40 and 50 apartments could be built on the precinct.
Despite the suggestion, proprietors Pravin Kapadia, Kokila Kapadia and Chikhli Holdings Pty Ltd have squeezed in an additional 20 townhouses to their design.
Cr Collin Ross had some words of wisdom for the proprietors.
“I think the applicant needs to go away and have a serious look at what they want to do with the site,” he said.
“If I were them I’d suggest they go to council and chat to our planning department about a more appropriate development.”
He was particularly concerned by part of the application that recommended screens be placed on windows to provide residents with privacy.
“Once you need screens to prevent internal views and overlooking, I think the density is getting too great in an area,” he said.
“It doesn’t fall in line with the fabric of the housing envelope in that area.”
In September, neighbours told the Gazette of their concerns about the proposed “concrete jungle”.
“Everyone keeps saying that the infrastructure isn’t keeping up with the population growth and this is another perfect example of that,” Dylan Wright said at the time.