STONNINGTON Council this month made a decision to request the Planning Minister to appoint an independent Planning Panel to consider submissions received in relation to the expansion of Chadstone Shopping Centre.
Chadstone Shopping Centre is seeking an amendment to the Stonnington Planning Scheme (Amendment C145) to support a $500 million expansion and redevelopment of the shopping centre, in Melbourne's south-east.
The development would include 27,000 square metres of additional floorspace for retail, food and entertainment facilities, reconfiguration of the cinema complex and two multi-storey buildings for offices and a residential hotel on Princes Highway.
The proposal also seeks to remove the curfew that closes the Chadstone Road entrance between 12.00 midnight and 6.00am and to consolidate the three existing bus stations into a single, centrally located bus interchange. It would provide additional parking and make changes to the Centre's access points.
Following consultation, Stonnington Council identified a number of important conditions to be recommended to the Panel to address community concerns in relation to urban design, amenity, traffic and planning controls.
According to the Council, consultation and feedback on Chadstone's proposal included 128 submissions, two information forums with 81 people attending, a public meeting with 90 people attending, four focus groups including 26 participants, a mail-out to 2540 local residents, website information , advertising and documents on exhibition.
Information was also sought from government departments including VicRoads and Department of Transport, as well as a range of technical consultants.
Stonnington Mayor, Cr John Chandler said some of the key issues raised by the community concerned traffic, parking management, public transport, urban design aspects such as height and bulk and wayfinding and access.
"We have listened to the community and Council will be proposing a number of changes to the Amendment to the Independent Panel," Cr Chandler said.
The Mayor said Council does not support the removal of the curfew at the Chadstone Road entrance and will request modifications to the building envelopes at the Northern aspect of the site, and Princes Highway frontage to reduce impacts of height and bulk.
It has also proposed conditions to manage noise and amenity while stating that traffic, car parking management and public transport issues are to be investigated further.
"As part of the next stage of this process, referral to an Independent Panel for consideration will enable exploration and testing of key elements of the proposal, and allow all interested parties to participate and express their views, given the substantial interest in this proposal and its complexity," he said.
Panel dates are proposed for a Directions Hearing on Monday 23 April 2012 with the Panel Hearing starting in the week of Monday 14 May 2012. All parties that made submissions will be invited to represent their views to the panel.
Stonnington Council said the Panel must report on its findings within two months of the Hearing. Council then has to consider the Panel Report and place it on display at which stage it can then either adopt the Amendment (with or without changes) and refer it to the Minister, or it can abandon the Amendment.