Quest to preserve idyllic suburb

Bob Miles in front of the vacant block that he bought to preserve the panaromic views of Police Paddocks Reserve. The former Rado house is to the top right. 234223_02 Picture: CAM LUCADOU-WELLS

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Greater Dandenong Council will pursue planning protection for a picturesque residential estate around Cardinia Close in Dandenong North.

The council will recommend the precinct next to Police Paddocks Reserve is rezoned against “inappropriate development” such as tall clusters of townhouses.

It will similarly seek to protect precincts in Prospect Hill Crescent and Balikan Court.

It comes after residents fought a two-year battle against 18 proposed townhouses towering up to three storeys on a hilltop site at 11 Cardinia Close.

The 4191-square-metre site was originally home to the late builder and businessman Ron Rado, who founded Gumbuya Park.

The development was knocked back by Greater Dandenong Council.

In December 2020, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal rejected a revised proposal for 16 townhouses due to it not fitting in with the neighbourhood.

Cardinia Close resident Bob Miles said neighbours were “hugging in the street” when VCAT rejected the “ridiculous” plan.

Mr Miles bought the neighbouring vacant block next to his, so to preserve the picturesque outlook of horse agistments, forested hills, bike tracks and the bush-lined Dandenong Creek.

“There’s no way we want this development to go ahead – no way in the world.

“It doesn’t blend in. It’s totally out of character for what we have here – it would destroy it.”

A council report stated the current General Residential zone was not appropriate. The medium-density zone allowed units and townhouses up to three storeys or 11 metres tall.

It recommended a Neighbourhood Residential zone for “traditional” one- and two-storey houses or dual occupancy lots.

The report noted the estate’s “generous setbacks” gave a “consistent and spacious garden setting”.

Also, the estate didn’t have direct access to Stud Road and so didn’t directly benefit from public transport.

The report also found a “traditional garden suburban setting” in the mainly single-storey precincts in Prospect Hill Crescent and Balikan Court.

The planning scheme amendment is expected to take between 12 and 18 months, the report stated.

It requires public exhibition as well as approval from the state’s Planning Minister.