Townhouse doubts unquelled

A light pole centimetres from Keysborough Townhouses' Lot 1 is set to be relocated. 249653_07 Picture: CAM LUCADOU-WELLS

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Proposed safety upgrades for the Keysborough Townhouses estate have been described as “unconvincing” by an opposing member of the public.

The council negotiated the improvements after safety concerns were raised about the siting of the estate’s Lot 1 at 452 Cheltenham Road.

The double-storey corner dwelling stands about a metre from a slip lane and access road into the nearby HomeCo shopping centre.

As a result, there was no room for a footpath to link the Cheltenham Road bus stop and a child care centre and shops at HomeCo shopping centre.

A council-instigated safety review found that the development was “fully compliant” with the Greater Dandenong Planning Scheme and the Victoria Planning Provisions.

However after negotiations, the developer Salter Brothers is believed to have agreed to bear the cost of the changes.

Keysborough resident Dom Boccari, who first raised the safety issues, was “not convinced”.

His concerns include the proposed “heavily landscaped feature design” stretching 25 metres along the access road.

It will aim to stop pedestrians walking along the access road to the HomeCo centre.

They will instead be diverted through the townhouse estate to a zebra crossing linking the child care centre and HomeCo footpath. The zebra crossing is subject to separate negotiations with HomeCo.

Mr Boccari said “herding pedestrians like cattle” through the estate was “not good enough” for either pedestrians or townhouse residents.

The council also announced an “attractive reinforced fence” next to the Cheltenham Rd slip lane. Mr Boccari doubted that it would be enough to protect Lot 1 residents from errant drivers.

“It’s more like let’s camouflage the building so people might see it.”

The danger has since escalated with the recent installation of a gas meter near Lot 1’s front corner, he said.

Mr Boccari also wanted more details on the new site for a street light pole – which will be moved from its present site that’s centimetres from Lot 1’s balcony.

His ideal solution is to “bulldoze” lot 1 or close the truck slip lane, narrow the access road and build a footpath to HomeCo.

The Lot 1 position was cast in an amended permit approved by a council officer in 2018.

The amendment was neither advertised to the public or put in front of Greater Dandenong councillors.

Mr Boccari questioned how the development was assessed as “compliant” in the first place.

“Either the standards are rubbish or someone’s made a mistake.

“It’s a matter of people standing up and saying it’s not acceptable.”

Councillor Rhonda Garad said the outcomes were “quite good” though “not the ones we wanted”.

“I would like the (Lot 1) development not to be there but given that’s not happening, I feel they have achieved the best outcomes.

“The substantial issue is we don’t like having high-density housing but the particular zoning allows for it.”