In November 2016, a developer purchased a block of land in Chelsea and lodged an application to clear all native vegetation for fourteen two–storey townhouses. After a four-year effort by the Friends of Dents Paddock alliance the native coastal vegetation land was saved from developers, after Kingston Council purchased the block of land last year.
The Friends of Dents Paddock was formed in 2017 after Chelsea residents objected the development to Council. After Council rejected the developer’s proposal, they appealed to VCAT, who still upheld Council’s refusal.
EJA provided regulatory advice to The Friends group in February 2017 on subdivision, Community Local Law tree protection (native vegetation clearing), and again in July 2018 on IPO and ESO queries.
In 2019, the developer lodged new plans with Kingston Council retaining a clump of remnant Coast Banksias amongst nine townhouses for which Council again refused a permit, and the developer again appealed to VCAT who again upheld Council’s refusal.
Finally, with strong community support, Council obtained an Interim Protection Order, followed by a successful Panel hearing for a permanent Environment Significance Overlay 5 in KPS Amendment C163 that was adopted by Council. Meanwhile, the Friends group urged local MPs and Councillors for funding to purchase the land.
It is a rare win for native coastal vegetation to be recognised and rescued in an urban setting. The land is relatively undisturbed with some native wildlife, and Council’s Natural Resource Area Crew are preparing a preliminary management plan, including removal of an old building and weeds and creating a track, before rehabilitation with volunteers. Congratulations to all involved for this excellent outcome.