Village Building revises plans for Weston site after community backlash

Ian Bushnell 8 July 2018
The former AFP site in Weston before demolition. Village is revising its development mix. Photo: Supplied

The former AFP site in Weston before demolition. Village is revising its development mix. Photo: Supplied.

Village Building Company has extended its pre-DA community consultation period for its proposed Weston housing development until 8 August and is revising its plans for the former AFP site in response to community concerns.

Village was planning to develop 60 one-level apartments; about 180 two-storey townhouses; 11 freestanding homes; and five innovative multi-level dwellings on the six hectare, medium density zoned site, for which it paid more than $30 million in a competitive tender last year.

But that mix of dwellings will now change after Village conducted two open forums on 22 May and 31 May that attracted intense community interest.

According to Weston Creek Community Council Chair Tom Anderson, Village received a hostile reception at the second forum, mainly about a proposed three-storey apartment complex planned for the top corner of the site on Heysen Street.

The community’s concerns included the siting of the apartments; building heights; fears the development is incompatible with the suburb’s character; and that it may be a repeat of what has already occurred in Molonglo.

There are also concerns about increased traffic on Heysen Street where two entrances to the site are planned; calls for a highly sustainable development; and for more mature trees to be retained.

People sought more details regarding Village’s plans, including imagery and modelling of the proposed development.

In a letter to the community, Village reiterates that it is committed to an open and genuine consultation.

Demolition work at the site earlier in the year. It is now complete.  Photo: Ian Bushnell

Demolition work at the site earlier in the year. It is now complete. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

It has told the community that it will publish the next version of draft plans to the website by 16 July and present them, along with subject experts and Government representatives, at the Weston Creek Community Council (WCCC) meeting on 25 July.

“In the coming days and weeks, we will be making all information available on the website This will include background information on zoning; updates on the community consultation process going forward; a timeline of events; a summary of community feedback; FAQs; the masterplan; and any other relevant documents,” Village says.

“Please bear in mind that work is still being done on the designs and relevant studies, and these will be provided as soon as possible to provide better insight into our joint vision for the site.”

Village is also meeting with relevant agencies and community stakeholders to see what reasonable measures can be taken to respond to community concerns.

Mr Anderson said the apartments, pitched at downsizers, were the main concern of the community, who thought they were out of character with what is mostly a single-residence suburb.

He said the new-style dwelling, consisting of a ground-level garage with two levels above for living and sleeping, appeared to be innovative.

“They’ve been tried in Adelaide and some young couples without children think they’re wonderful places to live,” he said.

Mr Anderson said Village was not putting as many dwellings on the site as they could, and the development also included two green spaces – one almost the size of a football field, 80 to 100 metres long and 40 to 60 metres wide.

He also said the WCCC had asked Roads ACT to consider lights at the corner of Heysen Street and Streeton Drive to improve safety.

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