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Sale of Serpells Lane Carpark

At a City of Boroondara council meeting on 25 July 2022, Council resolved to begin the process to amend the ‘planning controls affecting land at 399 Burwood Road, Hawthorn’ - also known as Serpells Lane carpark - and commence the process to sell the land.

The ‘Amendment C385boro - Rezoning Serpells Lane carpark’, proposes to change the land’s status from Public Use Zone 6 (PUZ6) to Commercial 1 Zone (C1Z). The council explains that the carpark has been identified as ‘surplus to the council’s needs’. The carpark was acquired by the City of Boroondara in 1966 and has since provided 89 parking spaces, including two disabled spaces, three loading zone spaces and one Flexi-car space. The 2,950sqm zone, which offers three-hour parking for shoppers, traders and attendees of near-by Swinburne University, also acts as a thoroughfare for commuters between Glenferrie Station and Burwood Road.

According to the council report presented at the July Council meeting, the carpark was ‘found to be underutilised’, an assessment from a 12 year-old ‘Glenferrie Structure Plan’. The report also explained that the sale of the carpark would ‘not impact social or economic’ factors in the local area and is a ‘viable as a commercial, office or residential’ zone.

The legal risk of the rezoning was also outlined in the council report, stating that Council sought legal advice from Maddocks (lawyers) in 2019 regarding the carpark’s rezoning. The lawyers note that the land may have originally been purchased through a special rate levied on traders in Glenferrie Road, in which case traders may have a proprietary interest in the carpark. Therefore, there might be a legal risk if Council were to sell the land without providing a replacement carpark in the general vicinity of the site in question.

In terms of providing alternative carparking, the Council pointed to the Draft Glenferrie Place Plan that ‘proposes to provide alternative car parking facilities at sites that better align with the needs of local traders, rendering Serpells Lane surplus to parking requirements’. However, the additional carparking proposed in the Draft Glenferrie Place Plan and to be funded by the Australian Government as part of its Urban Congestion Fund was infamously rejected by local residence and funding withdrawn prior to the Federal Election earlier this year. This left the Draft Glenferrie Place Plan in limbo and in the year since the draft was released, the plan has still not been revised and ratified by the Council.

In September 2022 the City of Boroondara commenced the public exhibition of Amendment C385boro. The public had the opportunity to provide feedback to Council on the proposed changes, with submissions due on 24 October. A summary of submissions received together with a response and recommendations from Council officers will be considered the Council’s Urban Planning Delegated Committee (UPDC) on 5 December.

Interviewing traders in the immediate area of Serpells Lane, The Glenferrie Times found that traders had not been consulted or notified by Council of the intended carpark rezoning. A straw poll conducted by The Glenferrie Times found that 87% of businesses within the vicinity of the Serpells Lane carpark on Burwood Road, the Don Arcade and Glenferrie Road, disapproved of the sale and felt that their business would be impacted by the carpark’s loss. It was also found that the loss of 89 parking spaces in the Glenferrie Hawthorn precinct is roughly equivalent to the loss of all parking spaces along one side of Glenferrie Road, stretching from Barkers Road to Burwood Road. The President of the Grace Park Residents Association Inc., Rob Perkins is frustrated with Council’s flippant disposal of council land, commenting, “Hens’ teeth is a reasonable definition of car park spaces in Hawthorn and particularly around Glenferrie Road... So what is the impetus to sell a car park that is full every day? It does not pass the pub test”.

He also points out that ‘after years of Boroondara advocating the need for MORE parking they now backflip and decide that... strategic car spaces on the very doorstep of Glenferrie Station are surplus to needs.’

The UPDC will decide whether to:

Make changes to the amendment in response to submissions.

Refer submissions to an independent Planning Panel for consideration.

Recommend adoption of the amendment.

Abandon the amendment.

If you would like to have your say about the rezoning of Serpells Lane carpark, please contact Nick Brenan, Senior Strategic Planner - by email or call 9278 453. Also contact Cr Wes Gault, Glenferrie Ward Councillor - by email or call 9835 7849.

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