By Amy Loughlin
Pictured: Cyan Rokahr, local Highett resident, stands next to the proposed development area. Original photo by Amy Loughlin
Residents in the Highett area are protesting the proposal for the development of a new high-rise apartment complex which is to be built next to Southland Shopping Centre.
The project, which is currently in the planning and design stage, and will be situated on Nepean Highway and Matthieson Street, has raised concerns among locals due to impacts on local life and the local landscape due to its proposed height and potential increased traffic congestion.
The Growland Group, who recently acquired the land with their joint venture partners Poly Australia, submitted plans to the Kingston Council to apply to “develop and use the land for a…development comprising four residential premises and 242 apartments, with a maximum height of 14 storeys, a reduction of the car parking requirements…and within the protection zone of a significant tree.”
“The high density development is a massive overkill on this low density residential street,” said Carlene DeSomerville, a local Matthieson St resident who lives two house-blocks from the proposed site and an admin for the “SaveHighett” Facebook page.
“There is going to be a huge increase of traffic in the area…Our local street isn’t designed to accommodate the amount of overflow there will be from the lack of car parking,” said Miss De Somerville.
“There are so many things that bug me, but one will be a lack of privacy when we have apartments from 14 storeys looking down into the yard.”
The Facebook page, “SaveHighett”, was created by and for locals to provide a public forum where people could spread awareness on the developments and also discuss their objections to the proposed site, which includes objections to increased heights, visual bulk, overlooking and lack of onsite parking to name a few.
“The Facebook site was a huge success for the promotion of objections. We were able to reach over 200 people and get the information about the development to a wider audience. Not just a few local streets, but Highett and beyond” said Ms De Somerville.
Local Matthieson Street resident, Cyan Rokahr, also contended that the height of the building would have a poor effect on the local landscape, stating that it was “going to be a 14 story building towering over Southland. It’s the only one in that area. It’s going to look very odd.”
Libby Conway, representative for the Growland Group, states that the company takes community views seriously and that they “understand the community’s concern.”
“We have appointed a group of professional design consultants and have frequently exchanged opinions with the local Council and statutory authorities to ensure all concerned aspects has been addressed and satisfied at the highest standard,” said Miss Conway.
“The development will enhance the area with its meticulous design and living options for first home buyers to larger families…The quality of the development will enhance the property values of the area and also drive extra business into the local area during construction and when residents move in.”