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Council called to answer

26 Oct 2014

Council called to answer Image

The Southbank Residents Group is demanding an answer from the City of Melbourne, regarding submissions it claims were not heard.

The submissions relate to the UpMarket application, which was controversially voted down by council last month.

Councillors voted against the advice of their planning officers to side with residents of the Melburnian and Sovereign apartment complexes.

At the Future Melbourne Committee meeting of October 7, Southbank Residents Group President Tony Penna said he had received a number of complaints from residents in support of the application.

“My question is regarding fairness and transparency in respect to the decision-making process of this council,” he said.

“I’ve received complaints from residents that their submissions were not considered by council despite being lodged in accordance with the rules on the council’s website.”

Had it been approved, the UpMarket would have operated from 9am until 4pm every Saturday at the forecourt of the Australian Centre for Contemporary Arts (ACCA), on Grant St.

Mr Penna said he had also received complaints from a number of organisations including ACCA, Green Car Share, Conscious Governance, Langham Hotel Melbourne and Committee for Melbourne regarding unheard submissions.

“My question is, why were all these submissions not considered in the decision making process?” he asked.

“Community engagement with this council is something this council promotes.”

Mr Penna also drew reference to a particular submission, which he claimed held many answers to some of the questions the council claims were unanswered by the UpMarket applicants.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle was unable to provide any clear reason as to why the submissions were not considered but said all submissions must be lodged in appropriate time.

“We received the submissions as they were sent to us from management, they are all considered,” he said.

“If you submit them an hour before the meeting the likelihood of them being read is probably lower than if you’d submitted them earlier,” he said.

The Lord Mayor said the matter would be followed up with council management and that a written response would be provided to the Southbank Residents Group after an investigation.

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