Glen Eira Councillors were powerless to adequately represent the community’s concerns when considering a proposal for a 12-storey high rise in Horne Street, Elsternwick on Tuesday. MP Clifford Hayes said the decision by councillors to approve the tower as an eight-storey development was forgivable, given that their hands were tied by an impending Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal loss. The issue stems back to the failure and refusal by the Planning Minister to provide Glen Eira Council with the mandatory height limits it requested. Instead, they were given measly “discretionary” height limits, which are often overruled in VCAT. “I welcome what the councillors decided to do, because they didn’t have much of a choice,” he said. “This application has underscored the council’s lack of capacity to serve the community. “It stems back to the council applying for mandatory height limits, and the Planning Minister refusing to do so – instead providing measly discretionary limits.” Mr Hayes was very surprised by the council planning department’s decision to recommend the 12-storey design for approval. “This green light flies in the face of great community concern that such a development would overwhelm the heritage and character of the Elsternwick Village. A “Village” should not be a place for a high rise.” “It also contradicts Council’s previous position concerning this area, which was in favour of a mandatory 8-storey height limit. “The Elsternwick community, particularly those living on Ross Street, do not want this massive monstrosity ruining their amenity and compromising their way of life.” The Sustainable Australia MP will continue to pressure the Planning Minister and the Parliament to have appropriate height controls implemented to protect the community. “We need to return planning powers back to the community and the council.” “The discretionary height limits in place at the moment are an incitement to developers to push through these inappropriate developments.