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The decision of Planning Minister Matthew Guy on 30 June, 2014 to approve the East West Link project, on the condition that significant changes are made to the design of the road, will result in further uncertainty for property owners who once again are been left in limbo.
The State Government had attempted to shift responsibility for making a decision on the project boundaries to the Assessment Committee. The Assessment Committee made clear that it did not see it as its role to make those decisions and has now placed the onus back on the State Government to make a decision about where the project boundary should lie.
Roger Batrouney, Slater and Gordon Practice Group Leader, said: “The wash up of these changes is that property owners and residents are even less clear about where they stand and whether their properties will need to be acquired.”
“We also have the situation where residents and property owners who did not think they would be affected by the project now face the potential that their properties will be acquired. They have not had a chance to participate in any of the consultative processes.”
Mr Batrouney said that the revised design could affect any number of properties across Collingwood, Clifton Hill, Parkville, North Melbourne, Kensington and Flemington and that the Linking Melbourne Authority (LMA) needed to provide some finality and certainty to affected property owners.
“People affected by the project deserve some certainty as to whether their home or businesses are going to be acquired. We have clients who, before yesterday, were preparing for acquisition, but now are left in limbo.”
The Minister has indicated that the LMA will provide him with a Property Impact Report that determines which properties will be affected by the revised design. It is not known when this report will be completed, nor if it will be made publicly available.
Mr Batrouney said recommendations made by the Assessment Committee had forced the government to make the approval conditional on the Linking Melbourne Authority making changes to four key aspects of the project.
Mr Batrouney said that the government had ignored other recommendations of the Assessment Committee. As well as the government forging ahead with Part B, despite criticism from the Assessment Committee, the Committee’s recommendations for measures to protect affected property owners have been largely ignored.