This letter was printed in The Age Newspaper on Friday 1 Sep 2006
The latest planning proposal to waive the necessity of council approval for "minor" projects such as pergolas, single storey extensions and swimming pools (bid to defuse anger on planning, The Age, 30/80 sounds like a response to a situation that is out of control.
Reducing the control of planning authorities for these projects paves the way for building chaos in suburbia with people's freedom to build coming at the expense of the amenity of their neighbours. Alternatively where neighbours agree, it could well be at the expense of the general amenity of the suburb as low standards may be shared by those two neighbours.
There is now no refuge for Melbourne residents. There is nowhere to move where anything will stay the same. Every suburb is being filled with units. Only the very wealthy who can afford a large property can be guaranteed reasonable amenity as we had in past decades.