Facelift for shop strips

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THE Chelsea and Edithvale shopping strips may be rejuvenated if Kingston Council plans to revitalise the commercial areas come to fruition.

Councillors at the latest public council meeting on 23 April voted for council officers to look at ways over summer that car parking and the look of the strips can be improved.

A formal structure plan for the Chelsea Major Activity Centre will be conducted.

South Ward councillor Georgina Oxley said “quite a few vacant shops” are noticeable in the Chelsea shopping strip on Nepean Highway.

Council officers, in a report tabled at the council meeting, counted eight empty shopfronts amid 88, excluding Woolworths, in the area.

“The car parking in Chelsea in summer is almost impossible,” Cr Oxley said at the meeting.

Anti-social behaviour and drinking on the foreshore, despite an alcohol ban, were also mentioned in the officers’ report but it was noted police increase street and beach patrols in the summer months.

“Other safety concerns in Chelsea identified by council officers include homelessness in The Strand and jet-skis close to the foreshore,” the report noted.

Edithvale has been chosen as one of five suburbs around Melbourne to be included in a Neighbourhood Project program.

Traders and community members under The Edithvale Collective banner are looking at using money from “the philanthropically funded program” to install community art and footpath seating amid several initiatives aimed at improving the look and feel of the shopping strip.

Council officers baulked at spending ratepayers’ money on a formal Edithvale Major Activity Centre structure plan, estimating the cost at about $130,000.

They recommended The Edithvale Collective speak to the Level Crossing Removal Authority about ways to share ideas to revitalise the shopping strip as part of the level crossing removals program.

Central Ward councillor Rosemary West, while supportive of plans to rejuvenate the Chelsea shopping strip, raised a note of caution about building height limits being potentially raised in the wake of a formal structure plan.

“So far people have not wanted to lose their two-storey height limit,” Cr West said.

She noted suburbs such as Moorabbin and Cheltenham saw “high buildings” emerge after planning reviews.

First published in the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News – 2 May 2018

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