Down’s Estate Community Project (2013-2016)

Progress on the Down's Estate development and the community's opinions about that development. Contact us at downsestate@gmail.com
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Down’s Estate Community Project (2013-2016)

Postby Noel Tudball » Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:10 pm



This Topic covers all progress from September 20, 2013 to 1 October, 2016 (scroll down or press Page Down to review)
All later news is here http://www.seafordcc.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=27
You may also notice that some important milestones have been moved from this Topic to their own (e.g. Frankston's Think Big, the first tree planting event and the Group's public documents).

Now is *really* your opportunity to get involved.


Links:

The Group changed its name to Down’s Estate Community Project Inc. on 1 October 2016.
The Down's Estate Community Working Group was formed on 28th January, 2014 and is comprised of Community Group representatives, collaborating to develop a visionary proposal for the land previously owned by Harry Down.

If you'd like to join or express support, please email the SCC (see below) or

downsestate@gmail.com.

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  • Down's Estate is located in Old Wells Rd, Seaford, roughly opposite the Frankston City Motorcycle Park
  • It is adjacent to, but not part of the Seaford Wetlands
  • It is the Estate of the late Mr Harry Down who bred horses, made internationally-renowned saddles and whips and ran a few cattle on his property
  • The land is now owned by Frankston City Council
  • An information session was held in July, 2012, during which options for its future use were discussed
We are concerned about its future.

The Friends of the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands describe it as:
"... parcel of land occupying 20.8 ha, ‘Down's Estate’, which adjoins the north-eastern corner of Seaford Swamp. This parcel of land is currently situated outside the Ramsar boundary."
http://www.edithvale-seaford-wetlands.org/wetlands-information.html

The first mention of Down's Estate in their newsletter - http://www.edithvale-seaford-wetlands.org/uploads/4/2/1/7/4217734/warbler_july12.pdf
Follow-ups ("we're waiting") - http://www.edithvale-seaford-wetlands.org/newsletters.html


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Re: Down's Estate

Postby Noel Tudball » Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:36 am


The SCC is seeking residents' views on this and other issues so that we can truly represent the residents and take your input to FCC on your behalf.

We have asked FCC when the Down's Estate Master Plan will be available for comment - watch this space.
Here is a summary of the options that are expected to be proposed by FCC in the Master Plan, yet to be approved by EMT and Council:

1. Urban Agriculture - responds to interest in the community over food security, previous agricultural use of the site (although only ever was grazing), existing infrastructure present. Includes use of the shed for storage of machinery etc and house for office admin, area adjacent to the buildings for a nursery, intensive cropping area and orchard, area at the northern end (considered most appropriate due to flooding, results from soil testing and proximity to the RAMSAR listed Seaford Wetlands) for crop production.

2. Wildlife Shelter - responds to the request from the community for a location for a 24 hour native wildlife facility (thee is not one within Victoria). Include use of house for office admin, shed to be converted to animal hospital, area adjacent to buildings for animal enclosures.

3. Community use - Responds to the lack of nearby community facilities. Includes use of house for community activity (e.g. meetings of friends groups and community groups), shed for interpretive and educational space (ecological, historical, cultural), outdoor gathering space adjacent to buildings.

4. Picnic Place - responds to Council's current financial position (minimal upgrades and ongoing maintenance). Include removal of buildings and provides for an informal play space, picnic area, walking paths etc.

5. Amalgamated Use - Responds to the possibility of the various community groups 'sharing' the area and working together.  Include use of the house for a shared office space for agriculture group, Wildlife shelter and other community groups e.g. Friends of Seaford Wetlands. Use of shed for Animal hospital, use of adjacent land for agriculture. (I hope this means "all of the above" - Noel)

Here are a few more options put forward by residents:

6. Ecotourism - the Down's site as a integrated piece of the wetlands site. The site offers ecotourism opportunities - draw people to Seaford; come by train, cycle around the wetlands, maybe have a picnic, perhaps a cafe at the Down's site, recreation - bird watching, join in farm activity, canoe on the ponds, etc. Across Wells Rd are other recreational venues - motorbike scramble track, BMX bike track, model plane flying club.

7. Fire reduction - the northern end of the wetlands carries a large proportion of grass and can be a serious fire hazard in the summer. Kangaroos and wallabies would have once grazed there, that historic pattern could be mimicked by a pulse grazing approach with goats or cattle.   This would lead to a substantial reduction of the fire hazard.  

8. Extend Eel Race Rd through to Old Wells Rd
This would allow easier access between:
  • Seaford
  • Seaford Wetlands
  • Patterson River Secondary College
  • Patterson Lakes
  • Carrum
  • facilities already in Old Wells Rd
  • any new facilities created as part of the Down’s Estate development
which may justify the cost.

This would probably entail negotiation with Patterson River Secondary College to acquire some of their land.
The many traffic calming measures introduced in Austin Rd, Mitchell St and Old Wells Road show that the current access route is inappropriate and inadequate.

9. It is believed that Seaford North Primary School also has some land abutting the Seaford Wetlands which has native vegetation. Perhaps this could be integrated?
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Re: Down's Estate

Postby Noel Tudball » Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:20 pm


This issue is expected to be debated at the Council meeting on 18th November.
We have today sent the following email to Councillors and the CEO:


The Seaford Community Committee, on behalf of all those who enjoy and cherish the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands, recommends that Frankston City Council:
  1. Establish a working party of key stakeholders and groups, plus council officers and an independent Chair to distil the best option/s for its future in a given timeframe (say 90 days)
  2. Ensure that all possible options are put forward for public comment
==========================

The email included the above options, plus:

  1. Buffer zone for the wetlands
    Not to use the Down's for purposes that would compromise the wetlands, to not allow housing alongside as has been allowed around 50% of the Ramsar site.

  2. Food Security contribution to Frankston community
    Ideas include a vegetable garden supplying vegetables to local residents, a plant nursery, a commercial kitchen and cafe, a tree crops orchard and food forest, a cattle herd, even goats and a dairy. This would be a productive farm where people could participate, as workers, as learners as shoppers.

  3. Community inclusion
    The various activities associated with the farm will evolve over time, to eventually become a thriving community based social enterprise with activities that could include classes and cottage industry in areas including farm gate, plant and compost sales, preparation and sale of preserves and dehydrated foods, demonstration of sustainable building, solar power, recycling of water and so on. These activities provide opportunities including:
    • Employment preparation through skills development and work experience
    • Social connection and community engagement for the disenfranchised
    • Community development through social enterprise and showcasing local sustainable businesses

  4. Education
    Another whole-of-site issue. The wetlands offers the opportunity for educational experience for local schools, and schools further afield. These could be outdoors activities, hands-on and practical activities providing training in the field, different from what is offered at the Edithvale Wetlands Centre, The Curriculum resource - 'The Oasis Next Door' written specifically for the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands is ready to be used and other curriculum are available, in nature studies, natural resources management, outdoor education, geography, etc. Facilities developed on the Down's site could contribute to this educational offering, the northern section from the schools on the west to the Down's site could be an educational precinct. The two schools - Seaford North Primary and Patterson River Secondary already offer curriculum engagement, PRSC has 4 subjects in their 2014 yr 9 curriculum working in the wetland and the SNPS bush. These schools could mentor and support other schools.


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Re: Down's Estate

Postby Noel Tudball » Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:15 pm


A potential member of the SCC attended the Council meeting on 18th November to broaden their views and to expand on the (only) 2 options being put forward for their consideration.
We are encouraged to learn that Councillors will indeed broaden the definition of “amalgamated” to incorporate more than the narrow definition outlined in the reports.

Reports and recommendations are here:
http://www.frankston.vic.gov.au/files/6 ... Part_2.pdf (60MB) (page 78 / 368)
http://www.frankston.vic.gov.au/files/5 ... Part_3.pdf (25MB) (page 1 / 436)

We'll post more information about the consultation process when it's available.
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Re: Down's Estate

Postby Noel Tudball » Sat Dec 07, 2013 6:16 pm



1.
It is now up to residents to clearly define and broaden (if necessary) the "amalgamated" option.


==============


2.
Public Meetings are being held at Down's Estate Dec 2013
Organised by the Frankston Food Access Network

Saturdays 5-7pm 7th 14th, 21st December 2013
Meet on-site to look around, explore and share ideas
Meet by the bike track at the back of the old farm house
Enquiries: Fran Ph 0418 932 218 or Maureen Ph 0403 174 976

Flyer here :arrow: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1_RO8yB1fC2YnlrTmEwdS1uRVU


==============


3.
Have your Say - Down's Estate Master Plan
Following extensive planning and development, Council is inviting members of the public to submit their feedback on 2 options in the Down's Estate Master Plan.
These options set possible directions for the future use and development of Down's Estate, 20.8 hectares Council-owned land in the North-eastern corner of the International Significant RAMSAR listed Seaford Wetlands.

The Master Plan aims to provide a guiding vision for this site and make recommendations for the appropriate future use and development of the land, ensuring that any uses and activities are suitable for the site and compliment the conservation values of the immediate and surrounding area. This is particularly important given the ecological values present within the adjacent lands.

During the development of the Master Plan, 5 options were proposed. Two of these options have been approved by Council for further consultation.

The 2 options that are being considered by Council for public comment are the Picnic Place and Amalgamated use.

A copy of these 2 Options and the Down's Estate Master Plan Report can be viewed in hard-copy at one of Council's Customer Service Centres, or are available for download via the following link:
http://www.frankston.vic.gov.au/Your_Council/Have_Your_Say

Members of the community are able to submit their written feedback by the closing date 17 January 2014 via one of the following pathways:
Mail: PO Box 490, Frankston, Vic 3199
Email: environment@frankston.vic.gov.au
In person: any of Council's Customer Service Locations

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Re: Down's Estate

Postby Noel Tudball » Sun Dec 22, 2013 3:00 pm


Some useful discussions were had over the last couple of Saturdays.

We have received the following info from FCC:

Environment and Community Development departments are working together to organise an effective consultation process on the two options.
A special meeting is being organised for the relevant community groups, Ward Councillors and Council staff to discuss the Amalgamated Use option.
The relevant community groups should be receiving correspondence shortly from Council asking about their availability for a meeting date in mid or late January.

As consultation on the Amalgamated Use Option involves hearing the views of a number of groups in an impartial and equitable way, Council will be using the services of a professional facilitator to run the meeting.

As the site is currently not open to the public [except use of the Shared User Path], Council staff are investigating the possibility of scheduling some Guided Walk & Talk sessions for interested members of the community.

If you are interested in being involved, it is suggested that you contact the Environment Department:
43B Davey Street, Frankston, Vic, 3199
Phone: 9784 1802
Email: environment@frankston.vic.gov.au

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Re: Down's Estate (Down's Farm)

Postby Noel Tudball » Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:35 pm


A facilitated workshop was recently organised by FCC for 14 or so representatives of local community groups keen to assist Council with deciding the best outcome for the Down's Estate. If your group wasn't invited but would like to be involved, contact either us or FCC's Environment Dept.

Here's a brief report prepared by an attendee:

  • Council - and most Councillors - appear to want to spend as little time and money as possible, favouring the "Picnic Place" option
  • the planning and implementation of an "Amalgamated Option" should be done in stages – there is no need to decide or finance everything upfront
  • Community groups have formed a Working Party to collaborate and draft their own achievable "Amalgamated Option" to present to Councillors
  • many community groups will endeavour to finance aspects of the project
  • a straw poll was taken of attendees as to their preferred option and not surprisingly (given the attendees) went strongly toward the Amalgamated Option, with only 1 person wanting the "Picnic Place"
  • attendees included Animalia - 2, Friends of the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands - 2, Frankston Food Access Network - 2, Seaford Community Committee - 3, Melbourne Water - 2, Frankston Environmental Friends Network - 1 or 2 (?)
  • the most interesting element of the event was the potential for collaboration that emerged between the community groups, which steadily escalated over the night
Much of the night was taken up with small group discussion of around 4 groups of 4, with a FCC staff member taking notes.

Some comments from the night:
  • from someone who knew Harry Down:
    - "He was a lovely man who wanted to bequeath his land to the local aboriginal community"
    - "His name was Down, the place name should have an apostrophe, i.e. Down's Estate”
  • "governance could include two levels - cooperative management of the participating parties and a Board of Trustees who meet once or twice a year to see how onsite management is going”
  • “the Amalgamated Option needs to go to a working group for fleshing out”
  • “the consultant's report has many gaps and its recommendations are not sufficiently justified”

Since it is believed that Council Officers will prepare a recommendation for the Council meeting in March 2014 without further community input, a working party of community groups - independent of the council officers - has been formed in the hope of making the best use of, and respecting the land and Harry Down's memory. This proposal may take the form of a phased approach, where a small financial outlay is allocated by Council each year until the project is completed.

There is room for further discussion on the issues of urban agriculture and environmental education for Frankston.

It is believed that many Councillors will need to be lobbied to approve the "Amalgamated Option" over the "Picnic Place" option.
Hey, it needn’t cost a lot of dollars – do the right thing!

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Re: Down's Estate (Down's Farm)

Postby Noel Tudball » Wed Feb 05, 2014 5:55 pm


Following the FCC-facilitated workshop mentioned above, the Down's Estate Community Working Group was formed.
It is comprised of Community Groups, collaborating to develop a visionary proposal for the land previously owned by Harry Down.

If you'd like to join or express support, please email the SCC or downsestate@gmail.com.

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Re: Down's Estate (Down's Farm)

Postby Noel Tudball » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:54 pm


The Down's Estate Community Working Group has met several times over recent weeks, one of which took place at the site.
FCC Environment Dept very kindly arranged a tour of the site for us. (Unfortunately) this only gave us more ideas - LOL - no, that's a good thing.

Received great news today. FCC - Councillors and others - are to be congratulated for their decision to remove the Down's Estate from their March Agenda, giving us time to prepare our vision for them to consider.

In our proposal to Council, we hope to include not only various exciting options, but funding models and a list of other Community Groups eager to come onboard and work - together - toward a fantastic outcome.


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Re: Down's Estate (Down's Farm)

Postby Noel Tudball » Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:03 pm


Some news articles for consideration (right-click - open in new browser Tab):

Community gardens a 'risk' to fruit and veg sector
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-26/c ... or/5285472

Costa says community gardens no threat
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-28/c ... at/5289184

Shooting brumbies in Kosciuszko
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-27/s ... ks/5267898
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Re: Down's Estate (Down's Farm)

Postby Noel Tudball » Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:35 am


Short update:
  • Meetings of the Working Group continue - almost weekly
  • Funding models have been sketched
  • More groups have become involved
  • The growing collaboration (and indeed friendship) of members of different community groups - that started with diametrically-opposed views - is exciting to watch and be a part of.
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Re: Down's Estate (Down's Farm)

Postby Noel Tudball » Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:50 pm


Please refer to the attached flyer containing details of a public meeting.
Down's Estate WG Public Meeting flyer.pdf
(382.27 KiB) Downloaded 605 times

Purpose:
1. Discuss our Draft Proposal for the land previously owned by Harry Down (Down’s Estate)
2. Capture community views before its finalization and Submission to Frankston City Council

- Thursday 26th June, 2014
- 7pm
- Seaford Community Centre - Meeting Room – enter via front door and turn left

We hope you can attend. Representatives of the 6 Community Groups involved will be on hand to answer your questions.
Feel free to send the flyer as far and wide as is appropriate.

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Re: Down's Estate (Down's Farm)

Postby Noel Tudball » Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:12 pm


The Working Group’s Submission (4 documents) has been sent to FCC.

All of our current documents are now on Google Drive and are public documents, so you should have no trouble accessing them. Let me know if you can’t access them and I’ll email them to you. Just click on the link below, then view and/or download.

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B-sCEpZ3N1_xd1lYemh0c2gzVTQ&usp=sharing

Now to win the votes of our Councillors.

Feel free to share this information as far and wide as is appropriate.
Highlight to your network members the “Down's Estate WG - Register of Support”.

We expect the Council will make a decision at their meeting on 18th August, but this will be confirmed.


Here is a caricature map (a cartoon) of some of the possibilities that could be envisaged for the site. NOTE that nothing has been ruled in or out at this stage.
This is not a detailed plan (as some have thought). It is a "caricature map" - merely a pictorial representation of the types of categories of what could be. It's just a "pretty picture to catch the eye" and provoke thought. It depicts community activities (that are yet to be defined) on the Eastern side of the bike track and restoration to Wetlands on the Western side (details of which are also yet to be defined).

Down's Estate WG Public Support - Caricature Map.jpg
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Re: Down's Estate (Down's Farm)

Postby Noel Tudball » Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:38 am


The team is currently contacting Councillors to try to arrange personal meetings to discuss our plans, answer questions and allay any concerns.

Our covering letter to Councillors:

Darrel Taylor, Mayor of Frankston City Council

Dear Mr. Mayor,

RE: Down's Estate Submission from the Down's Estate Community Working Group

On behalf of the Down's Estate Community Working Group, a group of volunteer community representatives who have been working together since January 21 this year, we are proud to present our submission (attached) for the Council's consideration.

Our submission includes a written and pictorial set of ideas that demonstrate how we envision the existing Down's Farm can become an exciting asset to the community within the next 6 years. Also included is a draft business plan and budget that begins to detail how our plans can be successfully implemented. Our submission is financially prudent. We foresee a Management Group consisting of all the major interested parties as the entity to bring these plans to fruition in partnership with the community.

We have had extraordinary participation in the development of this document. All the schools in the area are ready to participate in our planned activities, and the Patterson River Secondary College Deputy Principal stands ready to incorporate his VET and VCAL programs into our plans. We have described what we would like to achieve with a Melbourne Water representative, and have found no areas that cause them concern. They await the Council's decision, as do we.

Between now and the date this submission comes to the Council, we will be meeting with Council members and Staff to answer any questions and hopefully, develop more exciting ideas.

Sincerely,

Gillian Collins, Co-Chair, Down's Estate Community Working Group, Frankston Environmental Friends Network Representative
Noel Tudball, Co-Chairman, Down's Estate Community Working Group, Chair, Seaford Community Committee

cc:
Deputy Mayor, Cr. Rebekah Spelman
Dennis Hovenden, CEO, Frankston City Council
Cr. Glenn Aitken
Cr. James Dooley
Cr. Sandra Mayer
Cr. Michael O'Reilly
Cr. Suzette Tayler
Cr. Colin Hampton
Cr. Brian Cunial
Clare Warren (earlier today)

Attachments:
1. Down's Estate WG Submission
2. Down's Estate WG Budget - Assumptions and Calculations
3. Down's Estate WG Budget - Yearly


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Re: Down's Estate (Down's Farm)

Postby Noel Tudball » Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:18 pm


Update

  • Submission to FCC - 30th June 2014
  • The Group met with 4 Council Officers to discuss The Project - 4th Sept
  • The Group presented to 6 Councillors and 6 Council Officers - 24th Sept
  • The Group participated in Seaford Community Committee’s stall at F’ston Rotary’s Farmers’ Market, 21st Sept and will again on 19th Oct – 8 am to 1 pm if you’d like to catch up with some of the Team
We have been encouraged by the positive response so far, but there is still a way to go yet.
No date for a Council decision has yet been set – will advise when known.
We hope to have more news soon.


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Re: Down's Estate (was the farm owned by Harry Down)

Postby Noel Tudball » Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:25 pm


Latest News & Project Milestones:
  • Currently – preparing a list of planning, usage, repair and maintenance options
  • 20th February, 2015 – with FCC Council Officers, inspected the inside of the shed & house
  • 16 February, 2015 - with FCC Council Officers – inspected the condition of the shed, house and outbuildings, plus consideration of maintenance and OH&S issues
  • Hole in shed repaired two days after 2 February meeting (where it was mentioned)
  • 2 February, 2015 - the Working Group met with Council Officers to find a way forward with the Down’s Estate proposal
  • 10 Dec, 2014 – accepted as a member of Frankston Environmental Friends Network / attend meetings
  • 9 December, 2014 - report on Briefing - Councillors request more information
  • 8 Dec 2014 - Council Officers Briefed Councillors – we provided input to Council Officers
  • 24 Sept 2014 - Group presentation to 6 Councillors and 6 Council Officers
  • 4 Sept 2014 - Group met with 4 Council Officers to discuss The Project
  • 30 June 2014 – Group’s Formal Submission to FCC
  • 28 January 2014 – the Working Group is formed, comprising members from several local community groups
  • 28 January 2014 – first meeting of people interested in developing a larger vision than was prepared by consultants to FCC (the first of almost weekly meetings)
  • 21 January 2014 - FCC presentation of Down's Estate Master Plan – Public Consultation
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Re: Down's Estate (was the farm owned by Harry Down)

Postby Noel Tudball » Sat May 23, 2015 8:15 pm


Update on the Community Working Group's proposal for the Down's Estate in Old Wells Road, Seaford.

With the support of Cr Glenn Aitken and key Council Officers, this project is gaining momentum! As one indication of their commitment, a hole in the shed was repaired within two days of its notification.

There have been three joint site meetings so far: the first two to look at the grounds around the buildings and the third to view the interior condition of the house and large shed. We have also had a further 2 planning meetings, with more planned.

Whilst there is a large amount of graffiti and some minor vandalism, the structures seem sound and fully viable for restoration and community activities. We are currently discussing with FCC the organising of joint working bees to clean up the site and make it safe as soon as possible. It is hoped that this activity will deter further graffiti and vandalism.

If you and/or your Group would like to get involved with this exciting project or require more information, contact us via the email below.

- Our submission to Council, 30th June, 2014 and related documents are here ==> https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B-sCEpZ3N1_xd1lYemh0c2gzVTQ
- The Down’s Project is always discussed at the Seaford Community Committee’s stall at the Seaford Farmers’ Market and always receives very positive feedback.

Here are some recent photos.
Down's house interior 20 Feb 2015.jpg
Down's house interior 20 Feb 2015.jpg (64.85 KiB) Viewed 40194 times
shed interior Down's 20 Feb 2015.jpg
shed interior Down's 20 Feb 2015.jpg (45.16 KiB) Viewed 40194 times
North East.jpg
North East.jpg (66.77 KiB) Viewed 40194 times


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Re: Down's Estate (was the farm owned by Harry Down)

Postby Noel Tudball » Mon Jul 06, 2015 10:26 pm



June update:
We had a very productive meeting with Council officers and Councillor Glenn Aitken on 15th May. We discussed the logistical requirements to commence some work on the site complying with OHS work plan and volunteer manual requirements.

One of the first aims of cleaning up around the buildings on the site will be to deter current vandalism. Once we have complied with the planning requirements, activities such as rubbish removal, manual weed control, removal of soil and some vegetation around the buildings can commence.

We are working on a plan in this joint working group, defining the final outcomes sought and breaking it down into the steps required to achieve this outcome. The key stages could be achieved over successive years in order to reduce the overall cost to all contributing stakeholders. Appropriately-qualified volunteer labour as well as general community volunteers would also be sought to support this project.

Another meeting will be held in June to further progress this stage of the project.

Unfortunately the large shed and farm house were again broken into which the Council will again secure. This underlines the need for action to begin at Down's Estate as soon as possible so that this can become a useful and valued community resource.


July update:
The Down's Estate Community Working Group (DECWG) had a productive meeting and site inspection on June 29th with 2 Council Officers with the aim of sorting out safety and logistical issues to enable a clean up on site to commence with volunteers. We are feeling positive about these steps forward.

Mayor Sandra Mayer responded to a recent newspaper article (see below) quoting local residents’ concerns about the site by saying that Council is working with the DECWG to address this matter.

Unfortunately, there has been yet another break in to the barn that is again being secured by Council.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/south-east/vandals-trash-frankston-council-owned-buildings-at-downs-estate-seaford/story-fngnvmhm-1227420130937

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Re: Down's Estate (was Harry Down's farm in Old Wells Rd)

Postby Noel Tudball » Fri Nov 06, 2015 2:27 pm



Your assistance is requested please

If you would like to address Council about this issue, see - http://www.frankston.vic.gov.au/Your_Council/Council_and_Committee_Meetings/Meetings/Request_to_Speak_at_a_Council_Meeting

At a recent meeting with Council Officers, we were advised that the Frankston City Council (FCC) public meeting for a decision to be made on the future of the Estate of Harry Down is expected to be Monday, 16th November, 2015 (starting at 7 pm). Please add this date to your Calendar – as you know (or would expect), the more people who attend in support of an issue, the better. A few days before the meeting, we'll post here if it will not be on that Agenda.

We were also advised that one or more Council Officers or Councillors called for a further report setting out 2 sets of options, based on:
  1. the house and barn/shed being renovated (and all other buildings being demolished), and
  2. ALL buildings being demolished, including the house and barn, with no plans for other buildings.

Council Officers were asked if capital expenditure listed in the report would include not only the cost of renovation or demolition of the house and barn, but also the cost of development of other required buildings. The response seemed to indicate that further building development costs would not be a highlight (if they were included at all), but may have to wait for “a couple of years” to be discussed during the development of a new joint master plan. We pointed out that many Councillors could opt for the “little or no expenditure at this point in time” option and the buildings would be lost.

We believe that the loss of these buildings is very significant on historic and practical grounds: including the need for shelter, storage and display space for community use.


We would appreciate:
- your opinions on how to justify / convince FCC to renovate, rather than demolish the house and barn,
- your suggestions and participation in our efforts to save these buildings, and
- your attendance at the Council meeting.


Background:
The Down's Estate Community Working Group (DECWG) has had numerous meetings with Council Officers and FCC Councillors both on and off site, including a formal presentation to Councillors. All of these encounters were positive and included the renovation of the house and barn.

Frankston Councillors received a Briefing from Council Officers on 12th October 2015. We were told that this Briefing outlined a number of options based on the DECWG Submission of June, 2014 and items from the original FCC Master Plan of 2013 (“Picnic Spot” and “Amalgamated Use). It was at this Briefing that a second report, listing a set of options based on ALL buildings being demolished, was requested.


Links :
- DECWG Submission, June, 2014 - https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B-sCEpZ3N1_xd1lYemh0c2gzVTQ
- FCC Down’s Estate Master Plan – http://www.seafordcc.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=36&p=310#p310


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Re: Down's Estate (Harry Down's farm in Old Wells Rd)

Postby Noel Tudball » Fri Nov 06, 2015 2:27 pm



The Downs Estate Master Plan (should be Down’s), dated January 2013 was an attachment to the Agenda for (and Minutes of) the Frankston Council (FCC) Public Meeting #247, held on 18 November 2013.

Download the FCC documents by clicking on the links and then refer to the pages listed.

Here are some highlights:

Agenda - Part 2
p368 ff (actual page of Part 2 is p78)
http://www.frankston.vic.gov.au/files/assets/public/your_council/council_and_committee_meetings/agendas_and_minutes/agendas_2013/final_agenda_-_om247_-_18_november_2013_open_part_2.pdf (59MB)

Demolition – also p368 ff (actual p78)


Agenda - Part 3
http://www.frankston.vic.gov.au/files/assets/public/your_council/council_and_committee_meetings/agendas_and_minutes/agendas_2013/final_agenda_-_om247_-_18_november_2013_open_part_3.pdf (25MB)


Minutes - Part 1 (p 120)
http://www.frankston.vic.gov.au/files/assets/public/your_council/council_and_committee_meetings/agendas_and_minutes/council_minutes_2013/om247_%E2%80%93_18_november_2013_part_1.pdf (41MB)


Minutes - Part 2
http://www.frankston.vic.gov.au/files/assets/public/your_council/council_and_committee_meetings/agendas_and_minutes/council_minutes_2013/om247_%E2%80%93_18_november_2013_part_2.pdf (27MB)

Note that there are several sections covering the following – here are a few:

History of Management
P202 (actual p57)

Recommendations
P205 (actual p60)

History and cultural values
P222 (actual p77)

Demolition
for Picnic Place - P146 (actual p1) & P160 (actual p15)

$32,500
P226 (actual p81)

Upgrade to house and sheds
$1,170,000
P229 (actual p84)

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Re: Down's Estate (Harry Down's farm in Old Wells Rd)

Postby Noel Tudball » Sat Nov 07, 2015 4:11 pm



Members of ​​​the Down's Estate Community Working Group will be at the Seaford Farmers' Market on Sunday, 15th November if you'd like to meet to discuss the issue.
Refer - http://www.seafordcc.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=94


We support the Council’s own Building Surveyor's report, which indicates that both the house and shed are essentially structurally sound.

FCC Building Surveyor's report - https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-sCEpZ3N1_xTFJxRkZfZGxwNHc



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Re: 16th Nov 2015: Down's Estate: FCC Meeting

Postby Noel Tudball » Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:21 pm


The Frankston City Council (FCC) public meeting for a decision to be made on the future of the Estate of Harry Down has been confirmed as:
Monday, 16th November, 2015 (starting at 7 pm). (It's good to be a little early.)

As you know (or would expect), the more people who attend in support of an issue, the better.

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Re: Down's Estate (Harry Down's farm in Old Wells Rd)

Postby Noel Tudball » Fri Nov 20, 2015 4:29 pm



At the Frankston Council meeting on 16th November 2015, Councillors decided to defer their decision on the Officers Report on the Down’s Estate! This means that the current buildings are safe – for now.

The next steps are now being planned.

Our members provided the right arguments and Cr Glenn Aitken read out a letter from Carrum MP, Sonya Kilkenny, suggesting the possibility of State funding. It seemed to go a long way towards their decision.

A petition supporting Down's Estate buildings was tabled with the 60 signatures collected at the 15th November Seaford Farmers Market.

After the unanimous decision was made, most of the public gallery then left.

THANK YOU to those who attended to lend their support.

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Re: Down's Estate (Harry Down's farm in Old Wells Rd)

Postby Noel Tudball » Fri Dec 18, 2015 5:18 pm


A constructive meeting was organized this week by Sonya Kilkenny (State MP for Carrum) with FCC Councillors, Officers and members of the Down's Estate Community Working Group (DECWG).

Further talks are now being scheduled for early in the New Year to develop a Report for Councillors which will be designed to move the Project forward positively with due consideration to community participation and desires.

We now look forward to a collaborative future.

Understandably, FCC is in need of guarantees of support before moving too far:
  • Pledges of funds, and
  • Pledges of work from community members and licensed contractors
Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Recent News Article:
"Backlash forces Frankston Council to drop plan to demolish derelict farm buildings at Seaford" | HeraldSun
Source:
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/south-east/backlash-forces-frankston-council-to-drop-plan-to-demolish-derelict-farm-buildings-at-seaford/news-story/d916f80baf32c164fd31bc7df9ca0bd9


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Re: Down's Estate (Harry Down's farm in Old Wells Rd)

Postby Noel Tudball » Wed Feb 03, 2016 1:27 am



In January 2016, we streamlined our Proposal and Budget for the project to:
  • Stage 1: 3 month Feasibility Phase
  • Stage 2: 9 month Implementation Phase
Both documents are attached below.

Although Stage 1 has a proposed budget of $10,000 (suggested to improve asset protection onsite) it could be undertaken with no asset protection and NO cost to Council other than some meeting time for Council Officers.

We greatly appreciate your interest and support in this Seaford project, at the heart of which is care for the environment and community connection.

We now have a date for the Council decision and your assistance is requested please ......

This could be our last opportunity to keep the Community Amalgamated Use option alive.


Following further productive talks with Councillors and FCC Officers, a decision on the future of the property is expected to be made at the FCC public meeting on
Monday, 22nd February, 2016 (at 7 pm - it's good to be a little early.) A few days before the meeting, we'll post here if it is not on that Agenda.

Members of ​​​the Down's Estate Community Working Group (DECWG) will be at the Seaford Farmers' Market on Sunday, 21st February if you'd like to meet to discuss the issue. Refer - http://www.seafordcc.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=94



FCC Officers are revising their November 16, 2015 report to Council - and its recommendations. It is hoped that Councillors will be asked to vote in favour of the $10,000 Feasibility Phase outlined in Stage 1. Note that we will not know the actual recommendation/s to Councillors until after the Meeting Agenda is posted online a few days before the meeting.

DECWG has been working (very) consistently on this project for over two years (and other community groups from 2011). Our proposal is to see the site used by a variety of community groups for education, training and engagement on environmental and sustainability issues and for many other community development purposes. We envisage a family-friendly project in keeping with the Wetlands environment and the other community facilities along Old Wells Road.

More background is in the above posts.

Attachments
DECWG Jan 2016 - Proposal.pdf
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DECWG Jan 2016 - Budget for Proposal.pdf
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Re: Down's Estate (Harry Down's farm in Old Wells Rd)

Postby Noel Tudball » Thu Feb 18, 2016 3:12 pm


The Agenda for the 22nd February meeting is now available - http://www.frankston.vic.gov.au/Your_Council/Council_and_Committee_Meetings/Council_Agendas_and_Minutes_2016

The recommendation is (again) to demolish the buildings.
We would very much prefer they remain for meetings, displays, education, storage and other approved uses.

If they were to be demolished, there is no guarantee that ANY buildings would EVER take their place - there certainly isn't ANY money in their budget.

We support the Council’s own Building Surveyor's report, which indicates that both the house and shed are essentially structurally sound.
Here's the report - https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B-sCEpZ3N1_xTFJxRkZfZGxwNHc
Even the 13 items in the list for the house are relatively minor.

The relevant Down's pages in the FCC Agenda are from P63 to P116 -
OM283_Agenda_-_22_February_2016 - Down's Estate.pdf
(3.44 MiB) Downloaded 186 times

Recommendation (Director Community Development)

That Council resolves to support Option 3 for a Stage 1 Feasibility Project as listed below for the utilisation of the Down’s Estate:
  1. Clean-up and maintain the site to a minimum standard, including fencing, that ensures a minimal risk to the public and liability for Council ($44,000)
  2. Continue Spiny Rush control program and undertake additional environmental management requirements for the site as needed ($7,000)
  3. Demolish the buildings ($20,000)
  4. Support the DECWG proposal to establish a Steering Committee, refine the Master Plan with suitable community uses without the requirement for buildings ($6,000)
  5. Allow volunteers on-site to undertake approved activities. (Council requires all volunteers undertaking activities on Council's reserves to comply with a Code of Practice and to have an "Agreed Works Plan" in place. An example plan is attached for information purposes)
  6. Bring the revised Master Plan Report back to Council in June 2016

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Re: Down's Estate (Harry Down's farm in Old Wells Rd)

Postby Noel Tudball » Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:11 pm


:P We owe a big Thank You to FCC and everyone who has participated in and supported this Project ........ now the real work can finally start.

Here is the terrific news from the 22nd February FCC meeting ...... a special Thank You to those who attended.

A compromise between protecting (while evaluating) the main buildings and removing the lesser structures (to increase public safety and reduce risk) saw an alternate Motion passed unanimously.

I will need to await the Minutes for the exact wording because it was displayed onscreen and not in the agenda, but essentially, the new Motion is an amendment of Agenda Option 1 to include part of Option 3:

That Council resolves to support a Feasibility Project as listed below for the utilization of the Down’s Estate:
  1. Clean-up and maintain the site to a minimum standard, including fencing, that ensures a minimal risk to the public and liability for Council ($44,000)
  2. Continue Spiny Rush control program and undertake additional environmental management requirements for the site as needed ($7,000)
  3. Support the DECWG proposal to establish a Steering Committee to assess the feasibility of the proposal and refine the Master Plan ($6,000)
  4. Allow volunteers on-site to undertake approved activities
  5. (Was effectively split into 2 parts):
    - Demolish the structures that are less-important and/or in poorer condition
    - Defer a decision on the main buildings until completion of Stage 1 of the DECWG proposal (Feasibility Study)
  6. Bring the revised Master Plan Report back to Council in June 2016
We have our first meeting next week and will keep you apprised of progress.


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Re: Down's Estate (Harry Down's farm in Old Wells Rd)

Postby Noel Tudball » Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:04 pm


FCC Press Release:

http://www.frankston.vic.gov.au/Your_Council/Media_and_Publications/Latest_News/Council_responds_to_community_interest_in_Downs_Estate

Council responds to community interest in Down's Estate

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Council has responded to the interest from some community members committed to restoring the Down's Estate historical farmstead in Seaford.

At the February 22 Council meeting, Councillors agreed to work with the Down's Estate Community Working Group (DECWG) to allow them to set up a Steering Committee and provide Council with a Master Plan for the future of the site.

Over recent years, the site has fallen into disrepair and has been struck several times by vandals.

“While Council undertook an assessment of the property structures to determine which of them were structurally unsafe,” said the Mayor.

“Council was unanimous that all of the structures identified as unsafe need to be demolished, it supported working with the community working group, to determine long-term plans for the site.”

The Municipal Building Surveyor’s Report revealed that the structures that are unsafe and need to be demolished include:
· The front double carport
· All rear outbuildings
· Concrete water tank and windmill Frame
· The chicken pen

Down's Estate, which adjoins the RAMSAR-listed Seaford Wetlands, was once the homestead of renowned saddler and whip-maker Harry Down, and represents a significant historical connection for the community.

“There is also a rich indigenous history connected to the site which should be recognised,” said the Mayor.

“The fate of Down's Estate has been long debated.”

In 2007, Council purchased the property, in an agreement with other Victorian Government agencies, to ensure the ongoing protection of the wildlife surrounding the Seaford Wetlands.

“DELWP and Melbourne Water also purchased surrounding properties, in a bid to protect the natural environment and heritage of the area,” said the Mayor.

According to the Mayor, the community interest in Down's Estate has sparked a number of conversations around the site’s potential.

“There have been a number of exciting ideas raised about how to best revive and showcase the farmstead; these include: transforming Down's Estate into an eco-park with an on-site café and educational historical tours, similar to CERES or the Collingwood Children’s Farm.”

The newly formed DECWG Steering Committee will present a revised Master Plan to Council in June 2016.

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Re: Down's Estate (Harry Down's farm in Old Wells Rd)

Postby Noel Tudball » Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:25 pm

Attachments
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Re: Down's Estate (Harry Down's farm in Old Wells Rd)

Postby Noel Tudball » Tue Apr 12, 2016 3:33 pm


Since our meeting with FCC on February 29 to establish the Steering Committee for the 3-month feasibility study, we have met 3 more times.

The committee comprises 3 Officers from the FCC Biodiversity Department, representatives from Melbourne Water and Westernport Biosphere, 3 representatives from our Down’s Estate Community Working Group (DECWG) plus invited guests who can contribute to the topics being covered at a particular meeting.

So far we have covered agreement on different zones at Down’s Estate to establish their ecological profiles, requirements and principles which should apply to them and their usage, the projected use of the buildings on site as well as the kind of governance structure that would be most appropriate for community involvement.

It has been a very productive process to date with all parties working hard to establish the most appropriate and viable usage of this site which meets the needs and aspirations of the community (via DECWG) and also addresses key management objectives of Council.

We have established some subgroups to consider specific interest areas including the Indigenous and white settler history of the site, the growing of food onsite using permaculture principles and the establishment of a spiritual or contemplation space, which may include a Labyrinth. Other projects proposed for the site are even more comprehensive and connect many different areas of interest such as education, training, community gatherings, meetings and events.

We invite anyone interested in the Project to contact us and we are always at the Seaford Farmers’ Market on the 3rd Sunday of each month at the Seaford Community Committee stall - see http://www.seafordcc.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=94

DECWG Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/674110345965853/photos/a.674305062613048.1073741828.674110345965853/1077652675611616/?type=3

SCC Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/SeafordCommunityCommittee/photos/a.1116970115001910.1073741828.1087889601243295/1195029853862602/?type=3

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Re: Down's Estate (Harry Down's farm in Old Wells Rd)

Postby Noel Tudball » Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:17 pm


The Steering Committee Feasibility phase is drawing to a close, following many productive meetings, intensive discussions and preparation of documents.

Recommendations to Council are being prepared for an FCC meeting in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned for more encouraging information ... and the FCC meeting date ... soon.

​The Group again thanks you all for your continued support and interest ... invites anyone interested in the Project to contact them.

They are always at the Seaford Farmers’ Market on the 3rd Sunday of each month at the Seaford Community Committee stall - see http://www.seafordcc.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=94
Next Market is 19th June.

- DECWG Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/674110345965853
- SCC Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/SeafordCommunityCommittee




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Re: Down's Estate (Harry Down's farm in Old Wells Rd)

Postby Noel Tudball » Fri Jul 15, 2016 2:02 am



The new motion to approve a community use project is scheduled for the Frankston City Council meeting
next Monday, 18 July, 2016 starting at 7pm
The Agenda is here - http://www.frankston.vic.gov.au/Your_Council/Council_and_Committee_Meetings/Council_Agendas_and_Minutes_2016

Everyone is welcome to attend this public meeting - indeed, your support would be appreciated.

It has been a long journey for the community working group to reach this point and we are very hopeful that a new and exciting journey is just ahead, where the community will finally be able to get involved in creating interesting and positive environmental and community projects at Down’s Estate.

Our group finished Steering Committee meetings with Council Officers at the end of May. We believe that together we were able to make sufficient progress in addressing the feasibility our proposal to enable a launch of the Community Amalgamated Use project. The Council Staff participating in the meetings informed us at the conclusion of the last meeting that they would recommend in their report to Council that we can proceed to a staged implementation.

We greatly appreciate the support we have received from Council Officers and from many different groups along the way, including Seaford Community Committee, Frankston Environmental Friends Network and Patterson River Secondary College.

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Re: Down's Estate (Harry Down's farm in Old Wells Rd)

Postby Noel Tudball » Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:55 pm


Thank you to all who attended the FCC meeting to lend your support.
An excellent result of the FCC meeting on 18th July was the unanimous adoption of Option 4.
The wording was changed slightly on the night – details soon - but the essence is as per the Agenda - click to view photo below.

Now the opportunity is really open for YOU to get involved with your ideas. Please contact the group (or the SCC) to get involved.

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Re: Down's Estate (Harry Down's farm in Old Wells Rd)

Postby Noel Tudball » Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:10 pm


A further update just to hand from the Group ...........

A great result for the community!

Our group is very happy to announce to the Frankston community that on Monday night, Council unanimously approved DECWG to start work on a community use project at Down's Estate. This will begin by the formation of an Incorporated Association and we will be letting community members know in the near future how they can be a part of bringing this very special place back to life, for everyone to appreciate and enjoy.

This moment has been 4 years in the making and it is wonderful to finally have Council approval. We have had good support in the last 4 months from Council Officers, local politicians and the community to achieve this outcome.

We welcome new people to this start up process and will be using Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Downs-Estate-Community-Working-Group-674110345965853/ - and other local venues to put up regular updates now we have reached this stage.

Thank you again for your interest and we look forward to meeting you at the Seaford Farmers' Market community stall or contact us by leaving a message online or use our mail address.

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Re: Down's Estate (Harry Down's farm in Old Wells Rd)

Postby Noel Tudball » Fri Aug 05, 2016 5:49 pm


A further report on the unanimous support by FCC for the community project.
Yell out if you have ideas and/or want to get involved.
https://www.facebook.com/SeafordCommunityCommittee/posts/1266160790082841
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1148444851865731&id=674110345965853


Source: http://baysidenews.com.au/2016/08/01/homestead-where-the-heart-is/

A COMMUNITY group working to historic farm buildings at Down’s Estate in Seaford have been given 18 months to show that a farm homestead and large shed should not be demolished.
The Down’s Estate Community Working Group (DECWG) received unanimous backing from councillors at this month’s public council meeting to begin work on “a community use project”.

The group hopes an indigenous bush-food garden and permaculture site can be established at Down’s Estate alongside an indigenous cultural trail.

DECWG representative Maureen Griffin told councillors at the meeting that the group wants to work to save the farm homestead, formerly occupied by renowned whip and saddlemaker Harry Down, and a large shed on the site.
“We want to give it our best shot to save the house for the historic value and the story it tells,” she said.
“We have worked extremely hard for four years and we have had excellent support from [council] officers for the last three months in particular. We will give it everything we’ve got to make something for that house as well as that shed.”

A carport, outbuildings, water tank and windmill frame have been demolished due to being deemed unsafe.

The community group’s members will now carry out maintenance and weeding at Down’s Estate and undertake a basic restoration of the shed if funds can be found.
Weeding to control Spiny Rush on the estate is done by council using Melbourne Water grant funds so the weed does not enter the adjoining Ramsar-listed Seaford Wetlands.

Council officers recommended the DECWG become an incorporated entity to be eligible for council funding considered in future budgets.
Officers previously backed the demolition of the homestead and shed but Councillors decided to give the DECWG more time to prove the buildings can be saved for community use (‘Historic homestead saved’, The Times 7/3/16).

At this month’s meeting council officers again favoured demolishing the buildings but Councillors backed an option to “retain the house for a further 18 months with the option to renovate it contingent on funding availability and the progress of the DECWG program”.

First published in the Frankston Times – 1 August 2016

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Re: Down's Estate (Harry Down's farm in Old Wells Rd)

Postby Noel Tudball » Tue Sep 06, 2016 12:17 am


Hello community members!

Since July 18, we have been working to establish our Incorporated Association which is now a few weeks away and we will notify you when this is achieved. We will then negotiate a 12 month licence with Council and be starting some simple community activities on the Estate.

We will let community members know as soon as possible how they can be a part of bringing this very special place back to life.

We are very pleased to announce that we received a community grant from Frankston City Council which will assist with this start up. We will be one of the groups accepting a grant at the Mayor’s Picnic on September 11 (Monterey Community Park, North Frankston, 11am-3pm). We are part of the Frankston Environmental Friends Network stall and will be there during the day.

* We also are part of the Seaford Farmers' Market held on the 3rd Sunday of each month on the Seaford Community Committee stall.

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Re: Down's Estate (Harry Down's farm in Old Wells Rd)

Postby Noel Tudball » Sat Oct 01, 2016 12:40 pm


Great news!
The group is now incorporated as an Association and will be known as the Down’s Estate Community Project Inc.

The second excellent piece of news is that the group was successful in obtaining $700 towards governance and setting up costs in the Frankston Council Community grants.

"All of you following this story can say a big Hurray! with us. The next step is to negotiate a licence with Council."

We will keep you informed here and on Facebook.

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Re: Down’s Estate Community Project (2013-2016)

Postby Noel Tudball » Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:20 pm



This Topic covers all progress from September 20, 2013 to 1 October, 2016
All later news is here http://www.seafordcc.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=27
You may also notice that some important milestones have been moved from this Topic to their own (e.g. Frankston's Think Big, the first tree planting event and the Group's public documents).

Now is *really* your opportunity to get involved.


Links:


The Group changed its name to Down’s Estate Community Project Inc. on 1 October 2016.
The Down's Estate Community Working Group was formed on 28th January, 2014 and is comprised of Community Group representatives, collaborating to develop a visionary proposal for the land previously owned by Harry Down.

If you'd like to join or express support, please email the SCC (see below) or

downsestate@gmail.com.

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  • Down's Estate is located in Old Wells Rd, Seaford, roughly opposite the Frankston City Motorcycle Park
  • It is adjacent to, but not part of the Seaford Wetlands
  • It is the Estate of the late Mr Harry Down who bred horses, made internationally-renowned saddles and whips and ran a few cattle on his property
  • The land is now owned by Frankston City Council
  • An information session was held in July, 2012, during which options for its future use were discussed

The Friends of the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands describe it as:
"... parcel of land occupying 20.8 ha, ‘Down's Estate’, which adjoins the north-eastern corner of Seaford Swamp. This parcel of land is currently situated outside the Ramsar boundary."
http://www.edithvale-seaford-wetlands.org/wetlands-information.html

The first mention of Down's Estate in their newsletter - http://www.edithvale-seaford-wetlands.org/uploads/4/2/1/7/4217734/warbler_july12.pdf


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Noel Tudball
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