The local resident’s group RAID, Residents about Integrated Development, have organised two major meetings in their campaign to modify the proposed development for site at 101 – 117 Canning Street, North Melbourne.
The following link gives a brief report on these meetings and outlines the eight major questions the group wished to ask the Woolworth’s representatives at the meeting: Woolworth’s update20oct11
The Group has produced a poster which highlights what is and is not acceptable as development in our local area. The Association is supportive of the principles underlying this approach to planning: FINAL_RAID Poster
West Melbourne has been jolted into the reality of planning politics in the twenty-first century with official support for the ten storey development on the Zagame site in King Street by both the State Government and the Melbourne City Council. If approved, this project establishes a precedent for wholesale high rise redevelopment of West Melbourne and North Melbourne, at heights and shapes that were not possible under previous planning regimes. It introduces all that is ugly, intrusive and inefficient in building form and will do little to raise overall standards of amenity for inner city residents. Look at Docklands and Southbank as the models.
Around thirty local residents of this Roden Street vicinity attended a briefing meeting in the Zagame showroom on Monday, 26 July at 6.00pm. The meeting, hosted by the Zagame Family and their advisors, outlined the details of their application for the residential development of their very large 5000m site – Remember; large sites equal extra large developments. The application has been made to the State Department of Planning as the project is over 25000m2 in size.
The project features 259 units
- 119 one bedroom
- 118 two bedroom
- 8 three bedroom
- Plus a number of multi-storey units facing the streets.
The boundary units are the only part of the development which conforms with the current Design and Development Overlay(DDO) over this area in that they are not over 14 m(4 Stories) in height. Unfortunately, the main body of units are part of a ten storey ‘boomerang’ spine that stretches from close to the Roden King Streets corner to the middle of the site on the south west boundary ( allowing for a 5m setback) and then parallel with that boundary toward Stanley Street. It is this ten storey development that is of most concern to the residents. It is completely out of kilter with the heights that have been traditionally part of this area. We do not need this sort of Docklands style development in West Melbourne.
Other concerns that come immediately to mind.
1 If we believe the developers, and we do not have much reason not to, they were strongly encouraged, by both the Council and the State Department of Planning to develop this site to this level of density and height, and possibly even more. This is our State Government and our Council, so democratic in their image, that are so clearly working against us as residents. The up-coming State election in November provides us with the opportunity to test the responsiveness of all candidates, and especially the incumbent ALP, on these matters. As for the Council, we have been dudded by both the Kennett and Bracks/Brumby Governments who ensured that the Council does not represent us as resident ratepayers.
2 The developers seem to believe that resident objections are only based on their loss of lines of sight toward the City. Our concerns are broader than that. Privacy and overlooking are certainly part of this, but this was trivialised by the developers at the meeting. We are also concerned that we do not need the shadows cast by these towers denying broad areas to the south access to the sun. The designers thrive in a planning environment that stipulates all shadow diagrams should be done at the equinox and ignore the rights of others who are overshadowed badly through the winter months around the June solstice. This project shows commendable commitment to using solar energy on its rooves. However,
- How many other sites are they disadvantaging through the shadows that they create, unless they go higher and higher.
- How many lines of sight will also be lost by this wasteful competition?
- And what about aesthetics? What ugliness and bulk do we have to look at on a daily basis!
- What congestion do we have to tolerate on the streets and in the shops? There are not enough car parks on site for one for each unit.
3 When placed under some resistance to their plan, the developers threatened to ignore the residents and plough ahead with the support of the Department of Planning and the Council. They claimed they did not have to brief us. They did not concede that this proposal would have benefitted, had they consulted with residents before the plans were prepared. When questioned, they stated that they would not compromise on height.
- When will the locals have some constructive say in the future development of the ‘community’ in which they live?
4 The orientation of the high rise does not utilise the northerly aspect in an efficient way.
Where to Now?
The developers agreed to inform all participants who provided their email and postal addresses of where they could access a copy of the plans.
1 We have a list of email addresses to form the basis of future communication
2 We need to clarify the right to object and the process we must follow with the Department of Planning.
3 We need to maximise the number of objections and letters to the press and appropriate authorities.
4 We need to work on the Minister’s process for making a decision and try to make it transparent, in terms of how and where the decision is made and the criteria on which it might be based.
5 Do we want to appeal the Department of Planning decision to VCAT, should it go against us, as it may well do? We will not have the Council’s back to ride on as we did with 87-101 Roden Street.
6 Our activities do need to have as much support as we can generate. Every one must be prepared to pull their weight and provide funds, if necessary.
7 Do we need to exert political pressure especially on Bronwyn Pike as our local member and a senior Minister in the Government that allowed these projects to be taken out of the hands of the Council?
8 Do we wish to organise some public protest meeting/s to let the politicians know what we think of their planning scheme?
9 We also need to consider the future impact on our area of the Council’s new Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) It has the potential to make the planning of this area between Roden Street and Dudley Street much worse in terms of allowing height limits to increase and towers to proliferate. The developers made indirect reference to these proposed changes in justifying the project.
10 Dare I suggest a meeting to consider these issues?
The NWMA’s submission sent on the 15 January 2010 to the Hon Richard Wynne, Minister for Housing on the proposed redevelopment of La Trobe Close. For readers information
Re 210-232 Chetwynd Street, 21-43 Courtney Street and 181-197 Howard Street, North Melbourne.
We wish to make the following submission to the Minister for Housing, Richard Wynne MP, on the Government’s proposal for the Latrobe Close redevelopment on the corner of Howard, Chetwynd and Courtney Streets, North Melbourne.
The North and West Melbourne Association (NWMA), through its predecessor the North Melbourne Association, was established in 1967 and has operated continuously since that date. Its substantial membership consists of residents and workers from North and West Melbourne. The Association and its members were involved in the initial consultation with the government authorities and its consultants regarding the purchase of this site and its proposed redevelopment. Undertakings were given at that time to the community regarding a number of issues in relation to this site, particularly child care and open space.
The Association became involved in this latest proposal for this site when it became public knowledge and was well advanced in government and Council processes in late November/early December, 2009. By this time, the Local Member for Melbourne, Bronwyn Pike, had been briefed by the Department of Housing in late October 2009. The City of Melbourne Planning officers had also had a number of meetings with Government representatives and their consultants on this redevelopment.
The NWMA is very concerned about the quality of the consultation, the planning process surrounding this development and the situation we now find ourselves in. The Association believes this proposal fails every principle of good governance and proper and orderly planning of this area, apart from the provision of increased social housing in the area.
The concerns of the NWMA are as follows:
Height and Built Form
The height and built form is grossly excessive and should be no greater than 9 metres and should be consistent with the built form of the Residential 1 parts of North Melbourne. The proposal as it stands creates an alarming precedent, should it ever be approved and constructed. It would essentially open up most of the inner Melbourne Residential 1 zone to inappropriate high rise development.
The Association also believes that the building proposed has little relationship with the surrounding streetscapes and, in fact, detracts from their value and amenity.
The proposal has little or no regard for the heritage built form in the area, where it is proposed to demolish or significantly modify important heritage buildings on the site. It is of concern to the Association that our Council did not vigorously pursue this matter with the Department. Other submissions will deal with this issue in more detail. The Association requests that an independent heritage advisor be consulted to assess all structures on the site and to advise on the appropriate form of any new development.
• Due to the inadequate public consultation and lack of publicly available documentation on this development, it has not been possible for the NWMA to make an informed response to the issues around sustainability. The NWMA is of the view that this development should not be designed using minimum standards but should be state of the art in its environmental performance standards. We also believe that the height and density and orientation of the current proposal does not promote good environmental practice.
Traffic and Parking
The Association believes that development as proposed by the Government does not provide sufficient resident and visitor car-parking on site. We have been advised that this development will not have access to the resident parking scheme administered by the Council. Given that all kerbside and centre of road parking in the area is time limited, we believe that this mix is a recipe for disaster. Where will the residents and visitors park? This reinforces our conclusion that the proposal represents an over development, and is inappropriate for the site. The Association is of the strong opinion that Government should be leading by example and make an informed assessment of the actual needs for parking and traffic and not rely on the minimum provisions prescribed under the planning scheme.
The Association is totally opposed to any modification to centre of road medians and nature strips in the surrounding streets.
Current Public Housing Stock on site
The Association is totally opposed to the sale of the area identified as Stage 2 in the development onto the private market. We believe that this important family and other accommodation is of a reasonable standard to be upgraded, and retained in public ownership.
Child Care and Open Space
When the site was purchased, amongst many other things, agreement was given for the construction of an employment and community based child care facility incorporating a shared open space component on the site of the proposed stage 1 of the development (the warehouse at 210 Chetwynd Street and the adjoining vacant land to the North).
Several attempts were made by both the Community and the Council to have the proposed childcare facility and open space developed – without success. The Association now believes that the need for quality early childhood education and care in inner Melbourne has reached a critical level and the obligation on the landowners to provide such a facility should not be allowed to lapse, as it was part of the original agreement with the community.
The NWMA recommends that:
1. The staged development proposed for the entire site in its current form be abandoned.
2. In consultation with the Association and the community, a strategy be drawn up for the future use and development of the site, including
a. More appropriate built form and scale
b. Recognition of heritage issues
c. Appropriate tenancy and occupancy mix in public ownership
d. Satisfactory resolution of traffic and parking issues
3. The Government approach the Church of England Property Trust with a view to acquiring the land immediately to the South of the site fronting Queensberry and Chetwynd Streets. This will allow for an expanded site that will accommodate an appropriate social housing development with a much-needed early childhood education facility included. We believe the process for the sale of this land within the Church is well advanced.
4. Any planning to be undertaken on this site for the provision of an early childhood education centre be subject to consultation with the Melbourne City Council in the preparation of its ‘Municipal Early Years Plan’ for families and children aged 0-12 years for the 2009-2013 period.
5. The planning and implementation of this development should incorporate the highest available standards of environmental performances and be an exemplar for buildings of this residential type in the same way as Council House 2 has been for commercial administrative buildings.
6. Consideration be given to the future of the eastern carriageway of Chetwynd Street between Courtney and Queensberry Streets for public open space.
7. The existing housing stock on the site be retained for public housing and that it be upgraded.
Kevin Chamberlin and Bill Cook
On behalf of the North and West Melbourne Association Inc.
On Thursday 3 December 2009, the NWMA in conjunction with the Latrobe Close Group, convened a public meeting at the Castle Hotel, attended by 24 people.
Latrobe Close is bounded by Chetwynd, Courtney and Howard Streets North Melbourne, where the State Government, with Federal Government funding propose to construct a seven storey block of residential units. This proposal has been opposed by the Council of the City of Melbourne.
As a result of public protest and pressure applied to the local member, the Minister for Housing, Richard Wynne has agreed to defer a decision on the this development to allow further consultation to take place between Monday December 7, 2009 and closing on Friday January 15, 2010. The public meeting has appointed a sub-committee where further members are welcome, to prepare a community submission.
This sub-committee will be meeting on Wednesday 9th at 6 to 7,30 pm at the Castle Hotel, first floor, corner of Wreckyn and Courtney Streets North Melbourne – all welcome.
It is important that members of the community make their own submission on this development to the Minister for Housing, with copies to local MP’s Bronwyn Pike
A briefing meeting on Latrobe Close was held for local residents at the office of local member Bronwyn Pike at 6.00pm on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 with between fifty and sixty people from the surrounding area attending. As well as Minister Pike and representatives from her office, there was a representative from Minister Wynn’s office, project team members from the Department of Human Services and representatives from town planning consultants, Davis Langdon.
Despite the number of experts in attendance, many of the questions asked by the locals failed to receive convincing answers. It was all about trusting the experts, who inevitably gave answers that did not conform with the opinions of the attendees as to how the development should proceed, especially with the lack of consultation on the part of the proponents and the appalling lack of a proper due process to deal with the planning of these projects involving State defined ‘social housing’ and ‘nation-building’ money.
Examples of the ‘spin’ answers include:
- The justification of seven stories, being objectively determined by the proper design team process – nothing to do with the Ministerial brief!
- The project could go to seven stories because there was no design or development overlay to restrict the height – only a heritage overlay.
- The trees to be removed were decided on the recommendation of an arborist.
- The justification of the small number of car parks, particularly in the social housing section on the basis of predetermined ratios (.43 per unit in the social housing and .77 per unit in the Stage 2), which took no account of the local conditions or the needs of existing residents and business.
- Failure to answer the question about whether Stage 2 would actually be done, as it was not to be funded with Federal money.
There were a number of speakers who raised questions about the design and management of the social housing. A lack of confidence in Melbourne Affordable Housing to consult with and, to manage the relocation of exiting residents was voiced and questions were raised about the high number of one bedroom units.
Our local member, who is also the Minister of Education, answered concerns about how Errol Street Primary School would manage an influx of new local students.
Questions raised about the existing open space on Chetwynd Street and in the development were not adequately answered. The open access claimed by the experts as recreation space was clearly mainly for access, even though it was denied that it was a gated community.
The question about an agreement with the State Government that had been made long ago to use the Chetwynd Street open space for a child care centre appeared to be news to many of the planners.
Many other questions were asked, such as whether the medians would be breached and whether links could be made to the Church.
There was great concern about the measurement of heights, as the plans measured height above sea level and not above ground level, which gives a much more realistic picture of how high the buildings are relatively. This created difficulties as the site dropped by 4m from east to west.
Our local member will take the issues raised at the meeting to the Minister of Housing, Richard Wynne, for further discussion. It was not clear how this would be reported back to residents and local business, although a comprehensive list of attendees and their addresses were collected.