Queueing up at the Junction

The area in and around St Kilda Junction is in the process of becoming the next hot spot for Melbourne apartments. A healthy number of residential projects are at all stages of the development cycle, that being from design to construction.

This in turn has ruffled the feathers of local residents and the local responsible authority, the City of Port Phillip. Given residential towers up to 26 levels have been approved (by either planning minister Matthew Guy or VCAT) despite local opposition, the City of Port Phillip responded on 12th February 2013 by seeking to impose interim mandatory height controls over the St Kilda Rd South zone. The area covered is immediately south of St Kilda junction to Carlisle St.

The City of Port Phillip ordinary Council notes read as follows, "Resolves to request the Minister for Planning to use his powers pursuant to section 20(4) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, to prepare, adopt and approve an amendment to the Port Phillip Planning Scheme, to introduce mandatory height controls into the Port Phillip Planning Scheme for the St Kilda Road south area generally in accordance with the height requirements contained in this report on an interim basis for a period of two years...the lack of detailed design and height controls in the planning scheme were determining factors in the overturning of Council’s decisions by VCAT and the granting of the permits."

In effect the City of Port Phillip seeks the following:

Precinct 1
St Kilda Road – between Wellington Street and Alma Road
• Street wall height 10 metres
• Maximum building height – 26 metres
Precinct 2
St Kilda Road – between Alma Road and Carlisle Street
Wellington Street and Carlisle Street
• Street wall height 10 metres (8 metres in Carlisle & Wellington Street south side)
• Maximum building height – 14 metres (12 metres in Carlisle & Wellington Street south side.)

From the outside it seems the City of Port Phillip have been slow to react to an expanding number of apartment proposals, hence VCAT granting approval to a number of projects that both residents and local Council find to be excessive.

Given there is no binding height control overlay, VCAT deemed these projects to be appropriate. The reality is that Port Phillip's request that the Minister for Planning use his powers to approve an amendment to the Port Phillip Planning Scheme most likely will not eventuate. Minister Guy personally intervened to approve the tallest proposal in the area; 3-5 St Kilda Rd, quite possibly a sign the the state government has intentions of intensifying redevelopment around the junction, rather than restricting it.

Regardless of planning jostling between local and state bodies, the list of proposed and approved projects around the junction is extensive. Currently before VCAT is an application for an 18 level apartment tower at 42 Barkly St, whilst at 3-7 Alma Rd, an 8 level application is also under consideration. Further projects are shown below.

Allure - Currently under construction

2-8 St Kilda Rd - Site offered for sale and then withdrawn by Pace Development Group for future development

Octavia -  At sales with construction imminent

25-29 Alma Rd - Currently before VCAT

3-5 St Kilda Rd -  Approved with Caydon expected to launch sales mid-year

The significant number of projects above are joined by another, though this time north of the Junction. Shorley Pty Ltd is waiting on the decision of VCAT regarding its proposed tower at 30 Punt Rd, Windsor. Stonnington City Council failed to grant a permit within the prescribed time period, hence the developers move to resolution at VCAT. This site (shown below) abuts Queens Way and would replace a lowrise office building.

Initial plans involved a green wave-like apartment building designed by Terry Harper Architects. 30 Punt Rd was to contain 58 basement car parks, 48 bicycle and storage spaces, a 43sqm office space and 78 apartments. Due to opposition from the Shrine of Remembrance trustees, the planned 17 level, 63.75m tower has been reduced to 59 apartments, 13 levels and 52m in order to protect the Shrine vista sightline, even though 3-5 St Kilda Rd is approved at 91m directly behind!

Resident action group JAAG St Kilda contend the following, "The apartment tower is far too tall, is visually bulky, lacks any set backs, creates over looking and shadowing, lacks any landscaping, fails to meet local planning laws and seriously exacerbates existing serious parking problems at the Junction."

As of yet there has been no decision released by VCAT


Images below sourced from planning document and © Terry Harper Architects

Aerial with site highlighted
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