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Nightingale Brunswick gets trounced at VCAT for not having car parking

Alastair Taylor's picture

The project's architect, Jeremy McLeod from Breathe Architecture – which also designed and oversaw Brunswick's award-winning Commons apartments, which is over the road and similarly has no car parking – said each buyer was saving $30,000 per dwelling by not having parking.
"Why should someone who doesn't have a car have to pay for a basement car park?" asked McLeod.
Because, according to VCAT, there is nothing as convenient as owning an automobile.
"No such arrangements … are as convenient as private car ownership", VCAT senior member Russell Byard wrote in his judgment, handed down last week.
And because Victorian planning laws require each one or two-bed apartment to have one space allocated to it – although councils can waive this requirement, as Moreland had for Nightingale.
Local Labor MP Jane Garrett said encouraging walking, riding and catching public transport was necessary but so were parking options so streets didn't become choked with cars.
But Greens leader Greg Barber, a Brunswick resident, said the rules on parking were "crazy".
"Forcing people in public transport-rich areas to buy a car space with their apartment whether they want it or not is nuts," he said.
If a developer could sell a project without car parking spaces, they should be able to do so, he said, "as long as the council never gives those residents a permit to park on the street".

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Alastair Taylor's picture
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Melbourne_Fragments's picture

I don't get it.. we want more sustainable development, yet councils are demanding more space for carbon emitting vehicles at every turn

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Bilby's picture

Not to mention a massive impost on buyers, a huge waste of embodied energy and space, and construction of basements that can't easily be adapted in future for other uses. Talk about backward planning! This is the most erratic and out of touch ruling from VCAT in recent times ... and that's coming from a heritage activist who has seen enough poor heritage decisions from the Tribunal to sink the proverbial ... this one takes the cake.

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Alastair Taylor's picture

Public Service Announcement: The Age article has been updated with links to the VCAT ruling (it's not on austlii as yet).

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Mark Baljak's picture

ridiculous outcome

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Peter Maltezos's picture

As ridiculous as it is, about 90% of Melburnians would probably agree with VCAT!

Politics people, appeal to the lowest common denominator. sad

I collect, therefore I am.

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Adrian's picture

Clearly this is a double edged sword yes absolutely discourage car use in this area but several if not the majority of owners are going to have a car so do you want them dumped on the surrounding streets ?

The obvious solution is to make the purchase of a car space optional but to give that opportunity means they have to be planned and built in advance the question is what to if they are not taken up by the buyer do they get sold off to somewhere else or converted Into common areas ..

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Mark Baljak's picture

Surrounding streets are 1-2hr parks if I recall. No scope to park your car as a resident on the street

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

Overall it sounds like the VCAT member thought that the whole development concept of The Commons and Nightingale was just as much about marketing and increasing developer profits rather that concern for the environment and providing more affordable housing.

It (The Commons) likewise is supposed to provide affordable housing but affordable there really means cheaper development costs, and not necessarily cheaper housing for purchases or tenants. A two bedroom flat there is reported to have been sold for over $600,000 which, on today’s prices, does not strike me as justifying the description of being affordable. Cheapness of construction may mean no more than a larger profit for the developer, bearing in mind the attractiveness, from many points of view, of the location of the review site and The Commons.

I think the VCAT member was also swayed by the evidence presented that some of the residents in The Commons have cars and ware currently parking in the residential area across the railway tracks despite all of the efforts of the developer to prevent this.

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Bilby's picture

If residents were parking legally in an alternative location, I don't see the problem. It is well within council's powers to change the parking rules for areas within the municipality under increased parking pressure for whatever reason.

If they were parking illegally, then the usual system of fines would soon impact on that.

As to affordability, what other apartment complex in Australia is sold subject to a caveat on title that ensures prices increases are tracked by suburb median price? Also, is affordability to be considered only in absolute terms or relative to the quality of the design and build? Absolute price seems a naive approach that encourages a 'race to the bottom' in terms of design and amenity.

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