Moonee Valley Racecourse Master Plan kicks again

In complete contrast to the Caulfield Racecourse master plan which seemingly gained approval without incident, Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC) has found itself mired in a bog of Council discontent, resident anger and most perilous of all, political points scoring.  Initially put forward during 2011, the intended redevelopment of Moonee Valley Racecourse (MVRC) into a contemporary facility intermingled with swathes high density living has to date been a slow and unwieldy process, so much so State Planning minister Matthew Guy has appointed an Advisory Committee to oversee the process.

Recently MVRC released an updated master plan containing numerous changes or refinements over previous schemes.  I could not possibly do the brace of planning documents justice, particularly in a article this length, so rather I'll touch upon a handful of notable aspects of the revised document.

  • 25 levels...barely.

Whereas the previous master plan carried a string of 25 level towers along the eastern border abutting Tullamarine Freeway, the revised master plan sees a solitary 25 level residential tower located within the western precinct which itself sees a greater concentration of dwellings.  Plus Architecture have submitted alternative massing models for both the western and northern precincts that see the overall number of tall buildings diminished or scaled back. 

Increased west precinct density if possible due to the realignment of the track to the eastern boundary.  Consequently a total of 4500 people over 2500 apartments and townhouses are expected to call the redevelopment home in due course.

  • 14 design principles for success

Quoting the master plan, "The Urban Design Philosophy for the Moonee Valley Racecourse Master Plan aims to translate the Vision for the site into a robust and logical set of urban design principles that inform all levels of design and detail for the development of the site.  These principles will set the parameters for what development of the site is trying to achieve in an urban design sense."

If adhered to these principles should lead to a quality development overall.  Those principles that catch they eye include:
> prioritise people over cars and buildings
> create a highly connected place by engaging with the surrounding community through the public realm and public open spaces
> provide a diversity of housing choice
> activate street level as comfortable and safe ‘people spaces’ for all hours
> create a precinct of environmental sustainability initiatives to benefit local residents and the wider community
> provide community facilities complementing the Moonee Ponds centre that blend seamlessly with the surrounding community
> provide excellent public transport links and initiatives to integrate with local walking, cycling, tram, train and bus networks
  • A green grandstand?

The grandstand operations plan devised by global design firm Populous outlines MVRC's expectation of a new 5000 seat grandstand relocated to the northern border of the racecourse. The grandstand in part will sit below Wilson Street, whilst also slope away at its higher levels from Wilson Street providing passersby with a less dominant built form capable of blending in with the immediate residential area.  Whilst only a preliminary image, the 160m long structure is slated to carry green walls in order to break the sheer scale of the building.  Delivered properly, this could be a spectacular result!

  • Catering for all

As touched upon earlier, MVRC have commissioned a report which focuses heavily on the all-inclusive aspects of the racecourse redevelopment.  With a development timeframe of 15-20 years,  approximately 4500 new residents are expected to call the area home upon completion; of those 60% are expected to live in 2 Bed apartments, 30% in 1 Bed apartments with 10% aimed toward 3 Bed apartments.

See below a forecast breakdown of Target Population Projections for key Community Infrastructure Age Cohorts. Within the western precinct a kindergarten, public art installations, community meeting facilities, early learning centre, a maternal child health services complex and a new park can be expected.

For those inclined the full PDF download schedule can be found here hosted upon the Moonee Valley City Council website, otherwise browse the images below to gain a quick understanding of what Moonee Valley Racing Club has in store for its prized redevelopment. State Government body DPCD will hold a number of meetings in coming weeks, including public hearings commencing the week of Monday 30th September.


All images © Moonee Valley Racing Club

Moonee Valley Racecourse in its current guise
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