Is it a case of natural progression or development too far? City of Yarra is currently considering an 11 level residential application located at 243-247 Queens Parade in Clifton Hill.
Located within a wedge of land known as Clifton Hill Interchange, the site and surrounds are earmarked for residential redevelopment via both State Planning Policy Framework and the Local Planning Policy Framework. The latter decrees that built form of 5-6 storeys are ideal "Unless the proposal can achieve benefits such as significant upper level setbacks, architectural design excellence and positive contribution to the enhancement of the public domain."
Northcote-based Fieldwork Projects make their debut on Urban Melbourne with 243-247 Queens Parade in Clifton Hill. In designing the project Fieldwork have sought "Close consultation with Yarra City Council to achieve a highly suitable planning outcome for the site. Close attention has been paid to Council's Municipal Strategic Statement, including housing diversity, urban design principles and the site's strategic potential for absorbing a higher density of Yarra residents."
Generally the building consists of four elements:
The building is designed to be sensitive and responsive to the existing context while being mindful of the changing nature of the area and the likely higher density development which will eventually surround it.
Vertically ribbed precast panels are broken in places by vertical aluminium fins and dynamic, operable bi-fold shutters. Lower levels feature timber bi-folds as does the underside of the footpath canopy while street frontage is a mixture of white and charcoal brickwork.
The building's required setback of the upper form allows for a landscaped terrace area supplemented by an indoor communal area. Landscaping and common vegetable garden aside, the terrace is framed by a feature tri-level staircase and includes a kitchen, dining facilities and the ubiquitous barbeque.
Recall that City of Yarra have nominated 5-6 levels as their preferred built form outcome, yet have left the door open for increases subject to factors such as design excellence. During 2013 Council rejected the adjoining 217-241 Queens Parade development at 8 levels which was consequently approved by VCAT.
At 11 levels could anyone envisage City of Yarra approving this development? The answer for most is no; therefore would any reader also doubt VCAT will be called upon once more? And another question: why allow such ambiguity in planning controls when it seems the end result is costly legal representation and wasted time?
No doubt the rationale behind the controls is there, but is seems a pointless exercise by City of Yarra to allow scope for height increases and then rejected them promptly, as has been the case on the neighbouring site and elsewhere within Yarra. The final outcome will be interesting.