The Future Melbourne (Planning) Committee makes some decisive calls

The City of Melbourne's Future (Planning) Committee convened for their monthly meeting on Tuesday evening, delivering their recommendations on a number of planning applications within central Melbourne.

Of the five applications, four were referred to City of Melbourne for comment by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP); two received conditional support, one received City of Melbourne's objection and another was deferred to next month's meeting. The fifth application saw council express concerns with the proposal.

An overview of each case is provided below.

TP-2015-515: 383-405 King Street, West Melbourne

Haileybury College elevation.

Haileybury College's plans for a city campus gained support from council with the committee resolving to issue a Notice of Decision to Grant Permit. The application lodged in June sought approval for refurbishment works to the existing building for use as an education centre, comprising of an Early Learning Facility (ages 3 and 4), Junior School (Years Prep to Year 4) and Senior School (Years 9 to 12).

The application received a total of 62 objections during the advertising period relating predominantly to traffic concerns, with council citing key issues for consideration such as the appropriateness of the proposed use in its location, proposed student numbers, potential amenity impacts for residents, proposed signage and car parking, traffic and access arrangements.

The proposed use is supported as access to education services it is considered to be of benefit to the local community and wider municipality. Subject to a reduction in student numbers and standard amenity conditions being imposed on the permit, the proposed use will not have unreasonable impact on the amenity of the surrounding area.

To ensure the proposed traffic and car parking arrangements are appropriately managed and adhered to, permit conditions are included requiring a formal traffic management plan and green travel plan. Vic Roads is supportive of installing new pedestrians crossing and introducing a new school speed zone in King Street which would assist in pedestrian safety.

City of Melbourne

Ministerial referral TPM-2014-47: 65-71 Haig Street, Southbank

65-71 Haig Street.

Covered by Urban Melbourne in April, the 55-storey 142 metre tower designed by Fender Katsalidis and abutting the West Gate freeway has received a mixed review from council; concerns relating to the appropriateness of its height and the layout of some apartments.

Despite this council believes these concerns can be addressed via conditions of permit to reduce the overall height to a maximum of 125 metres and via an improved internal layout to selected apartments within the tower.

…it is acknowledged that there have been recent approvals for buildings in excess of 100 metres on Haig Street such as 57-59 Haig Street and 61-63 Haig Street which are approved at 122 metres and 120 metres respectively. The proposed height is therefore not consistent with the approvals at these sites and therefore a 145.4 metre building is not considered appropriate as it risk creating an undesirable built form character that influences future developments to proposes similar or even taller heights.

City of Melbourne

Ministerial referral TPM-2015-1: 32-44 Flinders Street, Melbourne

32-44 Flinders Street in context.

Now at 56 levels and 181 metres - down from an initial height of 65-storeys and 212 meters - the Planning Officer's report to the Future Melbourne Committee recommends that council object to the proposal on the grounds of height, plot ratio, setbacks and internal amenity to apartments and that the proposal represents an over development of the site.

This is based on a plot ratio of 30:1 across the site, despite the application not being affected by Amendment C262 which calls for a plot ratio of 24:1 and setbacks of five metres to street frontages, or the proposal sitting within a height control area. 32-44 Flinders Street's overshadowing of Birrarung Marr is also a cause of concern for council.

The proposed tower would be perceived as a wall of towers lining the northern side of Flinders Street. The tower would both overwhelm and overshadow Flinders Street and overshadow one of the City’s most significant public parks - Birrarung Marr. The continuation of Spark Lane connecting to Sargood Lane is a welcome contribution to Melbourne’s laneway network.

Having regard to the immediate context, the proposed tower is considered to be an over scaled proposition. We recommend an overall reduction in car parking and for the applicant to further increase inhabited space within the podium.

For the northern component we suggest consideration for moving the entry foyer closer to Flinders Lane. For the southern component we recommend a significant reduction in height to ensure no additional overshadowing of Birrarung Marr, increased setbacks, and the exclusion of ‘saddle back (sic)’ bedrooms.

City of Melbourne

Ministerial referral TPM-2015-12: 346-376 Queen Street, Melbourne

Queens Place's highly articulated podium.

The twin tower proposal is known as Queens Place and allows for dual schemes: an OLS conforming scheme of 68-storeys (206 and 209 metres respectively) and an alternate non-conforming scheme 79-storeys (246 and 249 metres). The applicants submitted revised designs on September 3 with the following key changes:

  • Minimum five metre setbacks provided from the proposed towers to all street frontages
  • The core of Tower 1 has shifted approximately four metres to the east
  • Ground Level escalators have shifted to allow for improved public realm outcomes
  • Increase in active uses adjacent to La Trobe Street
  • Revision of A’Beckett Street connection to plaza and shifting of airlock location
  • Increase chamfered setback to La Trobe Street podium at levels 3 and 4 to open views to Welsh Church

The proposal received a unanimous vote of support from the City of Melbourne, with the final decision to be made by the Planning Minister. An application to penetrate the OLS will need to be made to aviation authorities in order to proceed with the 79-storey twin design.

The site sits within an area that is undergoing significant change with a number of high-rise developments recently completed, under construction or approved and yet to be constructed. Based on a clear understanding of the context, the proposed development is generally consistent with the emerging built form character of Hoddle Grid and the community’s vision of a bold, inspirational and sustainable city.

The proposed development offers a reasonable response to the opportunities and constraints of the site and its immediate context. However, this relies on permit conditions requiring key changes including minimum five metre tower setbacks to all street frontages, improved public realm outcomes at ground level, improved accessibility of new through block links and an increase in active uses adjacent to La Trobe Street, improved apartment layouts including deletion of long saddle back bedrooms, an increased chamfered setback to La Trobe Street podium to open views through to the Welsh Church heritage building, and alternative wind mitigation strategies to achieve walking comfort.

City of Melbourne

Ministerial referral TPM-2013-15: 150-160 Turner Street, Port Melbourne

150 Turner Street.

First covered on Urban Melbourne two years ago, 150 Turner Street by Artisan Architects has been met with strong opposition from the City of Melbourne, with council objecting to the development on the basis that the concerns raised can not be addressed via permit conditions and will require a redesign.

The proposed development will result in unreasonable wind tunnel effects at ground level, a poor urban design outcome with regards to wind mitigation measures and fails to provide the ground level and tower setbacks sought by the Strategic Framework Plan. The proposal lacks dwelling diversity, and a majority of apartments rely on either a ‘saddle-back’ or borrowed light arrangements for the bedrooms which results in poor internal amenity.

It is considered that these significant concerns cannot be addressed via permit conditions, in particular as the wind measures and required setbacks would require a significant redesign of the tower form.

City of Melbourne

Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.


Transport & Design

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 12:00
When a site spans 19,280 square metres, it becomes a 'district'. That's the case according to the development team behind the Jam Factory's pending overhaul. Reporting on the project to date has focused on the close to 60,000 square metres of new commercial space that is earmarked for the site, but more importantly from a layperson's perspective is the extensive new public realm that is planned as part of the development.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.