Nightingale heads back to planning in the wake of VCAT's howler

Thrust into the spotlight last year, Brunswick's Nightingale apartment development has re-entered Moreland's planning system after VCAT revoked the project planning permit in a highly contentious decision.

At 6 Florence Street, the project became a poster boy of sorts for current planning inconsistencies with the project's approval nullified due to a lack of onsite car parking even though it is located within metres of Anstey Railway Station, Upfield Bike Path and Tram 19. The tribunal challenge came from adjoining developer Chaucer Enterprises, with VCAT ultimately ruling that Nightingale should make a contribution towards meeting the parking demands it generates, in line with other apartment developments.

The decision was so contentious the Victorian Planning & Environmental Law Association and Ratio Consultants held a special seminar on the ruling, exploring possible ramifications.

The Commons led the way in sustainability. Image courtesy

Nightingale is much the same as The Commons directly opposite, with the completed project serving as a prototype for many of the ideas fundamental to The Nightingale Model. The Commons has no car parking spaces onsite.

No car parking is fundamental to The Nightingale Model; its core expectation is that financial return is equal to sustainability and liveability, where it is suggested that financial return is far and away in front for the typical development model.

In the revised plans submitted during December, three car parks have been included within Nightingale at ground level with access via a laneway to the rear of the site. 42 bicycle spaces are also included.

Better luck this time

Preliminary sketch of Nightingale 2.0. Image courtesy

Florence Street and its three car spaces aside, the partnership behind The Nightingale Model are hoping for a less complicated planning run with their next project dubbed Nightingale 2.0.

After a survey where near on 200 respondents registered their desire to live within a Nightingale apartment, planning documents for the project at 72A Station Street, Fairfield were lodged in the first week of the new year. Designed by Six Degrees, the project is adjacent to Fairfield Railway Station and will include 20 apartments and three retail premises.

Nightingale 2.0 will have zero car parks in line with the philosophy of the project partners.


Three car spaces within Nightingale comes across as an almost token offering from the development team to placate VCAT's ruling. Considering The Commons directly opposite has no car spaces included, that all the prospective Nightingale buyers were comfortable with no car parks attached to their apartment and that Moreland City Council unanimously voted to approve the development in its original guise, it makes the VCAT ruling all that much more questionable.

No doubt a degree of hypocrisy can be levelled at VCAT with Fairfax Media this week reporting on the tribunal's fresh ruling which has permitted a Brunswick East development to proceed with zero car parks, even though it is a comparatively fewer public transport options relative to Nightingale.

VCAT inconsistencies aside, it is highly likely that Moreland City Council will green light the alterations to Nightingale's design in quick time.


mdash's picture

Moreland City Council will soon be making its decision on the planning application for Nightingale. The planning application is now being advertised and needs public support.

If you are proponent of urbanism in Melbourne and agree with the ideologies of the project, please send an email of support to:
[email protected]

To make sure that your email counts, remember to include your full name and address.
Use the subject line: Letter of support MPS/2015/829 - Nightingale Apartments

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Michael Bell's picture

Moreland City Council should reject the Nightingale application, and allow the developers to appeal to VCAT, where the rejection would invariably be overturned. That's how you get approval.

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