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A flurry of Fishermans Bend approvals

11 Jun 2015

A flurry of Fishermans Bend approvals Image

State Planning Minister Richard Wynne approved $570 million in new apartments for Fishermans Bend last month, prompting concerns from the community.

Mr Wynne announced three new apartment projects for 228 Normanby Rd in Southbank, 60-82 Johnson St in South Melbourne and 101 Salmon St in Port Melbourne, which will deliver a combined total of 1958 new apartments.

The approved $400 million Johnston St development, which was the largest of the three, will include four apartment towers ranging from 21 to 46 levels, a supermarket and retail space.

The $130 Southbank development at Normanby Rd will incorporate two towers, which are 39 and 49 storeys high, and contain a total of 525 apartments.

The third project on Salmon St is a $40 million 12-storey development.

As these applications were submitted before the area’s planning overhaul was announced, each was assessed under the previous rules, which applied at the time of application.

Port People Inc president Rowan Groves expressed his group’s disappointment over the approvals, describing them as “another missed opportunity”.

“Unfortunately, it looks to be more of the business as usual approach,” he said.

“What is obvious is that these newly-approved towers will be taller than anything else that will be approved under the new interim guidelines and possibly under the recommendations of the Ministerial Advisory Committee.”

“They will also be among the last approvals that won’t be subject to design standards, assuming the Building Design Review results in effective changes.”

“Both these factors will pose particular difficulty for the Ministerial Advisory Committee in finding the best way to fit higher standard urban renewal around buildings that probably won’t conform to those standards.”

Mr Groves argued that a lack of certainty in planning for community amenities such as schools and open spaces was preventing high-end developers from investing in the urban renewal area.

Having announced a planning overhaul for Fishermans Bend in April, Mr Wynne said his department had worked with the City of Port Phillip in approving the developments.

“Every apartment across the three approved projects is bigger than 40sqm. All bedrooms have a window, none rely on borrowed light,” he said.

“The three towers are within the City of Port Phillip municipality. The minister’s approvals were supported by council.”

“By approving more than half a billion dollars worth of new apartments, this government is allowing more people to live close to jobs, services and public transport.”

“These towers are in a part of Melbourne which was once best-suited to industrial businesses. The city is evolving and this government is making sure more people can live centrally in well-designed apartments.”

Managing principal of Rothelowman Architects Nigel Hobart, the practice responsible for designing the Normanby Rd and Johnson St developments, commended Mr Wynne’s decision.

“As the largest urban renewal site in the country, Fishermans Bend is conducive to high density,” he said.

“It is developments such as those approved for Johnson St and Normanby Rd that will take expansionary pressure off established suburbs and curb urban sprawl.”

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