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A small victory for businesses

11 May 2017

A small victory for businesses Image

Businesses at Surveyors Place in the Montague Precinct have welcomed a new streetscape plan adopted by the City of Port Phillip last month for the new education and community precinct at Ferrars St.

It marks the end of a long dispute between business owners and council dating back to early last year, when the City of Port Phillip released its original streetscape proposal for the precinct.

Council had proposed closing and narrowing streets, as well as permanently removing 183 car parks in order to make way for a new park and create more pedestrian-friendly streets for the new primary school.

While business owners at Surveyors Place and neighbouring Meaden St have long supported plans for the new park and school, they argued that the streetscape plan would make their businesses unviable.

The new design was adopted at a council meeting on April 5. It includes an additional 31 short-term, on-street car parking spaces on Douglas and Ferrars streets for visiting residents and businesses.

Meaden St will remain unchanged under the plan, while drop-off zones for the new school will be located in Ferrars, Kerr and Whiteman streets. A new bus zone on Kerr St will also provide parking for buses servicing the school.

City of Port Phillip Mayor Bernadene Voss said council had done its best to balance local business concerns with the need to provide Fishermans Bend with adequate open space.

“We have done our best to address their concerns by incorporating alternate access and on-street parking into the final design,” she said.

“We believe this revised design will allow us to safely transform an industrial area into well-connected mix use precinct supporting residents, businesses, education and community services.”

Surveyors Place owners’ corporation (OC) member Peter Harvey commended the new plan and said it was a largely positive outcome for both businesses and the new primary school.

“We won a significant number of points and we’ve had some concerns addressed,” he said. “We’re glad that there will be more parking in front of the school and that the council has taken away the sunset clause from Meaden St.”

While access will be ensured to one of two car-parking areas within Surveyors Place via Ferrars St under the plan, Mr Harvey said the OC had requested the access route be widened to allow for 16 additional car parks.

However, he said the request was “laughed out of the room”, with councillors ruling the loss of a further 180 sqm of parkland as too greater concession.

The State Government and council made a joint $19 million purchase of land opposite the new vertical primary school in 2015 in order to construct the new park.

The new open space had been earmarked for completion in conjunction with the opening of the new school in 2018. However, the State Government informed council late last year that the availability of developer contribution funding for the project had been significantly reduced.

The news that the park would not be constructed until the State Government confirmed it had the necessary funding, ultimately required council to review its original streetscape plan.

Following the adoption of its new plan, council has since requested Minister for Planning Richard Wynne allow the streetscape and park works to be incorporated into the Port Phillip Planning Scheme.

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