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Council opposes Southbank proposals

11 Aug 2016

Council opposes Southbank proposals Image

The City of Port Phillip resolved to oppose two Southbank planning applications for high-rise towers last month.

Both located in the Montague precinct, councillors unanimously opposed a 41-storey proposal at 179-185 Normanby Rd and an 18-storey proposal at 163-169 Ferrars St at its meeting on July 19.

Developer Peckvonhartel has proposed a major redevelopment at the historic Laconia Woollen Mills building on Normanby Rd with plans to position the 150m tower at the rear of the building.

The proposal comprises 291 one, two and three-bedroom apartments, commercial office and retail space, 191 car parking spaces, communal facilities and a rooftop terrace atop the Laconia building.

However, perhaps the most contentious element of the application is a proposal to place a corten-steel sculpture in between the Laconia building and the tower.

At its July 19 meeting councillors raised concerns that both the tower and the sculpture would overwhelm the existing building, which is subject to heritage overlay.

City of Port Phillip Mayor Bernadene Voss said that, while council supported conservation works at the site, the proposal did nothing to complement the heritage value of the building.

“Council supports the proposed conservation works to the Laconia building. However, we believe the plan for the proposed tower and sculpture would impact adversely on the heritage significance of the site and doesn’t meet the objectives of the Fishermans Bend Strategic Framework Plan,” she said.

Melbourne Heritage Action (MHA) group president Tristan Davies referred to the corten-steel sculpture as a “silly hat” and said there was nothing about the proposal that was sympathetic to the heritage value.

“While this development is just outside our boundaries, MHA opposes in principle this sort of wildly inappropriate addition to a heritage building,” he said.

“We see nothing in the geometric grid form of the historic factory structure that would suggest a giant curlicue on the roof as the appropriate response.”

“Where the actual tower itself is reasonably set back from the heritage building and the rooftop addition appears to serve no structural purpose, MHA does not support in principle this sort of inappropriate architectural adornment.”

Councillors also knocked back an 18-storey proposal for the site adjoining the future vertical primary school at Ferrars St.

Developer Meinhardt had previously had its original proposal for the site defiantly knocked back by councillors in December last year with a lack of setbacks, excessive podium and poor internal amenity just some of the issues raised.

Council officers noted that the proposal had “not been dramatically amended” with a reduction in dwellings from 98 to 67, an increased setback on its southern boundary and increased bicycle parking provision the only notable changes.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne ultimately has the final say on both developments.

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