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Fishermans Bend gets off to a flying start

19 Sep 2014

Fishermans Bend gets off to a flying start Image

Five major planning permits have been given the green light by Planning Minister Matthew Guy for Southbank’s newest neighbour, Fishermans Bend.

Mr Guy has approved the construction of 11 towers in the Montague precinct of the area, between Southbank and South Melbourne, which will run immediately adjacent to the new Melbourne Rail Link underground metro station.

The $738 million investment will provide 2800 new homes and is expected to create up to 6000 jobs over the course of construction.

Mr Matthew Guy said the inner-city renewal project was a major boost to Melbourne’s and Victoria’s economies.

“Fishermans Bend will be a key driver of Melbourne’s liveability over the next decades,” he said.

“Development will create significant investment, jobs and commercial opportunities right on the doorstep of Melbourne’s CBD.”

“Construction alone will deliver billions of dollar in economic benefits to Victoria over the next 40 years.”

The five permits relate to four sites on Buckhurst and Gladstone streets in South Melbourne, and a 40-storey tower at Normanby Rd in Southbank.

Four of the six towers to be built on Buckhurst St will be between 27 and 30-storeys, while another four towers on Gladstone St will each top out at 30 storeys.

The project also includes plans for two new CBD-style laneways between Gladstone and Buckhurst Streets, through land covered by three of the permits.

Mr Guy slammed Labor’s criticism of the Fishermans Bend planning strategy, stating that the central city was the appropriate place for high-density urban renewal.

“Labor has been hopelessly inconsistent about Fishermans Bend and have lost any credibility on the issue,” he said.

“We shouldn’t be pushing high-rise projects into quiet suburban streets as happened under Labor’s anything goes Melbourne 2030 policy.”

However, Helen Halliday of the Fishermans Bend Network (FBN), a community-based advocacy group, has slammed the State Government’s decision to approve the towers.

“The Victorian Government is showing it has no concept of how to turn the objectives of its own planning framework into a liveable reality”, she said.

“Even worse, the Government is ignoring the views of the community, two local councils and a number of other expert bodies.”   

With two of the 30-storey developments in Buckhurst and Gladstone Streets situated next to the proposed Ferrars St School, Ms Halliday said students would have a shadow cast on them.  

“These kids will never see the light of day and their feet will never touch the ground,” she said. “Mr Guy’s trying to put up the penthouse before putting in the foundations.”

“The government only has the sketchiest of ideas on where schools, open space, and transport infrastructure will be located.”

“Other community services such as aged care, libraries and health centres have not even been mentioned.”

Member for Albert Park Martin Foley has called for a moratorium on further approvals until questions of infrastructure funding, public transport and community services – including schools – have been resolved.

Construction is expected to get underway later this year.

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