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Hayball lowers its tall order

11 May 2017

Hayball lowers its tall order Image

By Sean Car

Developer Hayball has reduced by four levels its most recent proposal for a 21-storey tower at 135 Sturt St in a move residents have described as a “token”.

The Save Dodds St group and Southbank Residents’ Association (SRA) are continuing to campaign against the development, which is now seeking a permit for a 17-storey tower from Planning Minister Richard Wynne.

A spokesperson for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DEWLP) confirmed that the new proposal would be 58.8 metres tall in an area with a discretionary 40-metre height control.  

Located on the boundary of Southbank Village within the Arts Precinct, local residents have long-argued that the development is out of character in what is a low-rise area.

It’s a view shared by City of Melbourne councillors, with Lord Mayor Robert Doyle last year describing the developer’s 21-storey proposal as “a complete shocker”.

The amended proposal, which now comprises 206 dwellings, seeks to build a 17-storey tower in Sturt St with a 10 metre setback. In neighbouring Dodds St the development has four-storey dwellings with 30 metre setbacks.

Save Dodds St convener Eileen Vamos said 17-storeys was still not good enough in helping preserve “the extraordinary asset” of the Arts Precinct – a sentiment echoed by SRA president Tony Penna.

“Four levels is hardly acceptable,” he said. “It’s a token effort from the developer to do whatever minimum requirement they need to do to get it over the line.”

While the proposal now measures under the maximum discretionary limit of 60-metres, Mr Penna said an approval could set a bad precedent for the rest of the precinct.

“The precedent for every other block of land in the area will be based on that," he said. “We’ve already got enough of a problem with The Guild because that’s being referred to as precedent and that’s on the outer rim of Southbank Village and this one is almost the heart of the village.”

Mr Penna said the application also represented a lost opportunity for Minister Wynne's new C270 planning controls for the central city and Southbank, which were legislated in December.

The new laws failed to implement mandatory controls for special character zones such as Southbank Village, which Mr Penna said left the door open for more innappropriate development.

Southbank Local News contacted Hayball for comment on its updated plans, however it declined pending the final outcome of the application.

The matter was originally scheduled to be heard by the Future Melbourne Committee meeting on May 16, however Cr Rohan Leppert confirmed that it had been postponed until a later date to be confirmed.

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