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New plans for Fishermans Bend

14 May 2015

New plans for Fishermans Bend Image

Planning Minister Richard Wynne last month announced a review of the strategic plan for Fishermans Bend, which will see the urban renewal area almost double in size.

A new business precinct has been added, increasing the size of Fishermans Bend from 250 hectares to 455 hectares and from four precincts to five.

Minister for Planning Richard Wynne said the new plan would focus on “people and jobs,” which he believed would underpin the site’s development over the next 30 years.

“By getting on with our promise for five distinct neighbourhoods in Fishermans Bend, we’re developing a blueprint for overhauling industrial land and creating places close to the city where people actually want to work and live,” he said.

“A community can only be as tall as it is deep. We’re not interested in simply rubber-stamping skyscrapers. Smart development thinks about residents and their quality of life.”

The Minister for Planning will be the authority for developments bigger than 25,000 sqm and interim mandatory height controls have replaced discretionary and preferred limits while strategic planning work is completed.

The interim height limits are 40 storeys in the Montague and Lorimer precincts and 18 storeys in the Sandridge and Wirraway precincts.

The government is also be putting into place a Ministerial Advisory Committee, which will include:

  • Experts in statutory planning, urban economics and urban renewal;
  • Transport planning and environmental planning experts;
  • A representative of the City of Port Phillip,
  • A representative of the City of Melbourne and;
  • Three community-based representatives.

The review has been welcomed by Port People Inc (PPI) president Rowan Groves, however he said concerns remained over the government’s new interim guidelines.

“The Victorian Government promised a review pre-election and we are encourage that they are honouring their commitment,” he said. “We’re especially pleased the review has such an emphasis on community engagement.”

“PPI is not so appreciative of the interim guidelines also announced, which allows mandatory heights of between four and forty storeys for new applications.”

Mr Groves said he was concerned that applications already lodged but yet to be decided would be assessed against the guidelines previously in place.

“There is a real danger that permits could be issued for towers of 20, 52 and 72 storeys in areas the interim guidelines reserves for 4, 12 and 40 storeys respectively,” he said.

“We are concerned such permits could undermine or pre-empt the outcomes of the review.”

Expressions of interest for positions on the Ministerial Advisory Committee will be advertised this month.

It’s anticipated that the Fishermans Bend review will take up to 18 months to complete.

Meanwhile, a consortium of local and offshore builders has reportedly paid $42m for an industrial Fishermans Bend property in the Montague precinct.

The sale of the former Carlins Automotive Auctioneers site at 6-78 Buckhurst St is believed to be the biggest Fishermans Bend site sale to date.

The deal comes six months after another developer paid more than $30m for a collection of factories covering 1.9 hectares in the Wirraway precinct.

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