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Residents unite to stop skyscraper

09 Jun 2016

Residents unite to stop skyscraper Image

By Nicholas Li

Southbank residents from Bank Apartments on City Rd are joining forces to stop a behemoth 200-metre tower on neighbouring Clarke St, which is currently before Planning Minister Richard Wynne.

NewCity Development Pty Ltd last month submitted a 73-storey proposal for the former Red Cross Blood Service site at 51-65 Clarke St.

According to a planning report, the applicant is seeking an exemption for the proposal, which possesses a whopping 35:1 plot ratio on a 1787 sqm site.

While the new C270 planning laws, which stipulate a plot ratio of 18:1, won’t come into effect in law until September, the application will still be assessed the government’s C262 interim planning controls (24:1 ratio).

Speaking on behalf of the Bank Apartments owners’ corporation, committee member Jack Tan said the planning minister needed to listen to the concerns of local residents and reject the application.

“The residents in surrounding areas need to come together as one voice. The planning minister needs to heed that voice. This ridiculous overdevelopment must be stopped,” he said.

“The building will have a huge impact on the quality of life of residents, not only from the Bank Apartments, but also from other buildings, such as Platinum Apartments.”

If approved, the Elenberg-Fraser designed development would comprise 512 apartments, 112 hotel suites, a business hub and retail facilities.

The site of the proposal is located exactly opposite the site of the 74-storey Elysium tower at 54 Clarke St, which was controversially approved by former Liberal planning minister Matthew Guy.

Mr Tan said local residents were still infuriated by the decision, which was taken to VCAT by the City of Melbourne. The development now faces an uncertain future after being put on the market by the developer.

He said residents were unified in their quest to lobby against overdevelopment in their neighbourhood.

“We are frustrated with the fact that the council and the developers have not made any explicit attempt to seek our opinions,” he said.

“As the residents in the neighbourhood we are simply denied the involvement in the planning process.”

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