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Council looks to secure new open space in Southbank west

Council looks to secure new open space in Southbank west
Sean Car

The City of Melbourne has identified Southbank’s western end around Clarendon St as the most acutely in need of new open space.

As part of its 2021-22 budget, the council allocated $20 million towards “new Southbank open space”, while a further $5 million was planned for the 2022-23 financial year, to redress the critical shortage of green space in the area.

The council says it is continuing to progress work on a multi-purpose recreation area in the northern Kings Ways undercroft space as part of the City Road Master Plan, which will be located right in the heart of Southbank opposite Boyd Community Hub.

But Southbank News understands the council continues to explore opportunities with landholders to invest its $25 million west of Kings Way around the City Rd/Clarendon St area, having identified that part of Southbank as the area in most need of new open space.

Resident Jenny Fletcher, who lives at Tiara Towers on Haig St, went as far as suggesting the “perfect” site to councillors at the November 21 Future Melbourne Committee meeting held in Southbank.

Ms Fletcher identified the vacant block of land at the corner of Haig and Clarendon streets, formerly home to a warehouse that was engulfed in flames in July, as “a great opportunity” for a new park.

“There is a corner property that is begging to be bought from the developers and their permits have long expired,” Ms Fletcher said. “It is perfect. It has sun. It’s fantastic.”

 

It’s understood the council hopes to make an announcement on a new open space project in Southbank west in the new year.

 

It follows speculation that the council had enquired about purchasing land at Melbourne Square at the corner of Kavanagh and Balston streets, where a temporary basketball court is currently being constructed for the community.

While Southbank News understands that the council did make representations to the site’s owner OSK Property regarding a potential purchase, a City of Melbourne spokesperson confirmed that it was “not considering acquiring the site on a permanent basis.”

“The City of Melbourne has identified Melbourne Square as a site for a pop-up play court in Southbank and is working closely with developer OSK to deliver this facility for the community,” a council spokesperson said.

“We’re working with OSK to determine when the court will open to the community.”

The spokesperson added that “due to the court’s location in a high-density residential area”, it had requested “a range of noise mitigation measures such as ‘silent’ backboards, court materials with noise mitigation properties and limited hours of operation.”

It follows recent meetings between council officers, Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece and the local community aimed at addressing potential impacts to neighbouring amenity before the court’s opening.

Community group Southbank3006 secretary and Victoria Tower resident Trisha Avery said a small group of adjacent owners’ corporations had formed to work directly with the council to ensure concerns regarding noise and security were heard.

“The Epic apartment building and Victoria Tower, as well the Marco Building and the West Tower of Melbourne Square, are directly affected by any noise, times of use and access and safety concerns by the new play facility at Melbourne Square right on Kavanagh St,” Ms Avery said.

She added that while she was very grateful to Cr Nicholas Reece, who had been “instrumental in getting us access to the right people”, the group was “less than happy” with current information it was receiving from the council.

“There seems to be confusion over who the council is negotiating with,” she said. “No detail is forthcoming on exactly what sound mitigation will be provided. We are still getting the same message as we had at our first meeting in May of this year.” •

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