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Domain Precinct vision a step closer

10 Sep 2019

Domain Precinct vision a step closer Image

The City of Port Phillip will adopt its new masterplan for the Domain Precinct at a council meeting at St Kilda Town Hall on September 18.

The adoption of the final masterplan follows an extensive period of consultation, which saw the Draft Domain Precinct Public Realm Masterplan exhibited online for feedback, while a series of public workshops with the community were also held.

The City of Port Phillip confirmed that it had received 57 submissions during the exhibition period, which were considered as part of the final vision.

The Domain Precinct, which is an immediate continuation of Southbank Village, is an area of land bordered by St Kilda Rd, Dorcas St and Kings Ways (up to St Kilda Rd and Toorak Rd intersection).

Described by many as somewhat of a “sleeping giant” given its proximity to the CBD, Botanic Gardens and Port Phillip Bay, the area has been the subject of an influx of planning applications with increased building heights in recent years.

The area is also under considerable strain at present as a result of the construction of the new Anzac Station as part of the state government’s metro tunnel works. The project has seen traffic in Wells and Park streets double during peak periods as a result of construction works and new raised tram lines along Park St.

According to latest Census data in 2016, the precinct was home to more than 4500 residents, and the masterplan found that around 23 per cent of households did not own a car.

The masterplan doesn’t provide guidelines or recommendations on building heights and setbacks on private land as the area is already regulated by the St Kilda Road North Precinct Plan planning scheme amendment C107, approved by the Minister for Planning in 2015.

Rather, the masterplan seeks to pedestrianise the precinct by providing wider footpaths, better walking connectivity, green space and greater infrastructure for commuter cyclists. Key projects include managing street parking, a new Park St link, an upgrade to Kings Way Reserve (between Bowen Crescent and Queens Rd), creating better pedestrian connections and streetscape improvements.

While the City of Phillip said it would be incorporating all feedback into the final vision, not all residents were happy with the master plan and expressed some frustration at the plans to Southbank Local News.

Local Park St resident Boriana Statelova said that she was “massively concerned” with the proposed changes.

“I have written tonnes of e-mails and comments about that plan and have received absolutely no consideration from the council,” she said.

“Our building has suffered hugely from the new tram stop and the tram tracks kerbing. We have been left without access to Kings Way north and the south of Kings Way ... again I have written many complaints and questions and have heard nothing.”

Among Ms Statelova’s concerns, which she said were shared by many of her fellow residents, include widespread loss of street parking, loss of footpath space on Park St, decreased access to Kings Way and the new bike path along Park St.

“We don’t need the bike path ... It is not for us!” she said. “We have many people walking but very few commute to work by bike because we live close to everything ... it is not worth it to ride for such short distances. However, we still need our cars.”

City of Port Phillip Mayor Dick Gross was quick to reassure that the masterplan didn’t suggest modifying or removing access to private car parks or laneways in the precinct. He also said the loss of access to Kings Way from Little Bank St, as shown in the draft plan, would be amended in the final vision.

“Council has been made aware of a discrepancy which makes it appear that access to Kings Way from Little Bank Street is removed,” he said. “This is not part of the plan to create a safe and enjoyable pedestrian link, with a potential drop-off parking area for servicing, deliveries and visitors, and will be corrected in the final masterplan.”

“The aim of the draft masterplan is to respond to our city’s increasing density and facilitate a community where a selection of travel choices – such as walking, driving or bike riding – are available, safe and accessible.”

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