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Heritage hurdle

10 Jul 2018

Heritage hurdle Image

By Meg Hill

City of Melbourne (CoM) is supporting a major development at 87-127 Queensbridge St, despite continued heritage and overshadowing concerns.

Developer Aohua Shend Le Property, Fender Katsalidis and Cox Architects are collaborating on the tower that’s been reduced to 47 stories from a previously proposed height of 51.

Concerns about overshadowing the future Boyd Park led to the change in proposed height, while heritage considerations have led to the retention and incorporation of part of an old wall.

“The reduction of the building height and raking of the north section of the tower by my measurements will reduce overshadowing by 650 sqm at lunch time in April,” said CoM’s chair of planning Cr Nicholas Reece.

However, president of Southbank Residents Association (SRA) Tony Penna said the SRA could not support the amended application “purely due to the overshadowing of Boyd (Park) that remains”.

“But, we do commend the officers for the work that they’ve done to get the application to where it is now. It is certainly an improvement from where it was last year,” he added.

Similarly, CoM’s chair of heritage Cr Rohan Leppert said the improvements were testament to a collaborative process but diverged on the extent to which heritage retention was considered.

“Where I may disagree with some of my colleagues is on the extent to which heritage overlay (or potential heritage overlay for some of the buildings) has been taken into account,” he said.

Since initial planning processes started for the Southbank development, new heritage considerations have been made by CoM regarding the old tea factory building at 107-127 Queensbridge St.

“The Southbank Heritage Study in September 2017 lists for the proposed statement of significance a series of elements of the building. One of them implicitly supports the upper levels of the tea factory, including the rear,” said Cr Leppert.

Cr Leppert said he didn’t think CoM had “any ability” to advise the minister to retain the rear of the building due to the difficulty involved but noted that it would have been an interesting approach to keep the building inside the development.

“Something like the Melbourne Central Shot Tower, I think that building and the rear of the tea factory is absolutely remarkable.”

The application for the development which CoM is advising the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to approve will demolish the building but keep a section of wall.

This will be incorporated into a through block link of publicly accessible – but privately owned – space between Queensbridge St and City Rd.

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