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Win for Eureka residents as hours cut back on bright business sign

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David Schout

An application for 24-hour illuminated business signs at Freshwater Place that threatened to impact residents at Eureka Tower has had its hours cut back and the signs will be turned off between 11pm and 6am.

It was determined that the concerns of objectors, most of whom were Eureka residents, were well founded and the City of Melbourne has recommended a revised planning permit.

It was proposed that two signs worth $200,000 for real estate group RPM were to be installed atop the Freshwater Place commercial building, where the company is the major tenant.

The illuminated area of the larger sign, facing east towards Eureka Tower, was around 10 metres wide by four metres tall.

Building management at the 92-storey Eureka Tower, which sits around 120 metres across from the RPM offices at 2 Southbank Boulevard, alerted residents of the proposal in July 2022.

“This could be an issue to some of you, as the signage on the east elevation may shine directly into your apartment,” management wrote in an email to owners.

“The sign will be illuminated in white all through the night. It is important the City of Melbourne hears your objections and how it may affect you personally.”

A total of 18 objectors did exactly that and raised concerns about the proposed signage’s lighting and how it might impact their quality of life.

According to council documents released prior to the February 7 Future Melbourne Committee meeting — where councillors were expected to vote in favour of the revised planning permit application — the City of Melbourne raised issues about the signs.

“Council officers raised concern with the potential impact of the illumination of the signs, both with regard to the impact the light spill may have on nearby apartments late at night and also the environmental impact of the illumination,” the documents read.

 

To address concerns relating to illumination, the applicant amended the plans to turn off signage illumination between the hours of 11pm and 6am.

 

It was deemed by council officers that the size and location of the signs were consistent with the character of signage on towers in Southbank and was appropriate for an anchor tenant in a building.

A follow-up email from Eureka building management to owners on February 3 said the outcome was “a relatively good result as the sign won’t be on all night”.

There was, however, additional concern about the proposed brightness of the signs, and council documents included a condition that should a public complaint be made, it would undertake a “signage brightness review”.

City of Melbourne policy generally discourages high wall signs on buildings visible from the Yarra River corridor.

However, in this instance the proposed signs were considered acceptable as they “seek to replace previously-approved signs and as such are not entirely new”.

The space now occupied by RPM was previously leased by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) as the major tenant for the building.

PwC has since relocated to a building across the road at 2 Riverside Quay. •

 

Captions: An artist impression of the illuminated signs, which must be turned off between 11pm and 6am

The proposed works (in red)

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