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Support for NewQuay West Plan

The City of Melbourne has supported MAB Corporation’s plans to build about 2000 new apartments in five new towers at NewQuay West.

The development of Ron Barassi Snr Park triggered a renegotiation of the previously-agreed 2007 master plan for the area. At that time, MAB planned a series of low-rise townhouses on the edge of Victoria Harbour.

It now proposes three towers of up to 120 metres to be built over the water, with just an eight-metre wide public promenade (reduced from 12m in the 2007 plan).

In their report to the November 21 Future Melbourne Committee, council officers said the promenade would be “too narrow to cater for the likely mix of pedestrian and cyclist traffic”.

The towers significantly overshadow Victoria Harbour but, unlike planning rules outside of Docklands, the local waterways are not protected from overshadowing.

Council officers also criticised an “insufficient on-street parking supply to cater for the likely level of visitor parking demand” and the amount of overshadowing of Ron Barassi Snr Park and a proposed linear park which separates the three waterfront towers from two towers on Docklands Drive.

Cr Rohan Leppert said at the meeting: “The 2007 development plan is an underdevelopment of the site, particularly along the waterfront with the two to three-storey town houses hogging all of that quite expensive waterfront.”

“I’m not sure that the new proposal is an underdevelopment. It’s probably the opposite of that, but it is consistent with the rest of the precincts in Docklands in that this development plan that is being recommended for approval is highly discretionary and will be dictated and subject to change depending on market forces of the developer.”

“Nevertheless, applications for individual towers will no doubt come through the system and will be assessed by our and DELWP’s planners with as much scrutiny as can possibly be applied. But as far as the development plan goes, I think this is an improvement on the status quo and I’m happy to support it.”

Planning chair Nicholas Reece said: “I’m pleased to say that these changes will lead to improvements in the amenity and open space in this part of the city.”

The development plan says community consultation was conducted in 2015 but only one written submission and several verbal comments were received.

The plan says: “MAB have carefully considered the responses received from the local community, namely concern around traffic congestion, overshadowing and building scale.”

“The proposed development plan addresses the concerns and responds to them by mitigating overshadowing to public spaces, testing the local traffic network capacity and providing appropriate scale of development.”

MAB claims the low level of commentary as an endorsement for the plan. “… it should also be noted that the low number of submissions made by the community can in itself be seen as an indicator that the NewQuay West Development Plan represents a good outcome for the precinct,” the plan says.

Overall, the new plan grants MAB an increase in gross floor area of 27,365sqm – from an originally approved 159,325sqm in the 2007 development plan to 186,690sqm.

At their November 21 meeting, councillors voted unanimously to support the new development plan. The ultimate approval rests with Planning Minister Richard Wynne.

Originally published in The Docklands News

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