Sep 132011

Hobsons Bay Leader has written an article, reporting the developers submission of new plans to council. Below is the text in full…

If you view the Leader’s article on this page, you can place comments on the Leader’s website.

Hobsons Bay Leader article: "New plans for Newport timber yards"

THE developer behind a plan to turn the old Newport timber yards into a multi-storey residential development has lodged a new application with Hobsons Bay Council.

Earlier plans for a 40-dwelling development on the Paine St site were rejected by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in April, but VCAT member Dalia Cook left the door open for an amended proposal, saying the development was “high-quality”, of “appropriate scale and form” and would not detract from the heritage value of the area.

Ms Cook did not object to the density, but wanted the facades “reworked”. Peter Cahill of Domain Hill Property Group now hopes the changed plans – which include 43-dwellings – will be approved by the council, but a local residents’ group is still opposed to the plan.

Protect Newport spokesman Anthony Simmons said the new proposal did not appear to be much different from the original and had actually increased its possible maximum occupancy.

“It’s disappointing because there was the opportunity for the developer to take on the feedback from VCAT and we don’t believe he’s done that,” Mr Simmons said.

“The development has not been scaled down as much as we would have expected.

“The whole building is now housing more people than before.”

But Mr Cahill said he had taken VCAT’s suggestions on board. “We have done our best to redesign, to address the concerns addressed by VCAT,” Mr Cahill said.

“The result is a group of townhouses which is more conservative in its design and more domestic in its appearance.”

Mr Cahill said the development “moved away from more box form to a design which reads like a group of town houses than a block building”.

A spokeswoman for Western Metropolitan Liberal MP Bernie Finn said Mr Finn had last month written to Planning Minister Matthew Guy regarding residents’ concerns over the proposed development.

Note: The above text and images by Hobsons Bay Leader – copyright remains that of the respected owners.

 Posted by at 7:17 am

  7 Responses to “Hobsons Bay Leader article: “New plans for Newport timber yards””

  1. I refer to the comment made by VCAT member “Dalia Cook left the door open for an amended proposal, saying the development was “high-quality”, of “appropriate scale and form” and would not detract from the heritage value of the area”. Has she ever been to the area?

    It’s amazing how Ms Cook can comment the development is appropriate scale and form and not detract from the heritage value. How can a four story development of 40 dwellings not detract from mainly one level Victorian and Edwardian houses in a quiet, local area which currently contains no flats or units in the near vicintiy. How ludicrous that VCAT would approve the design to be amended in the first place.

    We live in the area and recently applied to the council to build a backyard shed which would not be visible from the steet. The conditions attached to the building of our shed in height, dimensions and design were extremely stringent in regards to heritage overlay. It seems the council/VCAT don’t mind relaxing their conditions when there are 43 new ratepayers in town.

  2. Plans for the Newport Timber Site are now available at:

    – currently there are no public notices on the site itself.

  3. Congratulations on the great work done so far by the protect Newport group. Please keep it going.

    Armstrong Reserve is central as a meeting and play area for local children, families and dog walkers!
    The new development, if approved, will dominate the park and surrounding area and irretrievably change its character. It may be a suitable development for a main road or shopping precinct, but not for quiet streets with mostly 1 and occasionally 2 storied houses, many with heritage overlays.

    Why such a plan would even be considered, let alone submitted and re-submitted beggars belief. It seems that the developer lacks any empathy towards or understanding of the history and character of the area and community. I doubt he/they live anywhere nearby. It’s a real shame that Newport Timber, who were there for so many years as part of the local community, were unable to realise their plans.

    Surely the purpose of development should be for the greater good and include contributing to the community and enhancing the liveability of the local area. The motivation in this case appears to be entirely different.

    This has all been said before, but the message does not seem to be getting through….if anything it is having the opposite effect.
    I hope that the council and VCAT can stand strong and make the right decisions for the area.

  4. I would like to say that while it seems that this type of high density housing is the way of the future, it should be on a more appropriate site on a main road and not crammed into our small sreets. I have just returned from travelling to Europe and noticed that while they have much higher density housing it works because there are wider streets and fewer cars -people ride bikes and use far better public transport than we have. This get rich quick sceme of Mr Cahill’s is at the expense of our lovely neighbourhood. Please find somewhere else for your ugly building.

  5. Mr Cahill might as well book his hearing with VCAT now……

  6. I totally support Anthony Simmons and the campaign to Protect Newport. I will be writing to our local members at all levels to ensure that our objections are heard and encourage everyone to do the same.

    From what we know of the new application PA1123425, the proposed changes to the plan are minor and cosmetic at best. They fail to address the underlying issue being the scale of the development.

    The neighbourhood is made up of individual properties no higher than 2 storeys. The planning application is for a 4 storey, 43 dwelling building. The developer has claimed in local media (Hobson Bay Leader 12/9/11) that the new proposal has “moved away from more box form to a design which reads like a group of town houses than a block building”, this is however very different from actually being smaller groups of townhouses.

    We do not want to live next to a towering, high density apartment block that is at odds with the surrounding streetscape and family feel that individual blocks provide.

    The development is also adjacent to Armstrong Reserve, the communities’ local park space. All residents have bought into the area knowing that a Heritage Overlay is in place to protect the current look and family friendly streetscape of the neighborhood. A development of the size proposed threatens the heritage of the surrounding streetscape and will have a detrimental effect on the financial value, visual appeal, street parking, community feel and general livability of the surrounding neighborhood.

    I refer to “The Guidelines for Infill Development in Heritage Areas in Hobsons Bay 2006” (Guidelines). The guidelines apply to the construction of an infill development within a Heritage Overlay under the Hobsons Bay Planning Scheme. Infill is defined with the guidelines as “Infill development includes the construction of a new building on a property within a heritage area” as such the proposed development at 6 Paine St is an infill development by definition and subject to these guidelines.

    The guidelines state that the following aims should be met by any infill development proposal. It is clear that these aims have not been met.

    1. To ensure that new development is of a high quality design that creatively interprets and responds positively to the historic context provided by the heritage place or precinct.

    The proposed 4 storey, 43-unit development does not creatively interpret or respond positively to the historic context of the heritage in the surrounding area. There are no other developments of this size in the streetscape. The development will detract from the overall heritage context of the streetscape.

    2. To ensure new development becomes a valued addition, which complements the aesthetic qualities of a heritage place or precinct.

    The development will physically overshadow the entire open space Armstrong Park area. The resulting through traffic, on street parking requirements, change in demographics to include a higher proportion of tenants rather than family owners and the visual disturbance to the streetscape is at odds with the need to be a valued addition to the heritage place.

    3. To ensure new development does not visually dominate a heritage place or area.

    The guidelines state that the “form, massing, height and bulk of the infill building should reflect the neighbouring heritage buildings. The height and proportions of the new building should reflect the predominant height and proportions of adjacent buildings in the street. The infill building should not be substantially smaller or substantially larger than the general height and proportion of buildings in the street.”

    The proposed development is not sympathetic to the heritage of the surrounding area. The proposed 4 storey, 43 Dwelling development does not reflect the predominant height and proportions of the adjacent buildings, being substantially larger in both height and proportion to the other buildings in the street. There are no apartment complexes or higher density housing of a comparable size in the adjacent or surrounding streetscapes.

    4. To ensure new development responds positively to special features such as views, vistas, significant vegetation and landmarks.

    The guidelines state “The site analysis must demonstrate an understanding of the significance, character and setting of the surrounding area. New buildings should not visually dominate or obscure views or sight lines to nearby historic buildings. The new building should be recessive.”

    The community open space area of Armstrong Reserve will be totally dominated, visually and physically by the new skyline of the proposed development. Any development should be sensitive to the open space vista of Armstrong Reserve and not detract from the overall feel of the reserve.

    It is clear that the development shows no regard for local residents concerns or Council Heritage Overlay guidelines. The proposed development breaches many of the guidelines identified in the Heritage Overlay in the Hobsons Bay Planning Scheme 2006 as such it should not be approved.

  7. While we’re waiting for the plans to be advertised via Council’s Greenlight system, it is understood the building is taller, has more dwellings, holds more occupants, has inadequate parking, and is still massive and out of character for our neighbourhood.

    Make sure the Council, your MP, the newspapers know how outrageous it is this developer gets to waste everybody’s time submitting another ridiculous plan to Council.

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