City of Port Phillip seeks height limit but further challenges looming

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By: Ed Kennedy

 

Retraction: This article was amended on April 4, 2013. It previously incorrectly suggested that the temporary height limit had been approved by Matthew Guy, which his office has confirmed he has not. Several quotes were removed from this article as the context in which they were obtained was thrown into doubt.

 

 

The City of Port Phillip sent a request in early February to Minister for Planning Matthew Guy’s office for a temporary height limit be placed upon St Kilda Junction South.

 

This request comes as the local council prepares to develop a new design framework for the future of the precinct.

 

For many in the community the issue provides a wider snapshot of the growing tensions between the local government’s plan for the suburb of St Kilda and the state government’s plan for Melbourne as a city.

 

The request for a height limit in the area broadly held to stretch from St Kilda Junction south to Carlisle street was made by council with a desire to protect the heritage of the area.

 

The Victorian government has placed a special emphasis on inner-city growth to feature strongly in its planning strategy that has prompted criticism it does not properly take into account St Kilda’s heritage and culture.

 

Regardless of whether a temporary height limit is installed it is clear both local and state levels of government shall face a serious challenge in driving development within a suburb that so cherishes its culture and heritage.

 

For Bill Rivets formerly a resident of St Kilda now living in Brunswick East the growth in high right development was the last straw before his relocation.

 

“I was very happy living in St Kilda but away 18 months working overseas I came back recently and found too much had changed,” Mr Rivets said.

 

“It was a number of issues and I actually moved back and lived into in the area for a few months but its lost the iconic culture and feel it had ten, twenty years ago. The arrival of high rises is confirmation that eras at an end now.”

 

For the City of Port Phillip, regardless of the possible gains made by implementing a temporary height restriction, as it seeks to plan for the future the greatest threat to its desire to conserve the city’s heritage may come from outside its boundaries.

 

Recent reports have suggested the recently approved 108 tower development to be built on the corner of Southbank Boulevard and City road with a height of 388 metres and comprised of 108 level would threaten to seriously overshadow not only surrounding buildings, streets and parkland – but also the Shrine of Remembrance.

 

While the Shrine dismissed this concern it is illustrative of the diverse challenges the City of Port Philip shall face – possibly from outside its own boundaries – to effectively conserve the historic nature and key heritage along within St Kilda.

 

 

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