A new planning application has been lodged with the City of Port Phillip for the blighted site at 1 – 7 Waterfront Place in Port Melbourne.
The pleas to ‘do something’ to resolve the ongoing saga of 1 – 7 Waterfront Place have been long and sustained since the site was severely damaged by fire in 2014. Anson Cameron has applied all the force of his wit to the broader precinct in Welcome to Wasteland, a recent piece in the Age, while frustrated, disbelieving commentary recurs on Port Melbourne facebook pages. Why is it so hard?
Waterfront Place has a long and contentious recent planning history but before getting to that, let’s go back to before Beacon Cove days.
Centenary Bridge, that famous icon held in fond memory, stood in the way of development of the then Bayside site and was demolished in 1991. This annotated photograph highlights the twin pillars of the Bridge, only one of which remains, and the gradual ascent of the Bridge. Barnes Complete Truck and car service and adjacent buildings occupy the site now known as 1-7 Waterfront Place.
When Mirvac was selected as the preferred developer of the site in partnership with the State Government through Major Projects Victoria, the cleared site was not the attractive proposition that it is now. It was a bold experiment in waterfront development – the first in Melbourne. To make it attractive to purchasers, and in response to planning failures of the previous scheme, a gym and childcare centre was incorporated into the estate. The gym with views towards the water was very popular as was the swimming pool. This was the place where the Port and Beacon Cove came together.
The newly submitted ten storey proposal (two towers of seven storeys above a 3 level podium), still needs to go through Council planning assessment even though the applicant is putting it forward as a resolution of this long running saga. Planning approval is never a done deal. In response to the City of Port Phillip urban design guidelines for the site, tested at a Planning Panel in 2013, the Port of Melbourne raised concerns about the proximity of residential development so close to port operations.
What are the implications for the Waterfront Place precinct of TT Lines moving to Geelong in 2022 and with the future of cruise shipping uncertain? The future use of the TT lines hardstand truck parking area will no doubt be the subject of further thinking about the precinct which has been ongoing for several decades. These matters may well have a bearing on the resolution of 1 – 7 Waterfront Place.
Thanks to Bill Fisher for his assistance in putting together this piece.
Here follows a timeline of major decision points relevant to the site at 1 – 7 Waterfront Place.
Anson Cameron Welcome to Wasteland Station Pier should be a holy, vibrant place. It isn’t The Age 11 July 2020
Peter Rolfe Port’s fresh look, project to replace derelict site Herald Sun 24 August 2020
City of Port Phillip planning application 490/220
Timeline of planning for 1 – 7 Waterfront Place
2009: City of Port Phillip prepares draft urban design guidelines for 1 – 7 Waterfront Place in anticipation of a planning application.
2010: Gym moved from Beacon Cove to Bianca in Bay St fueling speculation that something was afoot with the site.
2012: Waterfront Place Pty Ltd apply to the Supreme Court to remove the restrictive covenants that apply to their land.
2014: In the early hours of September 14th 2014, fire broke out in the buildings at 1-7 Waterfront Place. Fire crews arrived on site at 1.42 am. 70 firefighters attended the fire. The damaged buildings were partially demolished over succeeding weeks.
March 2017: After several years of extreme neglect of the site, planning application 989/2016 was made to the City of Port Phillip for a single tower of 10 storeys wrapped around at the ground and lower levels with townhouses.
24 July 2017: The City of Port Phillip refused the planning application for 1-7 Waterfront Place on the grounds that the development proposal failed a number of tests and requirements in the planning controls for the site which had been developed from extensive community input and consultation. Overall, the planners considered the proposal to be an over-development of the site. Some of the grounds for refusing the application were overshadowing of the foreshore and pedestrian spaces and visual bulk and massing issues relating to the tower design.
The applicant had also not received the consent of Mirvac as required under the restrictive covenant, meaning the application could not even be entertained.
November 2017: On 21 September, VCAT agreed to review the City of Port Phillip’s decision to refuse the application for 1-7 Waterfront Place. Six days were set aside for a full hearing starting on 19 March 2018.
July 2018: On 23 July 2018, the Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne ‘called in’ the application for a ten-storey mixed use building of 174 apartments and 2 retail premises.
October 2018: Waterfront appealed the Minister’s decision, on the interpretation of the ‘seven days’ required for the Minister’s call in to the Supreme Court which ruled in favour of the Minister on 22 October.
24 November 2018: Victorian state election. The Andrews Labor government is returned.
13 September 2019: The Minister for Planning announces the establishment of an Advisory Committee to advise on whether a planning permit should be issued for the site, and what conditions should be included
25 November 2019: The Advisory Committee begins an 8 day hearing. After one day of hearings, the developer withdraws the planning application.
August 2020: A planning application for a multi-level, mixed use development has been lodged with the City of Port Phillip