Irons and Piper Boot Factory - PLN2016/1181

71 to 75 Argyle Street (cnr Fizroy Street), Fitzroy

Major Case at VCAT - Ref. No. P1367/2017

Practice Day Hearing : 28th July 2017

Compulsory Conference : 4th September - Successful Resolution 

Final Hearing - Not Required.

Judith and the Argyle Street crew strongly represented the residents.

Mediated settlement was achieved because all parties engaged to agree on an amended plan.

The agreement included a reduction in the number of apartments, the restaurant being replaced with offices, additional bike racks and improved setbacks.

These changes help reduce the amenity impact of the new development, and will hopefully retain the prominence of the heritage boot factory in this historic precinct.

You can find some discussion on this development on the Protect Fitzroy North Facebook group. The Kerr Street resident's group has asked PFN to put up a web page highlighting the major problems with this development, and provide a links and information on how concerned residents can object.

The proposed development - 7 storeys, 41 appartments, Office and Restaurant, is at odds with its heritage significance and the Heritage Overlay. It is one of the few remaining intact industrial buildings of it’s type left in this area and must be saved.

Link To Application on City Of Yarra Webite

The Fitzroy area was a hub for boot and footwear production from the 1880 onwards. This beautiful heritage building is listed as an individually significant link to Victoria's manufacturing past, so should be preserved.

In the report “ Northern Suburbs Factory History 1992 “ ( at Yarra Library Fitzroy ) Gary Vines and Matthew Churchward describe the building as being of “State Significance” Gary Vine says :

“Aesthetically it is one of the BEST examples of a C19th industrial Building.” ...The design has uniformity and that the polychromatic brick pattern has “refinement not often seen in an industrial Building"

The developer proposes to demolish everything except the 1880s walls facing Fitzroy and Argyle St. They then propose to dig down for 2 levels of underground car park and build 7 levels of apartments which will completely dwarf the remaining facade shell of the important Heritage building.

Grounds for objection - Heritage

The boot factory is in a Mixed Use Zone within Heritage Overlay HO334.

Clause 22.02 of the planning scheme lists the objectives which must be met by development in a heritage overlay.

  • Be visually recessive and not dominate the Heritage place
    Clearly the proposed development dominates the individually significant Irons and Piper Boot Factory on all sides.

  • To encourage the preservation, maintenance, restoration and where appropriate, reconstruction of heritage places
    Not remove, cover, damage or change original historic fabric.

    Entirely removing the fabric - except for the street frontage is contrary to this objective - especially for an individually significant building - does not meet this criteria.

  • Clause 22.02-5.7.1 New Development, Alterations or Additions - General
    Encouraging additions to individually significant places to, as far as possible, be concealed by existing heritage fabric when viewed from the front street and to read as secondary elements when viewed from any other adjoining street.
    The proposed building is highly visible and dominate from both street frontages.

To move to some-where in the ball-park of "respectful" and "recessive", the design needs to :

  • Be further setback above and either side of the original boot factory.
  • Re-use rather than demolish the factory itself.

If the design was ammended in this way, it would also come closer to meeting controls 1, 2, 3 and 4 in Clause 21.05-17.2, required for new developments over 6 storeys.

As proposed it is only meet the design half of the sustainability criteria - item 3.

Grounds for objection - Non-Heritage

The building apartments have a good sustainability rating. The architects have paid much more attention to resident quality details than 26-56 Queens Parade.

The amenity issues flow from the desire by the developer to cram as many apartments as possible into the maximum amount of building they think they might get approval for. Tiny balconies, no communal open space, narrow doorways, ned-kelly bike racks, car stackers are the reduced amenity result.

  • Clause 15.01-2 Light and shade
    + Enjoyment of the public realm should be enhanced by a desirable balance of sunlight and shade.
    + This balance should not be compromised by undesirable overshadowing or exposure to the sun.

    The New Extensions more than doubles the overshadowing of Argyle Sreet, ensuring pemanent shadow across Argyle Street and both footpaths for most of the day, for much of the year. The shadow diagram shows 100% shadow on the equinox, until 3pm.

  • Excessive Bulk

  • Overdevelopment of a small site.

  • No visitors spaces for the offices, restaurant or apartments. Required spaces - 103 - supplied spaces - 59 - shortfall spaces - 44.

  • The one bedroom apartments only have 6m2 balconies. The minimum in better apartments is 8m2.

  • It is very hard to assess the apartments for disabled access, as the door measurements are not clear. The main corridor looks to be 1.6m-1.7m wide, based on the 1000mm scale shown. This complies. The doorways internal to the apartments, on this scale, look to be between 800m and 1000m. Better apartments has a 850mm minimum for dorrs on 50% of apartments. Most of the bathrooms look really pokey.