Piedimontes VCAT Decision is in


It's a reduction of one apartment from the corner of the main building (Building A) to reduce the height and bulk at the Scotchmer/Best St corner, and the reduction of one level of Building B atop the Scotchmer St shops - at a loss of 3 additional apartments. 

The community members probably hoped for more, but are nonetheless vindicated that the proposal as originally put forward was indeed unacceptable in planning terms.

Well done to all of those who worked so tirelessly to get to this point. You can't control what you'll get out of these things, but you can control what you put in. And what an effort it was.

Hopefully you can get some peace for a time while you gird yourselves for the inevitable battle over the laneway - without which this permit remains just a piece of paper.

You can read the full decision : Pdf Download Link Here


Day Three Wednesday 17th Feb

Community Submissions Day at VCAT

Our experts are ready. Our community speakers are ready.

All we need now is people power—a mighty presence to support the mighty voice we are about to give this community.

The tribunal members know who is connected, so it is a big support if there is a community presence on-line - at anytime.
Daily hours: 10am to 4pm for up to 8 days. Lunch an hour ~1pm
Monday morning is great, or when the community is presenting, probably Wednesday, but anytime is a great support.
You can connect to the VCAT hearing via Zoom.
(one thing about lockdown - we all now have zoom skills 🙂
If you have the VCAT email with the zoom link - you are ready to go.

Any member of the public can connect to observe.

The quickest was to get the link is emailing admin@vcat.vic.gov.au with an urgent request to be admitted to the hearing. Quote the VCAT case reference P1168/2020 and mark your request as urgent in the subject.

OR you can call VCAT on 1300 01 8228 and ask for the details. It may take a while to get thru - just hang on the line, the VCAT people are very nice, the callback system can be a bit iffy.
Once you have the zoom link you can connect or leave any-time.

Your Sound must be Off and Video must be Off - at all times

** You are not permitted to record any VCAT proceedings, or provide commentary to social media **
To be on-line by 10, you need to connect to the waiting room early 9:30am to 9:45am. VCAT is always busy Monday Mornings.
Case number is P1168/2020

Gurner 26 - 56 Queens Parade Pty Ltd v Yarra City Council We are arguing:


  • A 28% increase of 74 apartments is excessive.

  • The resulting increase in bulk and massing is too dominating in a high value sensitive heritage boulevard precinct.

  • The reduction in outdoor/indoor recreation, the reduction in priority larger (3-4) bedroom family and group friendly apartments, are backward steps in this new design.

  • The apartments liveability are below minimum 2021 standards so does not meet design excellence required for Queens Parade.

  • The new plans do not integrate with the precinct at ground level as required for Queens Parade.

  • The new entertainment deck less than 10m from neighbours bedroom windows, if approved, would set a new low for respecting neighbours amenity.

  • This new design does not respect previous efforts at VCAT to arrive at an acceptable design.

  • Lastly, bizarre, but can't be ignored, the K.G.Luke Factory Facade is the "hero" of this site. It must not have to contend with slabs of "light masonry" clearly styled on iconic fascist buildings in Italy.

VCAT Day Two


Report on Day 2 of the 26-56 Queens Parade redux case.


Residents' Day is definitely tomorrow. Council has basically wrapped their case, so resident submissions and the residents' case will be the focus of tomorrow.
Rob McGauran (urban design expert - for Yarra) was testifying and being cross-examined pretty much all day today.
A large amount of time was spent on debating the adequacy of internal amenity in proposed apartments, since Rob McGauran was critical of that aspect of a number of proposed apartments. Questions like:
- What constitutes practical internal spaces?
- Is it ever OK for kitchen and living areas to be co-located and rely on borrowing space from each other to function? (Where "function" means leaving a 1.2m wide space to move around in)
- Should you need to move a living room chair in order to open your oven or fridge?
- Is 2m x 3m an adequate dedicated living area?
- Should a fridge be placed right next to the head of your bed, where there's no room for a bedside table?
Prof. McGauran was adamant that while smaller spaces can be made functional, they must be well designed and that there are certain lines that shouldn't be crossed.

He recalled the legacy of past inadequate apartment standards which have left us with poor apartment stock, and how this led to the state government introducing better minimum standards.
He also remarked that we're not so short of space that it's necessary to cram in this manner leading to substandard amenity.
An important discussion. I hope the folks watching and listening got something out of it. I sure did.
Thanks for your support and for being there with us.

VCAT Day One

Report on Day 1 of the 26-56 Queens Parade VCAT case (redux).

The dramatis personae are:
Tribunal members:
Senior Member Hewet and Member Chase (both v.experienced, as you'd expect on a major case)
For Gurner(tm): Jeremy Gobbo QC, supported by Nicola Collingwood
For Yarra: Susan Brennan SC, supported by Jane Sharp and Kristin Richardson
For PFN Inc.: Gareth Gale, town planning advocate.

Yarra has one expert witness - Prof. Rob McGauran (urban design)
PFN Inc. has one expert witness - David Pryor (urban design)

Gurner(tm) has half a dozen expert witnesses:
Stuart McGurn (urban design)
Mark Sheppard (planning / urban design)
Peter Lovell (heritage)
Daniel Flood (photomontages)
Jan Talacko (internal daylight/amenity)
Jason Walsh (parking/traffic)

If it seems like asymmetric warfare, it's because it is.

Today's hearing ran only for a half day due to unspecified issues relating to the snap lockdown - so sorry to all who might have connected in the afternoon.

The ordering of the hearing (as per standard) runs:
- Yarra first,
- then residents,
- then the applicant.
Yarra is still "on" for tomorrow, so residents might get a start late in the day, but certainly Wednesday should be residents' day.
The residents' case will wrap perhaps on Thursday, then the remainder of the hearing is over to the applicant.

2020 - what a roller coaster, what a year

First  the  good  news

Then a kick in the guts at Christmas on 26-56 Queens Pde

* Refused by VCAT *

390a Queens Pde

4 Storey row of Townhouses with roof terraces

 This is a huge win for Queens Parade heritage planning and Traders.

The residents were represented by barrister Daniel Epstein, as well as a planning advocate & a heritage expert. 

Residents presented on personal amenity impacts, and traffic.

The developer wanted to demolish the smaller part of the bakery, and all the warehouses behind. The proposed development was two rows of back to back 4 storey townhouses,  with roof terraces.

The development is refused - largely on internal amenity.  Like the PFN submission summed up the plans as ".. trying to put 5 kilos in a 4-kilo bag". The member cited where a single bedroom would have comfortably fitted on a level but two were being attempted.

It's a great development site with tricky access. The right kind of considered development there would really enhance the neighbourhood.
The developer also has a Supreme Court case pending on the site, so there may yet be another twist on this one.

The VCAT decision is the first VCAT decision to mention "Snoop Dogg" (no kidding :-) so perhaps a Red Dot just for that!

Over 50m high

Developer taking our council & residents to VCAT

592-622 Smith St, 2-12 Alexandra Pde and 1-7 Reeves St, Clifton Hill 

VCAT Reference : P1511/2020   Yarra Reference : PLN19/0845

The proposed development threatens the wonderful amenity of our neighbourhood with its mammoth size, creating significant traffic, and amenity issues.

Protect Clifton Hill have won the first round because the council has refused the developer's application. The community has made their opposition clear to VCAT, in Statements of Grounds.

The next step is the 

Leading Urban Design Expert Report  - Many fixes required

Professor McGauran's Urban Design report is very supportive of an office building, the new laneway, and a supermarket for this site. He does take issue with the height, bulk, and failure to increase the space for pedestrians at the building entrance on Smith street. 

Yarra Council Refuses the Application 

  1. Height, layout and massing of the development fails to adequately respond to the context of the area and would result in unacceptable impacts on the public realm.

  2. Loading bay arrangements would result in an unacceptable impact on the road system and the public realm.

  3. Traffic impacts on the surrounding area have not been adequately explained to demonstrate that the proposed development would not have an adverse impact on the surrounding area.

  4. Bicycle parking provision for visitors is inadequate for the scale of the development.

Tim "Avocado" Gurner wants more

K.G. Luke Factory at 26-56 Queens Parade

Mr Gurner has asked taxpayers to fund the review and decision on yet another set of his plans at VCAT. We are now up to the fifth full set of plans, and the third firm of architects.

After the current set was approved in 2018 he declared  “we are pleased with the outcome and believe this new design will deliver on our vision of a world-class precinct for the area.”

Gurner took the council to VCAT in 2016 because their decision was not fast enough. Four years later, he has had his permit for over two years and nothing has happened. The acres of crumbling asbestos sheeting is still there.

His latest super favourite architects were inspired by Mussolini's Palazzo della Civilta Italiana and Casa del Fascio. Yes, to Tim "avocado" Gurner,  nothing says North Fitzroy neighbourhood character like Italian fascist architecture.

We say, enough tax payer money has been spent entertaining a vanity parade of architect's visions, get on with it already, you already have approved plans for a design you proposed, just build it.

Council Refused "Unacceptable" Redesign

Reasons for Refusal at YDC on 14th October with Councillors Jackie Fristacky & James Searle.

  1. The proposed massing does not respond to the existing or preferred character of the area and will dominate the surrounding area.
  2. The proposed massing will result in unacceptable off-site amenity impacts.
  3. The proposal will result in unacceptable on-site amenity impacts, including natural daylight and ventilation.
  4. The application lacks sufficient information to enable a proper assessment against the relevant provisions of the Yarra Planning Scheme.

Pity Judge Judy doesn't do VCAT

Proper Render of Approved Design

Artistic impression of New Design

Accurate Scaled drawing of the new design. Red dashes mark the outline of the previously approved building.

Piedimontes are taking us all to VCAT

Piedimontes have rejected the council and community concerns with their development plans, and have appealed to VCAT to approve them.

VCAT hearing starts Monday 7th December

FNRAG are organised. Preparation are now underway in the lead up to the VCAT hearing.

If you put in a paid statement of grounds and would like to be part of a joint community position at VCAT, you can contact FNRAG at fitzroynorthchampions@gmail.com or Protect Fitzroy North at protectfitzroynorth.gmail.com to follow-up on being represented, and/or being part of the team working on the case.

Whether or not you put in a Statement of grounds FNRAG would be very grateful for any and all donations, to the cause on their Chuffed Campaign or by direct deposit to BSB: 633-000, Account: 177353182.

Neighbouring residents and traders, along with the wider North Fitzroy community, contributed over 800 objections to the original application, a record for North Fitzroy. Leading urban designer Professor McGauran, who reviewed the latest plans, included a shopping list of flaws in his latest report.

Age Article : Piedimonte's Supermarket goes to VCAT over rejected redevelopment plan

A VCAT appeal has three stages. The first, "Statement of Grounds", closed the 6th August.

The next step is the "Compulsory Conference" was on the 6th October, where a resolution was not reached.

The third step is the "VCAT hearing", sheduled for 7 days starting the 7th December.

At the hearing VCAT will listen to evidence from the developer, the council, then every group or individual who has put in a paid Statement of Grounds, and wants to speak make thier case.

** Council motion to Refuse - passed **

Council refused the application on four grounds :

  1. Excessive heritage demolition
  2. Scale, Height and architectural quality does not fit the heritage context.
  3. Scale does not respond to the character of North Fitzroy Village.
  4. Does not provide a net community benefit.

Well over 260 submissions were received for the meeting - on top of the over 600 original objections - another mighty effort.

Piedimontes have 60 days from 21st May to decide whether or not to appeal to VCAT, as of 27th June no news.

C231 Queens Parade - Approved by Mr Wynne !!

The Planning Minister, Mr Richard Wynne has approved Queens Parade Amendment C231.

The mandatory height limit for new development in the heritage shops is 10.5m (2 Victorian storeys, or 3 modern), except for the North East block, starting with Woolworths, featuring the Historic Campi buildings, the Post Office, then finishing at  "Water Features" having a height limit of 14m (4 modern storeys).

This is a massive result we were repeatedly told could not happen. This is the first mandatory height limit approved, to protect the viability of a heritage shopping strip, in 12 years.

There remain significant opportunities for high density development at each end of Queens Parade, as well as Gasworks - but the heritage shops are protected.

Unsurprisingly the state government agreed with the panel. There was more than ample brownfield sites for medium and high density development along Queens parade to meet forecast demand. Therefore there was no good planning reason to risk the health of valued local businesses, and the viability of a neighbourhood commercial precinct, by framing planning rules encouraging residential developments to displace them.

This couldn't have been achieved without the support and talents of a community like no other.

Many thanks to the council staff who completed a power of work to tight time frames, and councillors who braved COVID-19 to unanimously approved this significant amendment, Cr Stone, Cr Jolly, Cr O’Brien, Cr Bosler, Cr Searle and Cr Fristacky.

When our community stands as one, we are mighty. 


C231 Queens Parade Panel Report

Special Council Meeting


Many of you who made submissions to C231 would have received an email letting you know there is a Special Council Meeting being held at the Fitzroy Town Hall, 201 Napier Street, Fitzroy.

Starting time is 7:00pm on Tuesday, 25th February.

This is just a small note following on from the positive Planning Panel report on Queens Parade Amendment C231 to the Yarra Planning Scheme, which seeks to provide development controls for the entirety of Queens Parade.

You may recall that the panel recommended a mandatory height limit of 3 storeys or 10.5m for the majority of the Queens Parade shopping strip, and a mandatory height limit of 4 storeys or 14m for just the south-east section running from the former Clifton's Warehouse / Retravision on one corner through to the water features shop on the other.

In addition the panel endorsed a suite of improved setbacks to protect the residential amenity of houses behind the Queens Parade shops.  This is a far cry from the 6 storeys we started with.

Yarra Council now need to consider their position on the panel's report and have convened a Special Council Meeting at the Fitzroy Town Hall  (note - not Richmond!) in order to hear from any members of the community who wish to make a submission on the way forward.  The report and some position on it must be progressed to the Planning Minister and his department for the controls to become law.

The options on the table are:

  • Completely accept the panel's report as-is and forward to the minister.
  • Largely accept the panel's report, with some recommended changes, and forward to the minister.
    (The option also exists to do nothing and let all controls lapse, but this is not realistically on the table.)

It needs to be noted that among the changes mooted is the possibility of returning to a 4 storeys limit on all of the Queens Parade heritage shops.  Protect Fitzroy North and the broader community groups making submissions are opposed to such a move.  The planning panel were clear in their report that the difference between 3 storeys and 4 is very marginal in terms of development yield, but that 3 storeys better safeguards both heritage and the ongoing viability of the shops as shops rather than as a facade for apartments above.

We will be there with other community groups to put our view.  If you wish to be there whether to watch or make a submission, here is the notice of meeting, agenda and attachments:

https://www.yarracity.vic.gov.au/events/2020/02/25/council-meeting-25-february-2020

.. and an alternative link in case there are issues with the above:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Dwb8O8zYtcgOjRPIqIz5tr1o5FurBrwD

The council will only vote on the matter at the meeting on the 17th of March at the earliest - and that date may still slip.  We'll be there again and keep everyone informed prior.

The C231 Panel agreed with the community 

After two years, more than 400 written submissions and months of preparation, the 10 day panel hearing delivered an awesome result.

The panel shared the community’s view that Queens Parade is a heritage jewel, and it should be preserved.

The panel also agreed Queens Parade shopping centre was a vibrant neighbourhood hub so shopfronts, primary retail spaces and rear-laneway access also needed to stay.

A 10.5m limit (two heritage storeys or three modern) for the shopping strip matches the top level heritage protection in place for Lygon and Acland Streets.

Notable features of the report include:

  • Shops - to stay as neighbourhood shops, and retain rear-way laneway access. Any additions must start 10m back from the front parapets.
  • Large factory sites - will accommodate the high density departments, stepping down to low-rise neighbours.
  • Streets - will be pedestrian friendly; maximise sunlight; limit wind impact and promote best-practice design.

This is a heart-warming outcome that’s consistent with Plan Melbourne 2050.

Currently - The panel’s controls “carry weight” at VCAT until at least the end of March 2020.

Next Step - Council will vote on approving the panel recommended controls in the new year.

Final Step - Planning Minister will review and hopefully approve the new Queens Parade controls.

Many thanks and credit where it’s due 

This positive result came courtesy of:

The 400 plus written submissions from community members spoke with a mighty voice. 

The combined Queens Parade Residents and Traders Group who ran the community’s case. Joining with our traders, put the insight of the people who run those businesses we depend on, in front of the panel. 

Nigel Lewis, our heritage planning expert, who successfully argued the 10.5m maximum which has protected Lygon and Acland Streets was also needed for Queens Parade. Nigel was engaged with funding donated by locals.  

The Royal Historical Society and The National Trust who gave compelling presentations on the heritage character of Queens Parade. 

Plan Melbourne 2050 authors for including the requirement to listen to the voice of the community.

The City of Yarra officers for working so hard to produce the draft controls. This included arranging for 3D models which proved to be an effective way of illustrating the impact for a range of proposed controls.

Finally, thanks to our councillors for voting unanimously to take effective action to protect our heritage shopping strips. 

A copy of the panel report, and the can be accessed on the Amendment Web Page 

Much Much Much ... Too Big

267 - 271 Queens Parade

VCAT Hearing postponed to August 2020

At the practice day we learnt the neighbouring businesses are "Not happy Jan", so three extra legal teams lined up to _oppose_ the plans at VCAT.

This will be our first VCAT where three top flight teams will be lined up with the residents and council, _against_ the development.

The developer's architect described the design as follows : 
"the shape and burst of the upper level building form reflects a V8 engine block bursting out of its bonnet”.

The red central column is transparent plastic, so not only will it tower over Queens Parade during the day, it will potentially be highly visible in the skyline at night, as a glowing red pole - all the way up Ruckers Hill.

The council's web page for this development is : Council Web Page

Council reasons for refusal

+ Scale, Height, Setbacks, architectural design does not fit the neighbourhood character.

+ Exceeds the limits in the Queens Parade DDO.

+ Unacceptable amenity for apartments.

+ Impacts its neighbours ability to build.

+ Unfriendly pedestrian experience on Queens Parade.

+ and that's not all ...

Queens Parade C231 Panel - Completed

Traders and Residents presented brilliantly

An amazing complement of residents groups, residents and traders have put their hands up to speak to the panel. Queens Pde cannot talk - but we can - and this is where the future of Queens Pde will be decided.

The experts paid for by the community did a great job putting forward technical evidence supporting, in particular the cases where lower building heights, and less visibility in other heritage shopping strips has been successful.  

David, Virginia were there each day of the hearing. With Chris they took on the difficult task of cross-examining the experts and were very effective.
 
Very many community members - put in an appearance in the public gallery at some point in proceedings. The panel chair Kathy Mitchell thanked the community for their submissions written and presented, the positive contribution across the entire hearing, for attending so many of the sessions, and made a special mention of thanks for organising our own experts to present.

 
The positive impact of the 400+ written submissions cannot be overstated.

The strong, consistent voice across virtually all the submissions in favour of lower and mandatory height controls, gave the council officers a clear direction in producing the council's preferred controls to be put before the panel.

The 400+ submissions were considered by each independent expert in their panel preparations

The 400+ submissions was accepted as evidence the council met Policy 5.1.2 (bold added)

Policy 5.1.2 The attributes of and opportunities for neighbourhood
activity centres at the local level vary across Melbourne.
That is why local communities should lead the planning
of their own centres

Policy 5.1.2 is a two edged sword. Without the strong clear consistent voice in submissions in favour of lower and mandatory height controls, the council's lower mandatory heights in the amended controls, could be denied based on lack of evidence of community support.

Our council officers and legal team, lead by Susan Brennan, were just great.

The amount of evidence preparation done by our council officers and legal team was very detailed.  One example - the only community submitter who wrote in support of 6 storeys, was contacted, to make sure their evidence taken into account. The submitter did not want their evidence pursued, so no position supporting 6 storeysneeded to be put. 

The National Trust and the Royal Victorian Historical Society made excellent, well researched presentations strongly supporting protecting the unique heritage and the heritage character of Queens Parade.

A job well done by all 400+ submitters and presenters 

Brilliant Fundraising Diner at Argo's 

The local residents and traders came together to enjoy a night of beautiful food, lots of chat, laughs and amazing generosity. Many thanks to all for a great night. 

We have a wonderful group of people in Queens Parade villagewho provide us friendly service close to home.

When you go local and buy local, its a win-win all round.

The local trader stars of our silent and (very) loud auctions.

Zac's Pet Supplies
Cellini Clifton Hill
Argo Fishop
McCoppins Food and Wine
Coquette Clothing
Key Ingredients
Biba Queens Parade
Cavallini
Emma Whiting Travel
Eyecare Plus Clifton Hill
Riccardo Studio
Birch Living
Citrico Cocina
Clifton Hill Tattslotto
Frootz On Parade
Rubber Duck Cafe
Two Bob Cafe
Village Vineyard

Way Too Big - Moskito - 201-215 Queens Parade

VCAT Hearing - 55 King Street

Withdrawn by Applicant - Hearing Vacated

Brilliant effort by the Save Queens Parade in preparing and organising the community case. The local residents appearing for the first morning "filled the room" and then some.

Standing room only - so senior member Naylor, as the first order of business, organised a much larger tribunal room for us all to transfer to on the ground floor. 

By the time we had moved to a much larger hearing room on the ground floor - the applicant had decided they would not proceed with the case - so the hearing finished  before lunch on the first day. 

Refused by Council

6 major grounds for refusal.

Save Queens Parade (SQP) have done a brilliant job leading the community fight.

This one is so bad - even the expert paid by the developer, could not gloss over its short comings in his expert evidence to VCAT.

Full House for Piedimontes Community Meeting

Back with a nicer design but is that enough?

Residents came together to fill the room for the Community Meeting an the North Fitzroy Library run by the Fitzroy North Residents Action Group. The plans were walked through, and a North Fitzroy Q & A was attacked with gusto - as usual :-)

Hazel, a leading local architect stepped the audience brilliantly through the the new plans. Download Slide Pack

Glen McCallum from PFN spoke on how a community group can drive a more reasonable outcome. Download Slide Pack.

All the over 600 objections submitted to the council on the original plans - are still live objections. Objections are still open if you would like to add your voice. New Plans are downloadable in the Re-advertised June 2019 Section on the Council Web Page

An objection, in your own words, is most effective, and only needs to include your main reason/s for objecting.

There are a number of improvements to the design, including the look, using brick, and moving garbage +smaller truck loading/offloading underground. 

Still Bad :

1. Just too big to shoe-horn into a small heritage neighbourhood village shopping centre.
Then there are the practical downsides like overshadowing of neighbours and the public spaces.

2. We loose 7 retail shops in North Fitzroy Village. We loose three heritage shops, only keeping their facades.

3. Adds heavy vehicle and cars onto Scotchmer Street, in a pedestrian and cyclist heavy part of the shopping centre.

Moonlight 622-642 Nicholson Street - Approved

** 8 levels (30m) down from 10 storeys (~40m) **

Residents disappointed

The VCAT decision was in-line with the Council's position of a lower building height of 7 to 8 levels. 

The residents got some of what they wanted, but planning is the art of the merely "not unacceptable".

Basically imagine the top two floors missing and the grid a bit darker and you get the idea.

Residents who have to live with the result are naturally very disappointed VCAT did not decide the maximum height should be lower.

388 Queens Parade -Plans for a 6th storey

Application Withdrawn !!

388-390 Queens Parade was a Japanese restaurant.

In 2017 a 5 storey extension was approved, but did not start. The developer applied for a 6th storey, VCAT reference number is P703/2019

Save Queens Parade lead the resident's response to this case at VCAT.

The owner has withdrawn the application.

267 Queens Parade - Permit Refused

City of Yarra council officers have refused this completely over the top example of an over development.

The only example of another development with so many reasons for refusal, I have seen, is 205-215 Queens Parade (Moskito) - prepared by the same architect.

Save Queens Parade are leading the community response to this development, 388 and 205-215 Queens Parade. No news yet on whether the applicant will be taking the council and the community to VCAT 

Both 388 Queens Parade and 205-215 Queens Parade have cases in progress at VCAT. 

Heritage On Parade

Our Queens Parade was the feature news story across Channels 7, 9 and Ten on June 13.

The first nomination in Victoria as a precinct of State Significance, for an entire heritage shopping strip, was submitted to Heritage Victoria, by the Rescue Queens Parade group.

An amazing amount of work went into both the research into gather the history of each shop, in preparing the nomination, as well as organising the media event.

Channel 10 Storey  Channel 7 Storey

Our councillors voted unanimously, at the June 25 council meeting, to support this application proceeding to Heritage Victoria.

The Rise of Resident's Groups - Age Article

Protect Fitzroy North was included in the increase in residents groups covered in the Age article (link below).

 Our area is blessed with at least six active residents groups who regularly contribute on planning. The 3068 Group, Fitzroy Resident's Association, Save Queens Parade, Rescue Queens Parade, Alphington Fairfield Appropriate Development Association (AFADA) as well as Protect Fitzroy North.

The FRA celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, and the 3068 group has been protecting our heritage for at least 10 years. As the article says, in response to particular threats to their neighbourhoods new residents groups have formed to focus on fighting the latest over-development, loss of open space, established tree removal, or toxic use application.

You may think the various groups may get in each others way, but the total opposite is true, we all work to complement, support and amplify each other's efforts. The task is huge, so working together makes us as effective as possible with our limited resources.

C231 Submissions are now Closed

Thanks so much to all who contributed

The depth of commitment to our neighbourhood is beautifully expressed in all the 378 submissions, available to be read at Bargoonga Nganjin - North Fitzroy Library.

Inspired by the turn-out of committed locals at the Queens Parade C231 Community Meeting, the National Trust and the Royal Victorian Historical Society also put in submissions.

Do yourself a favour and click on the Queens Parade Photo Tour. It was put together with love to play while people arrived at the meeting.

Many thanks to the 200+ hardy souls who attended the Community Meeting

The meeting went really well - other than the air-con deciding it was not going  to work. We all learnt alot. Special Thank-you to councillors Amanda Stone, Jackie Fristacky, Steve Jolly and Danae Bosler for attending, answering questions and even giving us a hand to try and get the air-con going.

Thank-you also to Candidates Kathleen Maltzahn (Greens) and Hershel Landes (Independent) who attended and addressed the meeting.

Thank-you to Daniel Epstein, our planning barrister for 26-56 who also spoke. He confirmed many a planning barrister's overseas holidays and mortgages were funded by long winded discussions on what "preferred" means. He suggested getting as many of the controls as possible expressed as mandatory - to give certainty and avoid trips to VCAT. 

Last but definitely not least, after a big week of preparation, a huge thank-you to all of you who magiced all the chairs away and the room back exactly how it was, when the meeting was over - just awesome :-)

We believe :

The heritage shopping strip of Queens Parade is of key social, cultural and economic significance to the residents of Clifton Hill, North Fitzroy and further afield. Its unique and irreplaceable heritage must remain the overwhelming impression on those who live, work and visit there.

Heights within the shopping strip must be in keeping with the existing heights and rooflines within the heritage precinct. The parapets and rooflines are significant to the heritage citation and should remain outlined against the sky.

Heights and massing on laneways must be managed so as to preserve and enhance the amenity of the spaces at the rear of heritage building - including in the laneways themselves.

Precinct laneways are narrow, unsuited for vehicular access. Avoid uses and inappropriate targeting of densities that would lead to such traffic in the first place. Walking and active transport should remain the priority in laneways.

Front and centre is the need to keep the centre as a functional bustling centre, so folks can continue to use walking or cycling to easily shop in Queens Parade.

Monster behind Mosskito

Refused by Council Officers

Yarra planning refused the proposal on fairly comprehensive shopping list of failures on most of the applicable sections of the planning scheme.

Heritage (too dominant), Planning (too high, too close), Urban Design (too big, bad fit), ESD (too hot, too dark) and Apartment Amenity (too pokey)

Alphington Residents

and Councillors

Victory at VCAT

Congratulations to the committed crew of the Alphington Fairfield Appropriate Development Association (AFADA), and the West Alphington Residents Association, who with the council leading the charge had a super win at VCAT.

The councillors agreed with the residents. A condition requiring this development should not exceed five storeys was imposed by the council and _upheld_ at VCAT.

VCAT agreed with the council and residents. While they thought Heidelberg road could cope with significant height, the proposal was clearly excessive for a site with low rise heritage neighbours, andquiet streets on two other sides.

Gasworks The Next Steps - Summary

The new portal for the Fitzroy Gasworks engagement is open : http://www.development.vic.gov.au/projects/fitzroy

Link to Video from Richard Wynne with even more on the Gasworks Project - includes some great historical shots

More Information on the Gasworks Page - accessible via the page menu above the banner.

Gasworks Decision Is In

Major Improvement on Original Proposal 

 10 Storey Maximum - 20% Affordable Housing  

The Minister's decision on the Gasworks site is "in". Mr Richard Wynne has announced a positive Gasworks outcome for the community. It includes a 10 storey maximum height. 20% affordable/social housing, a new combined Year 11&12 campus for Collingwood College and Fitzroy High, and an indoor sports stadium with community rooms.

The Development Victoria Project page Updated to reflect Minister Richard Wynne's decision is here http://www.development.vic.gov.au/projects/fitzroy

Collingwood and Fitzroy combine classes to offer The full range of VCE/VCAL Year 11 & 12 curriculum, but this currently means students often travel to classes at both campuses, on the same day. Having all classes on the same campus means more time learning and less time travelling, as well as freeing up space at Fitzroy and Collingwood for more students.

The community should be proud that their efforts appear to have had a very significant effect.

5 Storey street wall maximum along Smith St, 6 along Queens Parade and George St with 10 storey street wall permitted only along Alexander Parade.

There are also provisions, in line with community concerns and expert advice, to provide for sight lines through the site, a more human-scale experience within the site, break-up of outline in more distant views, and so on.

Issues with car parking provision have been taken on board, bike parking is now 2 spaces. Dwelling, sustainability and housing diversity are now more explicit in the controls. Parking, water, waste are required to be planned in an integrated way across the whole site etc.

It's an example of people getting involved in an official process and getting a much more positive outcome than was originally floated. Props to the panel members for being fair and thorough, and to the decision-maker(s) for taking broader concerns into account.

One thing a bit "hmm" is the section on social and affordable housing. The panel recommended this be a minimum of 15% in the control - agreed to by Yarra and DV. However, in the gazetted control the phrasing is "up to 20%", which seems odd, so is possibly a drafting error.

You can click thru to the approved planning controls downloaded here. 

Click thru to the state planning webpage with all the documents, including the GLSAC panel report. 

Finally It Over !!

26 - 56 Queens Parade

Final VCAT Decision Published

The bottom line is that Gurner gets a permit to build at the maximum of 10 storeys stated in the DDO, but with a massing and footprint that's been vastly scaled back at each stage of the process.

The original plans were massive and bulky at 16 storeys and 476 apartments. The plans now stand at 10 storeys and 263 apartments (and if you read the tribunal's finding, are likely to reduce a little further). So, a bit over half the original size.

But there's more - heritage that would have been destroyed is now to be protected. Along the way the original architects were ditched and the whole thing redesigned. The apartments must now be more liveable. The residents will now have much better open space.

That couldn't have happened without the efforts of the same amazing community that also put up such a good showing at the Gasworks panel hearing. I'm in awe of you all, and no poor thanks of mine would ever be adequate.

Here is the link to the final decision made this July 2018 - nearly 2 years after the original plans were advertised.

This was a really long haul for us all. The VCAT members were extremely thorough for their part - including returning to site one last time to "fact-check". If you read the decision you'll see what I meant in my earlier post that calling this hearing was something of an "own goal" for the applicant.

Aside from a stellar community effort, Yarra Council, the councillors and the council officers really put in the big ones on this. Kudos to them.

For all of those who contributed just know that this case has had lasting effects beyond our area - other community groups with their own mountains to climb learn from each other's example, including ours.

You've certainly made a difference. Thanks again.

26-56 Queens Parade - VCAT Hearing - Thursday 7th June

In Summary - Own Goal - The Developer

Why were we here ? We were here because the developer, represented by Mr Jeremy Gobbo, requested a hearing to dispute a number of council's submitted conditions. As the party who requested the hearing, the applicant had to provide, a week in advance, their points of dispute.

As the barrister representing the responsible authority, Ms Susan Brennan went first. Susan, and her team, had made very good use of the previous week, to prepare their case. These were the five narrow areas of legitimate dispute, this is the council's position on each, each is supported by the following evidence, grounded in the following text from the interim decision.

Basically I had just witnessed a one hour master class for planning barristers.

That was pretty much it.

The residents took less than ten minutes to fully support the council's position.

Jeremy then spoke for about an hour before and another hour after lunch, but it seemed to me his heart wasn't in it, because Susan had already covered off all his issues in her presentation.

In closing Senior Member Code mentioned this case had more paperwork than any he had been part of in his whole career at VCAT. Three trolleys worth. I remember thinking this probably was not the record we wanted to break in our first encounter with VCAT. Unusually for this case - the day finished early.

Then we all went home to await the panel's decision.

Gasworks Community Meeting

Well Done to the over 200 community members who attended and contributed so generously.

The meeting covered the Development Victoria proposal, the workshopped a bunch of excellent resolutions from the community.

These community resolutions formed the centrepiece of the Protect Fitzroy North submission and presentation to the Advisory Committee Public Hearing.

Transdev/PTV Toxic SprayBooth

Patsy and the No Toxins crew - Won !! - Transdev withdrew their plans for the spray booth on Scotchmer St. Many thanks to all who put in objections, displayed the poster, the councillors and council officers. It is a big relief for all the residents near Nicholson Village.

** Piedimontes Update **

520 Objections !!

Wow over 500 objections is a mighty statement on the proposed plans from the community.

Permit number: PLN17/068

Sat 25th - Ward Meeting - Level 2 - New Library

Fabulous turn out of residents at very short notice to the Ward Meeting at the new library.

The new library name was living up to its name as our ward Councillors explained Bargoonga Nganjin means ‘Gather Everybody’ in Woiwurrung, the language of the Wurundjeri people, as part of opening the meeting.

The hot topic was planning and the Piedimonte's proposal.

Sam and Joe Piedimonte spoke of their family's journey with the community for over 50 years

The community members expressed how much they loved shopping at their supermarket, and how devastated they would be to loose the local village shopping experience.

The residents, including many local architects, expressed very strong reservations about key aspects of the design, in detail.

Sam, Joe and the expert residents started a dialogue on how the expansion could be re-imagined to still keep what the community loves about Piedimontes and the North Fitzroy village, the neighbouring residents amenity is respected, while ensuring the supermarket business has a solid platform to thrive for many years to come. 

Jackie Fristacky asked for a big thank-you to be passed on to all the community who attended, and an extra thank-you to all those who helped with the set up, then stayed and put the room back to is normal layout.

 Extra big thank-you to Chris Sanders and Marion Marshall

Chris Sanders of Zen Folio photography http://christophersanders.zenfolio.com/, produced a range of brilliant pictures on a tight deadline to illustrate our case.

Marion Marshall, of Marion Marshall Studios http://www.marionmarshallstudios.com.au/, curated our wonderful book of images, referenced by the Protect Fitzroy North presenters.

Both Chris and Marion stepped up to produce just what was needed, to a really tight deadline, without any fuss at all, so thank-you for adding such a professional finish to our presentations.

The Panel acknowledged the strong community presence across the full 10 days of the completed hearing.

We are not expecting for a decision to be handed down before the end of October.

A Massive Thank-You to all who attended.

OUR COUNCIL HAS PRESENTED BRILLIANTLY

Our Resident presentations all went VERY weLL

Submissions were presented to the panel on Parking, Traffic, Planning, Heritage, Amenity, Neighbourhood Character, Net Community Benefit and Urban Design.

Here is a small sample of the 23 page Submission prepared and presented by the Neighbourhood Character Think Tank

The lack of empathy of the development proposal for the existing or preferred neighbourhood character demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of, and a lack of empathy for, the existing community in North Fitzroy.

It is an outward-facing neighbourhood, with a genuine and strong sense of openness and community that has a long history of banding together.

The residents of North Fitzroy generally enjoy small private open spaces, but are afforded the luxury of large, accommodating and welcoming public open spaces and it is in those public open spaces that locals relax, walk their dogs or congregate with their friends in the neighbourhood and visitors from all over Melbourne.

North Fitzroy is a neighbourhood rich in human interaction that has a true spirit of place, where a diverse range of people come together to engage in all manner of activities.

The design of the development is inherently inwards looking.

In particular, the townhouses around parts of the boundary of the site open inwards rather than onto the street.

This is in sharp contrast to the neighbourhood more generally, where houses have small front yards and generally present an open face to others who live in and visit the area.

We query where the opportunities are for residents of this development to interact “by chance” with their community, in the context of a design that offers little in the way of interaction with the wider community.

Other than a small section of the Queens Parade edge of the development, close to the commercial premises, it is closed to all but those who live there, and will present a blank face to the broader community in which it sits.

When our community stands as one we Are mighty

New Plans - New Architect - Same Problem

** STILL TOO BIG ** Our Councillors agree **

Newsflash from IDAC - Yarra councillors unanimously to_reject_ the revised plans for 26-56 Queens Parade.

A Massive Thank-you to each and every one who made  the treck to Richmond Town Hall.

It was a marathon sitting, and the developer was there to see the communities commitment in person. 

Yarra council to stand shoulder to shoulder with residents at VCAT. It's worth noting and commending the amazing focus the Yarra councillors have given appropriate development of this precinct - a series of council actions and votes have occurred to get us to this point and at every single one the councillors have supported and worked hard for their community.

Thanks particularly to Councillors Misha Coleman, Danae Bosler and Daniel Nguyen for officiating at a particularly challenging IDAC meeting.

Councillors, council officers and residents alike all had the stresses of shortened timeframes to meet the VCAT schedule. On the upside, there is now sufficient time between now and VCAT for Yarra to prepare an effective case.

Community concern has been been expressed in the heartfelt efforts of over 470 objectors.

Over 98 paid up personally to stand before VCAT in support of retaining neighbourhood character and amenity.

The picture below is the South Elevation from the plans supplied to VCAT. A red line is added to highlight the outline of the whole building proposed, as only the front section of three of the towers has been drawn in with any detail.

The link to the VCAT Substituted Plans July 2017 are on the council website, link is below.

When our community stands as one we are Mighty

Grande Grazie to 1889 Cucina Povera

"A big thank you to Laura and Paul for supporting Protect Fitzroy North Inc with an array of delicious pizzas for our volunteer thank you night! "

http://www.1889cucinapovera.com.au/ and on facebook  https://www.facebook.com/1889cucinapovera

Its Official - We Have a DDO on 26-56 Queens Parade

Our local member Richard Wynne has come through with an Interim DDO, which takes effect immediately.

A DDO to articulate the City Of Yarra's urban design objectives for the precinct, including heritage, amenity, and sustainability has been on the City Of Yarra planning priority to do list since 2008.

This developemnt application just made formalising and presenting the prefered controls to the State Governemnt urgent.

This is HUGE for our case at VCAT

Many Thanks to Mr Wynne, his department, our councillors and council officers who have done a mountain of work to get this up in time.

Last and by absolutely no means least, you know who you are, our wonderful cohort of letter and email writing legends, vox pops voices, twitter banner models, and passionate community members who have personally stood up to be counted on this.

The finish line is still a way off, but we can see it now, and the view is _alot_ less daunting.

The DDO sets a maximum height limit - 31m (10 storeys) where previously there was no limit.
So straight off the top two floors - gone!
Then reading a bit further, maximum street frontage 9m (3 storeys) - in the current plans - 11 storeys straigh up - gone!

In the words of the super salesman Tim Shaw - But wait there's more!

  1. Minimum setback of 8m for the upper-level apartments above the heritage K G Luke facade. This is great - it means the Art Deco crenellations (new word for me too) on the parapet can be still seen against the sky.
  2. The Art Deco facade has to be restored properly and incorporated into the fabric of the new building, not left as a petrified building skeleton tacked on the outside.
  3. There must be significant gaps in the building to allow distant views, eg. to see gaps right through the site from the Grandstand. No massed monolith architecture allowed.
  4. And ... there ... is ... still ... more ... lots .... more ...

Press the button below for your very own copy of the full nine pages of the official DDO

Comment from Steve Jolly, Socialist City Of Yarra Councillor for Langridge, on our Facebook Page

Originally the developer wanted 16 stories. Your well-organised community campaign has led to significant changes. Well done

Yarra Mayor, Councillor Amanda Stone on the City Of Yarra website is quoted.

“Maintaining Yarra’s liveability and protecting neighbourhood character, especially in our heritage precincts, is a priority for Council.

“Our community has told us that they are not opposed to increased housing density in appropriate locations, as long as new developments respect the local area. The 16 storey development that was originally proposed for this site clearly did not meet the expectations of Council or the community.

“We encourage developers to engage with residents early in the planning process, particularly if planning a large development that will impact people. A development site is not a blank canvas, it needs to respect and respond to the surrounding neighbourhood. Having a genuine conversation with local residents early on could help avoid costly and time consuming VCAT hearings down the track,”

The City of Yarra Official Announcement of the DDO on their website : Link Here

Clay Lucas Article on the Announcement in The Age. Link to Article

When our community stands as one, we are mighty.

Take a Bow North Fitzroy

Our Community Trivia Extravaganza on 4th March was a Great Night and a Financial Success

Local Legends who made the Night a Success

The star attractions of our silent and (very) loud auctions.

Vintage Linens & Collectables 519 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy North
Magic Muesli magicmuesli.com.au
Vinomofo Level 2/6 Palmer Parade, Cremorne
Bosisto's PO Box 74,Oakleigh South 3167
Blackhearts & Sparrows 119 Scotchmer Street, North Fitzroy
Piedimontes Supermarket 37/49 Best St, Fitzroy North
The Gorgeous Tea Co. www.thegorgeousteacompany.com
Cone 11 www.cone11.com.au
Russell Badham APW International 40 View St, Alphington
Childplay 151 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill
Curves Gym 278 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North
Tiger & Peacock 187 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North
Brunswick Street Gallery 322 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Imogene Antique & Contemporary Jewellery 410 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill
Masino Hair & Beauty 320 Park Street, Carlton North
Merriville Home 224 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North
Mitte 76 Michael Street, Fitzroy North
North Fitzroy Arms 296 Rae Street, Fitzroy North
The Food Repository 346 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Marion Marshall Studios 55 Scotchmer Street, Fitzroy North
Pet Art 78 Scotchmer Street, Fitzroy North
Fitzroy Programs (creators of Fitzroy Readers) 593 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy North
2K labware homewares www.2klabware.com.au
Two:Bob café 270 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North
Mayford Wines 6815 Great Alpine Road, Porepunkah
Coquette Rear of 336 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North
Fitzroy Veterinary Hospital 113-115 Scotchmer Street, Fitzroy North
Dance of Life – Yoga and Healing 250 George Street, Fitzroy
Best Street Store 31-33 Best Street, Fitzroy North
Aphro and Wolfe Café 566 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy North
Gregory's Antiques and Lights 147 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North
Rediscover Ease Alexander Technique 2/284 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North
Obelix & Co 217 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North
Mesop 628-632 Smith Street, Clifton Hill
Moppit Children’s Lifestyle Store 312 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North
Terrace Gardens Florist 338 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North
Cliftons Retravision 141 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill
Bean Around (formerly Degani) 350 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North
Village Vineyard 348 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North
Mecca Bros Fruit City 322 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North
Butcher’s Block 280 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North
Frootz on Parade 274 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North
McCoppins Supermarket 292 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North
Cellini Workshop 314 Queens Parade, North Fitzroy
Emma Whiting Travel 1/169 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill
Asaf Nagar Tennis Coaching Edinburgh Gardens, Fitzroy North
The Running Company 175 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill
Key Ingredients 171 Queens Parade, Clifton Hill
Tutti I Sapori Restaurant 398 Queens Parade, North Fitzroy
The Lord Newry Hotel243 Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy
North Fitzroy Arms Hotel 296 Rae St, Fitzroy North

Why are we fighting this again ?

In 2003, an independent panel of top planning experts from Panels Victoria, thoroughly reviewed a development application on this site, and approved the 172 apartment, 5 storey solution submitted by the owner.

Now after 13 years of doing nothing the same owner is back, with a new developer, and a new totally inappropriate application.

Why do reasonable residents who have been through it once, have to go through it again?

Put yourself in our position, think of the hassle of the first time around, think why is it on again ?

Why, because the fight is worth having, because Fitzroy North is worth protecting

Our Facebook group is Protect Fitzroy North, our Twitter feed is @ProtectFitzNth #TooBig2ignore

Our Contact Page is a click away in the Menu above, it sends your message to protectfizroynorth@gmail.com

Our Postal Address is Protect Fitzroy North Inc.
PO Box 1076, Fitzroy North, Vic 3068.

Videos of the speakers at our Public Meeting, including Professor Michael Buxton, are on our youtube page https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCbwtdjdEHRAGIGM9C3omAw 

A response to some ill informed comment in The Age, The Australian, The Australian Financial Review, and various developement industry media is in  Response To Opinion under the In The News page in the menu above

FRIENDS AND SUPPORTERS 

The Lord Newry Hotel            243 Brunswick Street, North Fitzroy   http://www.lordnewryhotel.com.au/

North Fitzroy Arms Hotel      296 Rae St, Fitzroy North                          http://www.northfitzroyarms.com.au/