Sites roll through opaque Fishermans Bend planning process

Sites roll through opaque Fishermans Bend planning process

By Meg Hill

Twenty-six major Fishermans Bend planning applications that were frozen by the Minister for Planning in 2018 are making their way back through approval processes, with two now endorsed by the City of Melbourne.

As reported in a previous edition of Docklands News, the first was endorsed in December. The second – for three towers in the Lorimer Precinct – was endorsed by councillors at a Future Melbourne Committee (FMC) meeting on February 16.

The proposed development, which sits directly opposite Forge and the under-construction Voyager towers at Yarra’s Edge, includes one 11-storey office tower and two residential towers of up to 24 storeys on a block of land at 850-868 Lorimer St. The land is currently occupied by a two-storey building.

The development is costed at $252 million. The residential component will include a minimum of six per cent affordable housing.

The endorsement raised the issue of transparency within the planning process set out for the 26 frozen applications, which are now receiving approval not through planning applications but incorporated documents to the Melbourne Planning Scheme.

The developments are exempt from public notice requirements and third-party objections through this process, which Cr Rohan Leppert said lacked transparency but was “the best we can do”.

“This is one of the largest and most multifaceted sets of permits, if you like, even though there’s no permit being applied for, we’re advising the Minister they should be embedded straight into the Melbourne Planning Scheme, all without notice and all without review and given everything else that’s going on in the world all with very, very little fanfare,” he said.

Cr Leppert said the council had received correspondence from Lorimer precinct residents about the process and how they could be involved.

“It’s incredibly difficult to know how to begin to explain to the non-planner and the local resident how we got to this position and why they have absolutely zero rights even to be told what’s going on let alone to have their say on the application,” he said.

“This is not a transparent and accountable planning process but it’s the best we can do given the way those applications were called in and the way that incorporated documents are now the fairest ways to embed these planning permissions straight into the planning scheme in a way that works for the applicant and allows the city and department to influence in the direction of the policy that we set for Fishermans Bend.” •

Docklands voters turn green and sexy

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August 3rd, 2022 - Docklands News
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