Resentment remains as GURNER gains approval for Queens Parade
26-56 Queens Parade has found planning resolution, with developer GURNER gaining approval via VCAT for the site which still remains steeped in controversy.
The success at VCAT comes after a marathon planning stint, seeing local discontent, intervention from Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne and ultimately VCAT deciding call. The Fitzroy North site can now progress to redevelopment for the purposes of 263 dwellings over the sprawling site.
Buildings of eight, nine and 10 storeys are approved, a far cry from the much denser 16 storey development that initially went to planning with 476 apartments in tow.
26-56 Queens Parade's path to approval was stymied after Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne intervened three days prior to the project's initial VCAT hearing, restricting any development over the site to 10 storeys.
In a strongly worded press release, the developer has insinuated that the move by the Planning Minister was a politically motivated exercise, owing to the development falling within the minister's electorate. Ultimately GURNER cycled through a handful of planning sets and two architects prior to finding approval.
26-56 Queens Parade and nearby developments have been vehemently opposed by residents action groups such as Protect Fitzroy North.
With approval in the pocket, developer Tim Gurner has gone on the offensive once more, berating the planning process.
It has been a challenging process for us but in terms of the actual effect on the project it is insignificant compared to the costs incurred by Council, taxpayers and other stakeholders.
For the Minister to claim that a project is of State Significance to warrant intervention and waste so much time and money for an outcome that represents just a 9 percent reduction in massing is ludicrous, however we are pleased with the outcome and believe this new design will deliver on our vision a world-class precinct for the area.
We held information sessions which the locals boycotted, then accused us of being closed to discussion – it was an intense period and one that we had never encountered before.
It is imperative that strategic planning is not affected by political intervention, particularly when the Planning Minister is conflicted and using his political power to influence planning matters in in his own electorate, when developers are acting within the Minister’s own planning guidelines.
Comment was sought from the Planning Minister but no response was received prior to publishing.
Further project particulars see a 450 square metre central public place which includes dining and retail spaces. GURNER and Cox Architecture's approved scheme includes 23,250 square metres of Net Sellable Area and two basement levels.
GURNER have indicated the project will initiate sales during 2019 with construction also expected to begin the same year.
Diagonally opposite the freshly approved site, GURNER is also pushing the merits of another site at planning. A new mixed-use building at 81-89 Queens Parade is planned, accounting for a 3,201 square metre triangular site that also fronts George Street.
Cox Architecture was also tasked with design duties, including a 1,732 square metre supermarket at ground level, 4,074 square metres of commercial office space and 110 serviced apartments.
If Gurner chooses to operate the serviced apartment component directly, it would represent the developer's first foray into the field. 81-89 Queens Parade's cost of development is estimated to be just shy of $30 million.