VCAT now the 'Agent of Change' for Brunswick's Michael Street apartments

VCAT now the 'Agent of Change' for Brunswick's Michael Street apartments
VCAT now the 'Agent of Change' for Brunswick's Michael Street apartments

The ‘Agent of Change’ provision has been cited by respondents in relation to a planning application seeking an 8 storey apartment development adjacent to live music venue Howler.

Introduced by the Victorian state government during 2014, the ‘Agent of Change’ principle effectively protects live music venues from residential development. A key planning consideration for Brunswick's 8-14 Michael Street was whether future occupants would be protected from unreasonable noise impacts emanating from Howler.

Moreland City Council's failure to determine the application within prescribed timelines has seen the proposal book a date with VCAT, with negotiations scheduled prior to a June 25th hearing.

VCAT's involvement though may be streamlined given that Council has been urged by internal planners to recommend a permit be granted by VCAT subject to conditions.

8-14 Michael Street's application garnered 426 objections and presentations to Council from Howler owner Brendan Brogan and Music Victoria. Despite Council planners recommending approval, Moreland City Council elected to reject the application based upon the weight of public discourse.

Brendan Brogan was quoted in The Music as follows:

The councillors rightly believed that 74 apartments next to a live music venue would be problematic. They saw that the design didn’t take into account the Agent Of Change principle and that more design would be needed to enable residents and Howler to co-exist.

It is a massive win for the music industry. It means music venues are genuinely starting to feel the protection of the Agent Of Change law.

They saw that Moreland needed development, but they also saw that live music formed a key part of why people would live in Brunswick.

VCAT now the 'Agent of Change' for Brunswick's Michael Street apartments
8-14 Michael Street is still up for approval. Image: SJB

Moreland City Council's Deputy Mayor, Natalie Abboud was also quoted in The Music regarding the application's perceived shortcomings. "We felt that the interface between it and Howler was too sensitive and the requirements regarding Agent Of Change and sound assessments (specifically related to vibration) had not been fully met."

To counter this, acoustic attenuation recommendations form part of the planning officers report on the intended development which will carry on to VCAT. Acoustic modelling prior to occupancy and testing post occupancy are recommended in order to satisfy concerns, with further works mandated if needed in order to make the apartments compliant with noise level guidelines.

Moreland City Council fielded the initial application for the intended development during December 2016.

Designed by SJB the application includes a mix of 33 single, 38 double and 3 triple bedroom apartments for developer Brunswick Holdings, with apartment sized ranging between 50 and 127 square metres.

Apartments Brunswick City of Moreland SJB Planning


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