Council supports new development in Macauley as structure plan remains on the shelf
City of Melbourne Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece has called on the state government “to get a move on” with approving the Macauley Structure Plan, despite the council endorsing plans for a 12-storey development in the urban renewal precinct.
The $105.7 million proposed development at 218-246 Macaulay Rd and 23-35 Boundary Rd in North Melbourne was endorsed unanimously by City of Melbourne councillors at their February 6 Future Melbourne Committee meeting.
According to council documents, the owner of the site Ceapal Pty Ltd, seeks to construct a six-storey building facing Macaulay Rd and two attached 12-storey buildings at the site, which has a brick warehouse and office building.
Under the Rothelowman-designed plans, the 394-dwelling development would comprise 82 studio apartments, 156 one-bedroom apartments, 132 two-bedrooms apartments, 24 three-bedroom apartments.
It would also have a communal and an internal communal area on level one, and a communal terrace area on level six.
Four per cent of housing (about 15 apartments) would be dedicated to affordable housing at a 35 per cent discount on market value or rent.
Other features include a total of 757.2 square metres for three retail tenancies, as well as a 1985.7sqm ground floor supermarket.
A proposed publicly accessible link (laneway) would be constructed along north and west site alignment “to form part of the community benefit associated with the uplift sought to develop the site”.
The application proposes a total of 190 car parking spaces with 138 for residents and 52 for supermarket/retail customers.
The City of Melbourne’s planning officers recommended that the proposal be approved after it was referred to council by the Department of Transport and Planning, which will now consider the application for final approval.
The council’s officers noted the “layout and design of the buildings sit comfortably within the broader North Melbourne and the Macaulay urban renewal area context”.
DTP advised the council it had received one objection to the proposal, which raised concerns about overshadowing, car parking, traffic congestion and the lack of apartment diversity.
But council documents stated, the “proposal will not result in unacceptable amenity impacts to adjoining properties and shadowing impacts to Clayton Reserve and Canning St Reserve will be mitigated”.
Among conditions set out by the council for the planning permit application to have an electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the car park and have a minimum of 16 bicycle spaces.
Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece told the council meeting that the proposal was a “very substantial new residential development” with a “really outstanding design”.
“We recognise that this is a part of Melbourne which is changing significantly,” he said.
“I think this will be a really, very high-quality development which will be highly sought after by folks planning to move to the City of Melbourne or move within the City of Melbourne, so I commend everyone involved.”
However, Cr Reece noted that the council’s Macaulay Structure Plan 2021, which sets the vision for major urban renewal of Macaulay within North Melbourne and Kensington, was still awaiting approval by the state government.
“That means that planning applications are taking longer than they need to assess; applicants like we have tonight don't have that certainty around their applications,” he said.
“We consider ourselves to be good and proud partners with the Victorian Government around the meeting the housing challenges for Melbourne and I really do hope that they get a move on and approve that planning scheme amendment for exhibition so we can get on delivering a world class suburb for the people of Melbourne.”
The council’s environment and heritage portfolio lead Cr Rohan Leppert said it was not easy to “ascertain exactly what government wants on this site, given the mishmash of existing and proposed controls and policies on the land”.
“Although we cannot give regard to the new Macaulay planning controls, we can and must give regard to seriously entertain sunlight to parks, controls and a range of policies that have been adopted”.
Caption: Renders of the proposed development at the corner of Macaulay Rd and Boundary Rd, North Melbourne.