Thank you for everyone who reached out to us to bring the Planning Permit Application on the Boyd Park site to our attention. We all agree that open space in Southbank is sadly missing, and in the short time that the park has been opened, it has become a much loved and needed community asset.
The development of this site has about a 10-year history. Right from the onset when the City of Melbourne decided to acquire it, it was always earmarked for a development on the back portion to pay for the establishment/refurbishment of the old school building to establish our community hub, library and park. We are all disappointed to see part of the park lost so soon after opening, however, through our 2016 campaign, we did manage to fight to reduce the footprint of the development and proceed with the park before the development was to commence.
SRA lobbied extensively to have Boyd turned into a green space for the community rather than another big apartment development. We were not successful in having the entire block dedicated to the park, the building in the Planning Permit Application being the compromise. While we failed to stop the development, we did manage to have the building footprint significantly reduced a second time, and over 1000sqm of Council (Community) space included in the building (there was none previously). You can see the original footprint of the planning permit on the CoM Development Activity Model site (in green).
The City of Melbourne will develop the vacant spaces of the undercroft of Kings Way to replace the basketball court that will be lost. We certainly thought, and still hope, that the undercroft development will at least commence, and hopefully be finished before the development commences.
This is an extract from SRA President, Tony Penna’s report in 2018/2019:
“Since my time as president, some 6 years, we have been lobbying hard to reverse the decision to sell a portion of the Boyd park block for a high-rise development. If you are not aware, recently Council has awarded this contract. While this is a disappointing outcome, our members should be satisfied that SRA had tried their best and successfully reduced the footprint of the block by about 30% and successfully argued for 1000sqm of community space across two floors in the new development. For a development we ‘had to have’, I am proud of our achievement.”
The City of Melbourne have already signed the agreement with the developer, and if Council were to revoke their application, the developer would certainly go to VCAT to either have the revocation overridden or compensation in lieu.
Residents may certainly choose to object to the Minister, however, as this development falls within the Capital City Zone, objections only have merit when the developer is not complying with the planning scheme. In this case, they are fully compliant. If the Minister was to reject the development on grounds that were outside the planning scheme, then the developer would also win an appeal in VCAT. This happened with the 135 Sturt St development next to the heritage listed Malthouse theatre. The then site owner, Architect firm Hayball, used the ‘discretionary’ 40m height limit on Sturt St to submit a plan for a tower over 60m. The plan was rejected by Council but approved by VCAT on appeal by Hayball.
What we can do as a community is continue to lobby for more green space in Southbank, including maintaining pressure on CoM to complete the extensively delayed Southbank Blvd and Dodds St public space project; identification of a new space to locate the community orchard currently at Boyd Park; commencement of the undercroft development for the basketball court; identification of new potential for additional greenspace; and, ensure that any green spaces already developed are maintained so that they flourish. The mental health benefits that green space bring to residents in areas of high density living, cannot be underestimated.
Without the support of residents joining our organisation, our voice would be silent and our efforts fruitless. It is because we have passionate residents that support our advocacy work that our voice is heard in council and the planning minister. Please show your support too by joining ('Join Now' link at top of page).
See below links to some of our past submissions to council.