A major development is being planned next door to CERES

Here is our response to the development proposal.

A planning application to redevelop the site at 269 Stewart Street, next to the CERES main entrance, was advertised in January. This proposes a new building with 109 apartments over 6 storeys, two basement levels for 142 cars, a small shop and a rooftop terrace. The site shares a common boundary of more than 70 metres with CERES and is its largest private neighbour. It is currently a two-storey building housing small offices, workshops and a wedding car hire business. Unfortunately, what’s being proposed is starkly out of proportion to its context. It is more than twice the height of other buildings in the area, including the surrounding medium-density housing built since 2000. It would remove much of the heavily landscaped space along the front of the site, eroding the amenity and safety of Stewart Street, which Council has recognised as an important pedestrian route.

CERES was approached by the developer and their architects during the design phase of the project last year. The Board appointed representatives, who met with the developers and offered suggestions that reflected the principles of environmentally responsive design, performance and innovation advocated by CERES. Discussions also included reducing adverse impacts on CERES, such as shadowing, traffic and parking. Some minor changes were achieved through these discussions, including an offer to relocate CERES’s solar vehicle recharge station, which would be over-shadowed by the proposed building. The advertised plans include some solar panels, a roof top garden and clothes lines. However, CERES’ efforts to achieve substantial improvements to the proposal were not fruitful, with the large scale of the development limiting opportunities for a more sensitive approach.

This has led the CERES Board to resolve at its January 31st meeting to formally object to the application, with the aim of achieving substantial improvements to this proposal, or enable a more enlightened alternative to come forward with refusal of the current application. This site offers an ideal opportunity for a development that applies the sustainability principles and innovative technology that CERES has helped pioneer. As a national leader in education and demonstration for responsible environmental outcomes, it is disappointing that CERES has not been able to convince this particular developer to better reflect these values in their proposal for the site.

The size of this project threatens to overwhelm parts of the CERES site, and diminish its value as a place of retreat and inspiration for sustainable design and living. So we are now hoping the planning process can achieve a better outcome, by either substantially improving on this application or enabling someone else to bring a fresh approach.

– Jo Barraket, Chair, CERES Board

A copy of CERES’ objection can be found here. While the formal advertising period for this proposal has finished (and the plans are no longer published on Council’s website), Council will continue to accept objections until this matter comes before it for a decision.

Objections may be lodged in writing to Moreland City Council, Locked Bag 10, Moreland 3058 or by email to info@moreland.vic.gov.au

Check Council’s website for the details that should be included in an objection. Planning reference for this development is MPS/2016/734.

By | 2017-02-16T12:39:46+00:00 February 16th, 2017|Around Site, Board Updates|11 Comments


  1. Nigel McGuinness March 20, 2017 at 7:22 pm - Reply

    I think Ceres is forgetting that in order to prevent urban sprawl, we desperately require a lot more high density housing in the inner suburban areas. We are doubling Melbourne’s population to 8 million in the next couple of decades. That is a serious number. We need another Melbourne’s worth of accommodation.

    Ceres, is itself, probably the worse outcome for that location as it is uses up a large area with zero inhabitants. Ceres was established in an earlier era when suburban sprawl represented the great Australian dream.

    Please don’t let self-interest blind you to the greater good.

    • cinnamonevans March 21, 2017 at 9:27 am - Reply

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Nigel.

      These were issues the CERES board grappled with when making a decision about whether or not to object to the proposed development. Our objections are not to residential development, but to a number of the specific features of this proposed development.

      It’s a shame you think CERES itself is out of step with current local residential needs. CERES has provided stewardship of much-needed green space in the Moreland area for more than 35 years. Green areas in urban environments have been shown to improve social interaction, physical and mental health. They are a fundamental part of a healthy urban ‘ecosystem’.

      We also employ around 150 people, many of them local, and contribute around $30 million to the local economy each year.

      To your suggestion that we not be swayed by ‘self-interest’, the board of CERES has a legal obligation to act in the best interests of the Association, which is what we tried to do in this case.

      Debates like this are important as there are many different perspectives on the issues, so thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Anne March 21, 2017 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    Why are we doubling Melbourne’s population? This is the issue that needs to be confronted. What is the desperate hurry? Why the rush that has the potential to destroy our Melbourne. And places such as yours are so important for livability, social interaction all the things Ceres aspires to give to the community. I am so concerned that our present amenity is quickly disappearing over this city and we will end up with apartments with no soul and designed with profit in mind only. I wish you well Ceres but I think its time we have a serious discussion about our Melbourne generally and not presume as Nigel does that the doubling of our population is a given and with the associated destruction of the sorts of places that have made our city so appealing.

    • Cinnamon Evans March 22, 2017 at 9:44 am - Reply

      Thanks Anne for your comments. Good to have more perspectives.

  3. Nigel McGuinness March 22, 2017 at 8:20 am - Reply

    Apologies for my stupid comment above. Was only meant satirically, but I neglected to provide any indication of that.

    The patient tone of your response is quite something. (Am very glad the board has the self-interests of Ceres at heart. It is worth a hundred apartment blocks.)

    • Cinnamon Evans March 22, 2017 at 9:45 am - Reply

      Thanks Nigel for clarifying! And thanks very much for your kind comments.

  4. Kerry Roberts April 4, 2017 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    How lucky will those 109 apartment owners be to have CERES on their doorstep. I would love to live there.
    Plant a Forrest along the border and embrace your new neighbors.

  5. EJ May 25, 2017 at 11:36 pm - Reply

    Residents in my area objected to a 4 storey apartment in our street in Brunswick East and managed to get the developer down to 2 storeys with an 8 metre set-back for the 3rd. So from the street it only looks like 2 storeys which seems acceptable. This appears to have set a precedent now with other apartments in our area following suit. I appreciate that there’s a need to curb the urban sprawl to reduce destruction to our natural environment, but proposing an 6 level apartment in such a quiet residential area with the tranquility of CERES seems counter-productive on many levels. Having a 6 storey apartment complex on main road with other similar apartments seems more sensible.

    • Jen June 8, 2017 at 3:46 pm - Reply

      EJ – I am a resident directly affected by this development which is now at VCAT. Can I ask what street in Brunswick East or what development that was? This zone is CZ1 which is big part of the dilemma as earmarked for high density. I am just wondering what Zone your development was & what was successful in the objection? Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

  6. John McBain September 30, 2017 at 12:27 am - Reply

    Interesting stuff. Even in difficult situations its best (as I am sure CERES are) to look for win-wins, or win-win-wins. That is hard when plans are on the table without much prior interaction, and even harder within the bureaucratic parameters of most local govt planning and development processes. The downsides for Ceres are obvious, so what are possible benefits of an intensive development next door? Having only been to CERES a couple of times a few years ago, and being a bit old, my recollections may not be that accurate! My vision is the development site would primarily be higher than the growing areas of Ceres, giving an opportunity for beneficial intensive integrated waste (green, food, etc & water) management of their resources. Boundary structures and overlooking building walls = opportunity for vertical urban ag systems. Then there is also a lot of potential customers. I guess potential may also lie in looking at Ceres and the development lot as one planning unit. Will be at CERES for ACFCGN National Gathering and AGM happy to interact. I did 3 years of selling real estate in Margaret River, SW WA

    • Sieta Beckwith October 2, 2017 at 10:50 am - Reply

      Hello John. Thanks for your comments. Like you, we can see both benefits and disadvantages of this particular development. Our staff and board members who have experience in planning and the like have been working on a good outcome but no updates just yet. Glad to hear you are coming to ACFCGN – it’s going to be great! Sieta

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