Despite being rejected by Council and VCAT last year, an even taller development has been proposed immediately beside the CERES Park main entrance. While this proposal is slightly smaller than the 2017 application, it is still six storeys, more than double the height of any other building in the neighbourhood, either existing or likely.
The developer has gone straight to VCAT to seek permission, without waiting for Moreland City Council to make a decision on their current permit application. CERES, surrounding neighbours, and lovers of Merri Creek are encouraging Council to support a robust refusal of the current proposal at VCAT.
CERES CEO, Cinnamon Evans says, “Since the VCAT hearing in 2017 Council has clarified that this site is not designated for intensive development, however the developer is pressing on as if it is.”
“We take issue with the scale of the development, which is even higher than the original proposal, and completely out of context for this neighbourhood and the abutting open space corridor.”
“It would tower over CERES and the Merri Creek valley.”
“We are also deeply concerned about the safety of pedestrians and cyclists using Stewart Street near the entrance to CERES, with the application estimating 300 vehicle movements per day to and from the project, right beside CERES main entrance – a location strongly criticised by the developer’s traffic expert at VCAT last year,” said Ms Evans.
The land is covered by a special Environmental Significance Overlay provision requiring that any development is respectful of the values of the Merri Creek Valley corridor and its environmental, landscape and recreational significance.
In its 2017 decision VCAT concluded that CERES is an important component of the Merri Creek Valley and that the proposed development would have a visible impact from multiple locations within the Community Environment Park.
“CERES is supportive of redevelopment of this land that is respectful of its low-rise residential and open space setting.” said Ms Evans.
“VCAT urged the developer to be responsive to this sensitive location. But this proposal is not the rethink we expected, just an adjustment of the plans rejected by Council and VCAT last year.”
“CERES offered to accept a compromise of a four-storey development. However, after considering this for some time, the developer has chosen to take the issue to VCAT in the hope of gaining approval for the full six-storey development.” she added.