■ 1 Harcourt Street, Hawthorn
This exceptionally large estate was proposed for a two lot subdivision in 2018. The site is a corner lot and the proposal was to create a new lot and house accessible from Harcourt Street in the area occupied by the swimming pool and tennis court. The site was within a standard residential zone and much larger than its direct neighbours.
One month after the planning application, the director of planning applied to the state government to have the property added to the state heritage register as an emergency listing. This measure saw the site listed of state significance to the heritage of Victoria and replaced council as the decision maker with the Director of Heritage for the state government. The result of this action was that our client had to make a separate application to Heritage Victoria for support of the subdivision. Once the site was heritage listed, a heightened level of assessment and information is required to be submitted for the application to be supported.
Council’s decision to apply to the state government for a heritage listing of the property within weeks of receiving the subdivision application was a source of great disappointment for our client. Rather than appeal the listing of the property on the state heritage registrar we accepted the listing and then worked with the state government on the design of the new dwelling to respect the significant heritage features of the property. The result was the new development was nestled behind the existing heritage building with no visible vantage points from the public realm. It was a long consultation and negotiation process with the state government but this is common place for our team’s projects and we know how to navigate the system successfully for contentious developments.
■ 10 Turkeith Crescent, Glen Waverley
This ‘knock down / rebuild’ project involved the demolition of an existing house on a site within a heritage overlay and replacement with very contemporary dwellings. Demolition of existing buildings within an heritage overlay can be a complex application but the proposal is made simpler if the building is not designated as ‘contributory’ under the overlay.
The existing house was a non-contributory property to the significance of the heritage area and its removal was not contentious. However Council had concerns with the contemporary replacement build and were not supportive of a modern architecture response within the overlay. To compound this, the proposal required a new second crossover and driveway and the removal of a council street tree.
Our team engaged a reputable local heritage consultant to work with the architect and the client to identify the important elements of the heritage precinct and incorporate these features into the design of the new homes. This included a varying schedule of external finishes and window treatments that were common in the neighbourhood. We also successfully negotiated with council’s parks department to replace the street tree with two high quality evergreen trees in alternate locations within the nature strip. The result was a design that incorporated softer finishes to offset the contemporary design and was ultimately supported.
■ 2031 Malvern Road, Malvern
This contemporary three townhouse development on a corner site was designed by an award winning Melbourne architect with four bedrooms per dwelling with each dwelling having a roof top garden accessible from the main living area. The homes are a reverse living arrangement with bedrooms at the ground floor and main living areas on the upper floor.
Malvern has become a popular suburb for knock down, rebuild projects but when the redevelopment increases the number of houses on the lot from one to three then a planning permit is required. This provides Council a strong influence on the design outcome and in this case they were not supportive of the application on the basis that it was inconsistent with the established neighbourhood character. This was deeply upsetting and confusing for our clients because they had seen a number of redevelopments in their street that were directly comparable to what they wanted to build.
Rooftop terraces are an extremely contentions aspect of any design because of the inherent privacy impacts on the neighbours. They attract objections from the direct neighbours and require a proactive approach to ensure the design presents no overlooking impacts prior to the application being lodged with council. This proactive approach was evident in the application lodged with council and they were satisfied that the amenity impacts had been carefully considered. In tandem with this we were able to demonstrate to council that this area was undergoing a period of development transition and the neighbourhood character was evolving to a more compact city style living arrangement. These measures combined resulted in a successful application to council.
■ 20 Cadby Avenue, Ormond
This project involved the demolition of the existing house and construction of four bespoke townhouses on a site of under 700 square metres. Each house included a self-contained double garage within a basement car park. House one consisted of five bedrooms with each of the remaining homes being four bedroom.
The development was seeking to provide a more compact living arrangement while still retaining a more suburban character than typical apartment style living. Each house had it’s own front door at ground level and because of the number of bedrooms per home, the development had quite a ‘robust’ built form coupled with compromised vehicular access within the basement in a council designated flood plain. The basement car park also required the removal of trees within a neighbouring property for the development to be viable.
Successful planning applications are often the result of good negotiations and in this case our team consulted with the neighbour to secure a written confirmation that they supported the tree removal from their property to accommodate the basement. We appointed a reputable traffic engineer to work with the architects to design a ramp access to the basement that would prevent flood water entering the garages and through carefully considered design techniques we were able to successfully lodge a design that met all the requisite Rescode standards and was ultimately approved.
■ Telstra, 325 Chapel Street,
This Telstra retail outlet triggered a planning permit because of heritage controls in the busy Chapel Street precinct and included the installation of a external green wall and almost entire demolition of the existing building façade.
Demolition of the façade in a heritage precinct is generally not supported by Stonnington City Council and they also had concerns regarding the installation of a green wall along Chapel Street.
Our team developed an idea to recess the green wall into the building and also set up the majority of the new signage within the building so the new façade consisted entirely of glass and some lightweight timber cladding. This approach was accepted by Council and the client was permitted to continue the fitout.
■ SAE Institute, 235 Normanby Rd,
SAE are a tertiary education provider that specialise in the creative media industry. They provide courses in the areas of animation, film, gaming and others. This site forms their primary campus within the city of Melbourne.
The site is along a designated metropolitan highway and the proposal included alteration of access arrangements and installation of bike parks that are directly accessible from the highway, requiring approval from Vicroads. The institute also remained open until late at night seven days per week.
The CS team recognised that Vicroads support was critical for the proposed level of bike parks within the site and approached Vicroads for support before approaching council. This proactive approach provided council a high level of assurance that the site had been carefully considered as suitable for an education use prior to an application being lodged. The institute also remains open to students until 11pm and to resolve any issues council had with this our experts lodged documentation with council demonstrating the nearest residential property was in excess of two hundred metres away and the late operating hours would not affect existing residential amenity.
■ Bfit, 8 Garden Road,
‘BFit’ is a class only based gymnasium that operates classes in the early morning and evening and is closed during normal business hours. They are usually located within semi industrial areas with residential houses nearby.
‘Bfit’premises rely on shared car parking for their members and never have the car parking supply to cater for all the members during class times. This can be of concern for nearby business’ and residents who also rely on shared car parking to accommodate visitors and customers.
As part of any gym application we appoint a dedicated traffic engineer to identify the car parking supply and demand around the premises so we can accurately forecast the extent of an issue car parking will be around the premises. This dedicated traffic report is lodged with the town planning application in a proactive approach to the likely objections from the public on based on car parking. This approach is well received by Council and despite the application receiving a number of objections it was approved in January 2022.
■ 111 Cecil Street,
‘Schnitz’ restaurants will be well known to all Victorians as one of the fastest growing franchises in Australia. The CS team is Schmitz’s preferred consultant to run town planning applications for their stores through council. This corner site in South Melbourne is opposite south Melbourne markets and is also heritage listed.
Heritage listed buildings in the City of Port Phillip are treated very conservatively by Councils planning department so any large signage or external fixtures such as awnings or even painted logos on the building will not be allowed by Council. The rationale behind this is that they do not want anything that could detract from the heritage significance of the building as experienced by the average passer-by on the street.
The CS planning team had to work diligently with the Schnitz branding team to broker an outcome that meant the restaurant was easily recognisable to its customers from the outside and did not erode the heritage significance of the building. The result was the approval of the application and the restaurant opened its doors in 2015.
■ ANZ, 249 Waterworks Road,
Our experts are engaged by ANZ to obtain the required council planning permits for all their branches throughout Australia. This project was the conversion of a former St Georges bank to an ANZ branch and also included the temporary closing of the footpath.
This former St Georges Bank was taken over by ANZ in mid – 2020 and was required to be refurbished and opened as an ANZ branch in less than six months. Our team were appointed to obtain town planning approval and approval to erect the hoarding on the footpath so the construction team could commence an expedited fitout.
In consultation with Council the CS team lodged a congruent town planning approval application and a footpath occupation permit for the hoarding with council. This allowed for an expedited dual approval of both elements of the project but was dependant on comprehensive details to be provided to Council at lodgement stage to ensure both applications proceeded seamlessly through council. With no further information requested by council in assessing either application, both were approved within weeks of lodgement and the fitout was completed and the branch opened to customers ahead of schedule in October 2020.
■ 1 Wolai Ave, Bentleigh East
This project consisted of demolition of the existing house on the corner lot and replacement with two contemporary four bedroom houses.
The architect was proposing a modern design response with newer style exterior finishes on a site within the ‘minimal change’ area of Glen Eira City Council. The level of change proposed by the development was not accepted by council in the pre application meeting discussions.
Our experts collaborated with the architect on an updated schedule of finishes that met the clients brief and were more accepted by council. Although we had to go VCAT to dispute some of the conditions council applied to the final approval, the development was permitted in May 2017.