News / Planning

MP joins campaign against high rise apartment towers

Planning Minister urged to lower height limits in Albert Street zone

Gilpin Park is popular for dog walking.

Mark Phillips
Friday, September 24, 2021

BRUNSWICK MP Tim Read has thrown his weight behind a community campaign opposing high rise development near the suburb’s parks.

Speaking in State Parliament last week, Dr Read urged Planning Minister Richard Wynne to intervene in two contentious projects in Albert Street by lowering local building height limits.

The fate of both developments totaling 682 apartments will be decided in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal towards the end of this year after Moreland Council refused to grant them planning permits.

A community group called Scale It Down – Protect Brunswick Parks has been formed to fight against the encroachment of high rise towers near Gilpin and Clifton parks.

Both projects — at 395–411 Albert Street and 429 Albert Street — are in an area designated for urban renewal with an eight-storey limit.

Developer Stockland wants to build 155 dwellings in 12 buildings, including two eight-storey towers, at 429 Albert Street. At 395 Albert Street, known as Albert Fields, developers Mirvac and Milieu Properties want to construct 527 apartments, including two 10 storey buildings.

Allowable building heights in the area were increased to eight storeys by Mr Wynne in 2017.

Read more:

Park users unite to oppose multi-storey apartments

Speaking in Parliament on September 14, Dr Read called on Mr Wynne “to heed the calls of people who believe our inner-city green canopy and parks must be protected” and review planning controls to lower the height limits.

He said the two eight-storey towers and two 10-storey towers would form a “continuous wall” along Albert Street, overshadowing and dividing the parkland and altering the character of a unique inner-city green space in a way that lower rise development would not.

“Under lockdown we are using and appreciating our local parks more than we did,” Dr Read said.

“And as local population density increases, we see how important our parks are, especially to those who live in apartments and to everyone who wants to spend some time in green space, away from buildings.”

Since its formation in August, the Scale It Down group has mobilised to survey park users and to collect more than 800 signatures for a petition to the council, VCAT and Mr Wynne calling on them to reject both projects and to ensure that any future developments within the immediate vicinity of Brunswick parklands are limited to four storeys.

The group is seeking to raise $16,000 to retain a town planning advisor to represent residents at the two VCAT hearings in November and December.