April 6, 2016 10:00am
Andrew Rogers – Moonee Valley Leader
Work on a 23-storey development in Moonee Ponds is expected to start in June after the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal awarded an amended planning permit for the project.
Construction company Caydon Property Group took the matter to VCAT after the Moonee Valley Council rejected its application for a planning permit last December.
The mediated outcome through VCAT means Caydon is awarded the permit with a number of compromises to ease the council’s concerns.
Moonee Valley Mayor Andrea Surace said the council rejected a planning application for stage one of the development due to its size and a lack of car parking.
“Key among the improvements are a reduction in height of the tallest tower, from 26 storeys to 23, the construction of more three-bedroom apartments due to the amalgamation of smaller apartments, a further 124 car parking spaces and additional retail space.
“The project developer will also contribute $802,500 towards car parking and related improvements.”
A spokesman for Caydon said the company now considers it “full steam ahead” at the Hall St site.
Mason Square will feature 612 one, two and three-bedroom apartments with 580 car spaces and storage for 258 bicycles.
More than 200 homes have already been sold off the plan, with It expected to take about 30 months to build.
Caydon is taking tenders from builders to start on the project. Principal Joe Russo said the collaborative process to get the permits approved demonstrated the company’s commitment to working towards positive planning outcomes with the relevant parties.
“Throughout the planning process we’ve listened carefully to the concerns of council, residents and other stakeholders and we are convinced that the amendments have ultimately produced an even better planning outcome for the area,” he said.
“The Moonee Ponds community will benefit from 28 per cent of the 1.4ha site being available for public use.
“This will take the form of wider footpaths, new laneways through the development, improving connection between Homer, Hall and Puckle streets and a fantastic urban plaza to be used by the whole community.”
The management of the plaza will be in council hands upon completion, Mr Russo said.
“This includes a major pedestrian link where people can walk, rest and enjoy the pleasant environment,” he said.
Cr Surace said the allocation of 28 per cent of the site for public use was “a positive outcome”.
“This includes the construction of a public plaza, widened walkways, new pedestrian linkages through the site and significant street and landscape improvements.”
Cr Surace said the council would apply the “same rigorous assessment” to stage two of the site in due course.