The developer, CSTP Pty Ltd has been granted a review by VCAT which will be heard beginning 14th April 2009.
The appeal is in relation to a refusal by Boroondara Council to grant a permit for:- "Use and development(including partial demolition) of the land to construct two buildings (a three storey and a nine storey building) basement car parking and an open plaza comprising shops, offices and 118 dwellings; the removal lopping and pruning of vegetation; a reduction in associated car parking and loading bay requirements; alter access to and works within a road zone, category 1; on land partially subject to a Heritage Overlay".
It is interesting to note that the complex has now been amended to include a nine story residential tower ( previously 8 storeys) and the removal of vegetation refers to the mature trees along the Cookson St embankment which is subject to heritage overlay protection.
The so called open plaza is really only an open entry to the station below and the car parking included in the proposition will be totally inadequate for the tenants and the residents in the 118 apartments in the nine storey tower.
This proposition is in stark contrast with BRAG's vision for the site for a landscaped open public plaza with a low scale community centre and a carpark below which has been accepted by council as the preferred use for the site.( see video below) Note; in a council survey over 60% of Camberwell residents preferred the BRAG vision against only 17% for a four storey proposal by an urban design committee which was much less than the current government supported complex proposal.( the other 13% were for either no development or had no opinion).
BRAG organized for our members to lodge objections with VCAT against the Government's and VicTrack's unacceptable proposal and so far, despite the limited notice just prior to Christmas, a very large number of objections have been sent in to VCAT and we thank all who responded at such short notice.
We will be organizing a futher letter box campaign after the holiday break to give all residents the opportunity to have their say.
As far as we can see, the only beneificiaries of this proposed development of the air space over the station precinct will be the developer and the government. The government has failed miserably to recognize its custodial role in management of the site for the community.Instead it has opted for a grab for cash.
Certainly, the local community and commuters will gain nothing other than the loss of valuable open space and a chance to have an attractive landscaped area instead of the present ugly rail yards and car park.
See also the story below and watch this space for updates.