The VCAT hearing approved of a development of the land at 1559 – 1567 High Street, Glen Iris. The site is particularly unusual in that it comprises two parcels of land, where the eastern parcel is effectively bounded by two roads and Gardiners Creek.
The development will comprise a three to seven-storey building with one, two and three-bedroom apartments designed by architects Rothelowman. A strong design feature of the development is an intricate arrangement of coloured glass panels and fins.
The case was hotly contested. With the site being adjacent to Gardiners Creek, it was strongly opposed by Boorondoora and Stonington City councils. The developer was represented by a leading Queens Counsel and a range of independent experts instructed by Best Hooper lawyers, with VCAT members who were highly experienced planning members.
The case is significant to the local community for three reasons:
Firstly, the Tribunal noted the importance of the creek environs but also recognised the opportunity for development at this location which is already marked by existing development closer to the creek.
Secondly, the Tribunal satisfied itself that the proposed building was of high architectural quality and that it stepped down to the creek. In this regard, the Tribunal required that the building be setback further within its own title boundary than originally proposed in order to be well separated from the bike track.
Thirdly, the Tribunal took the strong step of requiring the architecture and materials not be altered to any significant degree without the Tribunal granting further permission to do so. The Tribunal was persuaded that the proposed architecture was of high quality and, by the condition imposed, ensured that a lesser outcome does not eventuate.
The case ran over seven days and ultimately resulted in the approval of the development.