Evolving Port

Port Melbourne and Fishermans Bend change. Houses are changed or demolished and new forms of housing take their place. Port Houses records some of these changes.

28 January 2011

Farams: 405 Bay St, Port Melbourne

20 May 2013
The direction given by VCAT as summarised below is given effect in the re-development:

27 January 2011
The recent demolition of all but the verandah and front wall of the former Faram's Hardware has prompted interest in the planning history of the site.
In June 2008, Council refused a permit for a number of reasons, including that 'the proposal would demolish too much of the existing heritage buiding which would detract from the originality and heritage values of the existing buildings' and that 'the proposed alterations and additions to the street facade of the existing building and at the upper levels would detract from the originality and heritage values of the existing buildings.'
The applicant took the matter to VCAT. In May 2009, VCAT approved the amended plans that were put forward at the hearing.
Here are some relevant extracts from the Tribunal's decision:
'11. Although the Heritage Overlay ... constrains development, the existence of the overlay does not prevent redevelopment of the land. It does mean that any redevelopment of the site needs to occur in a way that is respectful of the character of the building and the heritage setting.
12. The front facade and verandah of the existing shop premises are the key elements of the heritage fabric and these are to be retained in the proposed development.'
To read the full VCAT decision in full, click here

21 January 2011

What does a heritage overlay mean?

A heritage overlay is a valuable mechanism in council planning schemes to protect areas of heritage housing that have been identified as significant. The overlays are usually supported by studies of their significance undertaken by heritage experts.
To demolish a house covered by a heritage overlay, a permit is required. The permit application process is rigorous, and if the applicant is seeking to demolish a house, they will be required to satisfy the tests outlined in the City of Port Phillip's heritage policy.
Where there is no heritage overlay in place, a permit is not required to demolish a house unless it has an individual citation of significance.
Hence, the heritage overlay is a very powerful mechanism in a planning scheme.
The importance attached to a heritage overlay is indicated in this photograph from Evans St which suggests that this house is a development opportunity because it is outside a heritage overlay.

18 January 2011

92 Derham St, Port Melbourne

Living next door to a steel castings factory

image courtesy of the Port Melbourne Historical & Preservation Society

This photograph of 92 Derham St was taken in 1972. The Port Melbourne Council then began to encourage sites such as this to transition to full residential development. The Derham St property was purchased by the Port Melbourne Council for $50,000 on September 21, 1972. 

The factory made every washing day a headache. It was replaced by some modest terrace housing.

13 January 2011

502 - 518 Williamstown Rd, Port Melbourne

502 - 518 Williamstown Rd, Port Melbourne, 2011

VCAT found little to commend in the application for 32 dwellings at 502 to 518 Williamstown Road and ordered that no permit be issued. Council had recommended a conditional approval for this development.

The Tribunal found it to be 'an overly ambitious proposal which constitutes a poor site response in terms of the intended car parking arrangements and the extent to which the new built form will involve high and imposing walls built out or close to the site boundaries.' [21, ref P934/2010]

09 January 2011

220 Esplanade East, Port Melbourne


The completed development from Esplanade East.

220 Esplanade East, Port Melbourne, 2013

There was a magnificent magnolia tree in the front yard of 220 Esplanade East, and some mature silky oaks to the rear of the site.

April 2011

On 29 April 2011, VCAT ordered that Council's decision to refuse the application be set aside. A permit was granted for the demolition of the existing building and the construction of of four two storey dwellings.

Here are some conditions on the permit that may be of interest:

Condition 7. Prior to the completion of the development two trees (Angophora costata) must be planted to the satisfaction of the Responsible Authority [Council] in the Esplanade East centre median in the vicinity of the subject site, at a cost to be borne by the applicant.

Condition 12. Privacy screens as required in accordance with the endorsed plans must be installed prior to occupation of the building to the satisfaction of the Responsible Authority and maintained thereafter to the satisfaction of the Responsible Authority. 

Here is some of the reasoning behind VCAT's determination which is relevant to many situations in Port Melbourne.


25. The proposed building ... is also designed to present a firm and noticeable modern aspect to the front street. It is not unique in that respect. So modern an aspect does not mimic the remaining Victorian and Edwardian residential buildings of the area, but mimicry is a poor approach to infill development. The proposal would make a more positive contribution than the existing dwelling on the review site and, whilst being noticeable, would not, in my opinion be overly dominant or overbearing.

28. There is no heritage value in the building to be demolished. The only question is whether the proposal unduly detracts from other buildings of heritage interest of the area more broadly. In my opinion it is acceptable from these points of view.

Neighbourhood character
29 ... It is ... a question of how this proposal would fits into its streetscape and its neighbourhood, in terms of its existing neighbourhood character. That neighbourhood character is no longer exclusively represented by the original development of the area. It is now rather various with variety of infills and redevelopments from several periods, including modern ones. I consider the proposal to be quite suitable from the neighbourhood character point of view. Indeed, it makes a positive contribution to the neighbourhood, the streetscape and the area, a more positive contribution than with the existing building on the site. 

30 I do not regard the proposal as an overdevelopment of this site, although it might be considered that in some other contexts. ... this is a closely settled inner suburb where town houses of this sort are acceptable. I regard this proposal as being acceptable in terms of its setbacks and site coverage.'


January 2011

Port Phillip Council considered, and refused, this application in August 2010. It had been recommended for approval by Council's planner. 

220 Esplanade East, Port Melbourne, January 2011

The application involves
  • the demolition of the existing post-war house and removal of 4 Grevillea robusta ['silky oak'] trees on the McCormack St boundary. Tree removal does not require a planning permit. The construction of 4, two storey dwellings
  • dwellings 1 and 2 on the western side of the allotment with garages, vehicle access and front entrances off Esplanade East 
  • dwellings 3 and 4 on the western side of the allotments with garages, vehicle access and front pedestrian entry off McCormack St.
The application is now before VCAT.

07 January 2011

157 Albert St, Port Melbourne

11 January 2011

155 and 157 Albert St viewed from Union St. The plane trees of Clark St can be seen the background.

157 Albert St, July 2006

The Port Phillip Council did not make a decision within the required time and hence the application was taken to VCAT. VCAT approved the development in October 2008. To follow the arguments that led to their decision, click here

'I am satisfied that the objectives of Clause 22.05 and Performance measures 1,2,3 and 4 are met. In arriving at this conclusion, I am influenced by the following:
  • the building is less than 3 storeys
  • the streetscape has a diverse building scale, and the height of the new development is no more than 1 storey above the height of the lower of the adjoining buildings
  • the streetscape does not have consistent roof forms
  • front setbacks in the street are diverse
  • vegetation and landscaped front setbacks do not form a significant part of the character of the neighbourhood [Kidston v Port Phillip CC [2008] 1969, 17]

18 Lyons St, Port Melbourne

1 July 2017

This property is once again for sale. It has deteriorated significantly since 2011 when it was last the subject of planning discussion. Advertised for the land. Just land.

Curious that I should have noticed this sale notice today, exactly six years to the day since I last posted about this property.

1 July 2011
18 Lyons St, Port Melbourne, January 2011

Approval for the demolition of this dwelling and the construction of a three level building containing two dwellings with associated basement carparking was given by VCAT in August 2009 as Council had not made a decision within the required time. 

Discussion at VCAT centred on the nature and character of Lyons St:

'The street and surrounding neighbourhood is characterised by mainly late Victorian era housing interspersed with a number of circa 1960s alterations or infill houses along Lyons St, circa 1970s housing facing Esplanade West and circa 1960s walk up flats along Dow St to the rear and a circa 1930s Masonic Lodge along Liardet St. Lyons St is mixed in appearance' [Fredman Molina Planning Pty Ltd vs Port Phillip CC,13]