Evolving Port

Port Melbourne continues to change. Houses are changed or demolished and new houses take their place. New forms of housing are created. Port Houses records some of these changes.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

378 - 382 Bay St, Port Melbourne



I have always been intrigued by this handsome threesome of houses at the northern end of Bay St, constructed in 1900. The tree obscures some of the details described in the citation below.

'The allotment was purchased from the Crown by T Fordham. By February 1900 the land was owned by James McLaughlan, of Howe Crescent, South Melbourne. During that year he erected three 8 room brick houses.
'A rare example in Port Melbourne of a grand terrace of three houses, it is of unusually late date for the style. The terrace demonstrates the original mixed residential and commercial character of Bay Street. The terrace is notable for its elaborate parapet design and cast iron balcony decoration. These three two storey terrace houses were constructed in polychromatic brickwork, now painted. They are relatively wide and have cast iron balconies and verandahs. The central house is more elaborate than its flanking neighbour, having a triangular pedimented parapet and more complex cast iron decoration. In addition, the central house has tripartitite windows, arched to the ground floor, rather than the paired windows found on the other three houses. The cornice detailing on the two outer houses differ from that on the central house. The south house has a rectangular pediment which differs from the possbily altered pediment on the north house. The original decorative urns have been removed.' 
Source: City of Port Phillip Heritage Review Database No: 256

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

220 Esplanade East, Port Melbourne

When I last wrote about 220 Esplanade East, Council had refused the application and the applicant had sought a review of Council's decision at VCAT. On 29 April, 2011, the Tribunal ordered that Council's decision to refuse the application be set aside and a permit was granted for the demoliton of the existing building and the contruction of a building to contain 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.
I recommend reading the Tribunal's decision in full which you can access here, but I quote from some of the reasoning behind the determination which is relevant to many situations in Port Melbourne.
Reasons
'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.
Heritage
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 charcter point of view. Indeed, it makes a positive contribution to the neighbourhood, the streetscape andd the area, a more positive contribution than with the existing building on the site.
Overdevelopment
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.'
VCAT REFERENCE NO P2558/2010, APPLICATION NO 166/2010

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Iconica: 74 Stokes St

2 February 2013
Here is Iconica completed. Iconic? You be the judge.


8 May 2011
8 May 2011
This site was formerly occupied by a double fronted house - hidden behind a high brick wall. The site is located in the Mixed Use Area of Port Melbourne - the area generally bounded by Graham/Beach/Pickles/Princes Sts. This area contains some of Port Melbourne's most significant heritage buildings, heritage protected houses, and former industrial sites. It is also an area designated for growth. This has led to some tension in planning decision making as to what constitutes the greater imperative: growth or protection of heritage, and the interface between higher order development and low rise residential. 
This particular decision is a case study of this debate. Council refused the application but it was subsequently approved at VCAT. While I recommend reading the whole Tribunal decision, here are a few key points from the it's decision:
"30. So what does all that [Council's planning policy] mean? We are of the view that the notion of respecting character and maintaining amenity needs to be considered in the context of a site located in an area that is earmarked for growth, tall buildings and as a consequence, more intense development. "Change" of a substantial nature is envisaged in this area. It would be a nonsense to, on one hand, identify this area as being of metropolitan significance and for growth, and then, on the other hand, stifle the significant strategic growth opportunity that it offers by insisting that new development must respond to the low rise character of the traditional housing stock, or to expect that amenity impacts would be the same as those that might be more reasonably be anticipated in other residential areas where there is not the same strategic support for growth. The Tribunal believes that asking for significant change and observance of 'character' is the equivalent of driving a motor car with a foot on the accelerator and brake at the same time." Oakley Property Group Pty Ltd v Port Phillip City Council [2009] VCAT 1609 (12 August 2009) 
The development was featured in today's Age Council believed that it could manage this tension, but successive Tribunal decisions have favoured growth in this area over protection.