Advisory Panel to decide future of Williamstown Woollen Mills site

THE Victorian Government today announced the appointment of an independent Advisory Committee to review planning and urban design matters related to the controversial proposed redevelopment of the former Port Phillip Woollen Mills site at Nelson Place, Williamstown and land south of site, fronting Aitken Street and Kanowna Street.

The former Woollen Mills site was recently rezoned by the Minister for Planning, Justin Madden, to Residential 1 in March. The proposed development of the site consists of 412 dwellings, including 329 apartments and 84 townhouses that vary in height from three to thirteen stories. The application was not supported by Hobsons Bay City Council last December 2009. At the time of the rezoning, Mr Madden said that an independent advisory committee will be appointed to recommend planning controls to be applied to the 2.7 hectare site.

In addition to appointing the Advisory Committee, the government also approved the terms of reference for the committee. In summary, the Advisory Committee is to assess the planning and built form/urban design opportunities for the subject land, taking into account:

  • Locational considerations of the subject land and general surrounds;
  • Appropriateness of the current planning framework and planning controls applying to the subject land; and
  • The scope for varying the existing planning framework and planning controls in relation to the subject land.

Mr Madden said the Terms of Reference incorporated feedback from Hobsons Bay City Council and the committee will consider matters such as appropriate heights, setbacks, urban design, traffic management, heritage asset protection, acoustics, open space requirements and the need for development contributions.

"The approval of the Terms of Reference means the Advisory Committee now has clear guidelines for determining the most appropriate future design and development controls for the site," Mr Madden said. "It is crucial that we provide certainty to the community, council and the proponent on the future of the site. I have consulted with Hobsons Bay City Council to ensure that the final Terms of Reference reflect the needs of the community and ensure that the process is fair, efficient and thorough," Mr Madden said.

Mr Madden said the site is a key location that can contribute to managing Melbourne's growth. He said the inclusion of surrounding land in the Terms of Reference were in response to a Council request to consider the adjoining Industrial 1 & 3 and Residential 1 zones.

"We will continue to work closely with Hobsons Bay City Council, nearby residents and interested parties on the future design and development of the site," he said. The Advisory Committee will hear submissions from adjoining landowners and the council before. A public hearing is to be held as soon as practicable and the Advisory Committee is required to submit its report within eight weeks of completion of the hearing.

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