Box Hill tower development rejected by Victorian Government

A PROPOSED $100 million, 38-storey development for Box Hill has been rejected by the Victorian Government. The proposal, which was originally fast-tracked by Planning Minister Justin Madden in January this year, consisted of a 38-storey tower and six level basement car park with 176 serviced apartments, 232 apartments, gymnasium, food and drink premises, offices, restaurants and retail premises. It was to be located on the corner of Carrington Road and Station Street.

The original application was refused by Whitehorse Council and generated significant community concern. The applicant, Barton Group, lodged an appeal at VCAT but the application was subsequently 'fast-tracked' by the Planning Minister. When calling-in the application, the government cited the need to accommodate a growing population and locate intensive development in and around activity centres. At the time, Mr Madden said the proposal was consistent with the Whitehorse Planning Scheme.

According to the Government's metropolitan strategy, Melbourne @ 5 Million, Box Hill has been designated as a Central Activities District (CAD) along with 5 other districts (Broadmeadows, Dandenong, Footscray, Frankston and Ringwood) in order to achieve a polycentric city structure, provide significant employment concentrations and perform CBD-like functions.

However, this week Mr Madden said: "The Victorian Government agrees with council's assessment that this design does not support the policy objectives of Melbourne @ 5 Million and has refused the permit. As submitted, the proposal was a stand-alone development and not in keeping with the Whitehorse Planning Scheme or the State's strategic vision which encourages development that responds to, integrates with and improves upon the surrounding area. It just wasn't the right development as stated by the council, the community and now the Victorian Government."

Mr Madden said that, while encouraging development, it is important to ensure to right kind of development occurs in Box Hill. The government said that a working party will be established which would include Council representatives, architects, urban designers, government representatives and the developer, to address the outstanding matters and ensure that any future development responds to the requirements of Box Hill.

The Governor in Council had accepted Mr Madden's recommendation that the development should not proceed, and had disallowed the VCAT review in relation to 545 – 563 Station Street Box Hill.

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