32 High anxiety in the CBD
A TALL ORDER
SOME of Melbourne’s most recognisable buildings would never have been built under strict new planning laws, which the Property Council claims are stifling CBD growth.
Since the new regulations limiting high-rise construction came into force two years ago, just two commercial office buildings have been approved in the city.
Property Council executive director Cressida Wall said the C270 controls needed immediate amendments as the CBD’s workforce continued to boom, amid fears the city will run out of room by 2036.
The towers, some still under construction, that would not be approved now include Collins Arch, 120 Collins, Wesley Place, and the Olderfleet and Mercer buildings.
A report by Urbis, titled Unlocking Melbourne’s CBD and prepared for the Property Council, said new office space was needed to house the city’s growing workforce.
It found that the city centre’s working population is expected to jump from 317,500 in 2016 to 480,400 by 2036, and that 50 per cent more floorspace is needed.
Ms Wall said the controls inflexible and restrictive.
“They senselessly exclude some of the best and most iconic buildings that are defining Melbourne’s centre were as a vibrant, internationally competitive metropolis,” she said.
“Melbourne’s CBD desperately needs office floorspace growth to support the high-value jobs that are so critical to our economy and, for this to occur, commercial development must be supported.’’
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy, who was planning minister between 2010 and 2014, has promised to amend the C270 controls if elected Premier this month.
Planning Minister Richard Wynne defended the regulations and said they ensured developers gave something back to the community, such as social housing, in exchange additional height or yield.
“Matthew Guy wants to abolish the very controls that were brought in to fix his mess and put a stop to developers getting everything they want,’’ Mr Wynne said.
“We introduced the toughest planning controls Melbourne has ever seen to prevent Matthew Guy’s vision of a concrete jungle of skyscrapers and big payday for developers hurting Melbourne.’’ He said he did not want Melbourne to have the building densities of Hong Kong and Singapore. for CBD buildings that would not be approved under the new laws restricting height: (181 William and 550 Bourke streets) (11 Exhibition St) ( 8 Exhibition St) (121 Exhibition St) (111-129 Bourke St) Under construction: (130 Lonsdale St) (477 Collins St) (447 Collins St)