License article

New roads in Fishermans Bend will cut through private property

At least eight kilometres of new streets and roads will slice through numerous private land holdings under the Fishermans Bend ‘‘strategic framework’’ adopted as planning law last week.

The bulk of the new road network will divide dozens of privately owned industrial allotments north and south of Plummer and Fennell streets, plans for the 250-hectare urban renewal zone just south of Melbourne’s CBD show.

Most of the new streets will be 22 metres wide with dedicated bike lanes but the extension of Woolboard Road will span 30 metres and possibly include trams.

Properties occupied by the Port Melbourne Industrial Estate, National Tiles and Australian Container Freight Services will be bisected by a new 22 metre wide road.

Other holdings with multiple small to medium sized businesses in several blocks between Gittus and Johnson streets also occupy land earmarked in the strategic plan for a new street.

The new road network will be critical for developers wanting to convert former large-scale industrial and commercial-zoned land into dwellings for the suburb’s 80,000 new residents but may prove controversial for existing smaller owners wanting to continue running businesses in the precinct.


Under the plans, much of Fishermans Bend will be controlled by the Melbourne Planning Authority (MPA) which has the power to amend local laws to ensure new roads are built, Deakin University professor and former chair of the government’s Plan Melbourne strategy Roz Hansen said.

‘‘If parties are not prepared to hand over the land for road reservations, they’re going to have to compulsory acquire,’’ she said.

But MPA chief Peter Seamer said compulsory acquisitions were not being considered.

 ‘‘I don’t believe at the moment there’s anything that requires compulsory acquisition,’’ he said.

The development of the suburb would be a little different to how other parts of Melbourne had evolved over time, he said.

‘‘What we’re trying to do is create a new central city zone over time, to not just be one size fits all. This area will develop over the next 30 or 40 years with a lot more local context.’’

Funding for the extensive new streetscape will come from a developer contribution levy now set at $16,000 per dwelling, $18,000 for 100 square metres of office space and $15,000 per 100 square metres of retail space.

Final details of the development levy will take a year to determine, the MPA said.

If set at current levels, the charge will not cover the full $1.3 billion estimated cost of rolling out new infrastructure across the suburb, Port Phillip mayor Amanda Stevens said.

‘‘If a cost-neutral proposition was pursued, this would equate to a developer contribution in the order of $30,000 per dwelling,’’ Ms Stevens said.

It was unclear how the shortfall would be filled, she said.

Other key elements of the strategy include proposed new tram and bus routes, a train station, public parks and new ‘‘discretionary’’ height limits for residential buildings between 4 and 30 storeys depending on their location.

Mr Seamer said the MPA would take on planning responsibility for the area in October.

The new 30-storey discretionary height limits in the Montague precinct will significantly overshadow land set aside in Ferrars Street for a vertical school.

‘‘Discretionary heights do not give certainty to market place, nor do they give certainty to the community or respective local councils,’’ Ms Hansen said.

But Lemon Baxter director Paul O’Sullivan said the area had been in ‘‘limbo’’ for more than 12 months and the new strategy would give greater certainty to developers and land owners.