Balloon Top Centre 19m,

Balloon Top Centre 19m,

Developments up to a height of 19 meters could occur in and around other Neighbourhood Activity Centres throughout the metropolitan area if the state minister for planning approves amendment C95 as submitted by the Manningham Council.

Councillors have approved the C95 amendment, for a 19m high mixed use development at Jackson Court,  after Manningham Officer’s had back flipped and supported the application, despite there being little or no change to the proposal.

 Click to enlarge photo. Arrow indicates 19m height, as seen from abutting residences.

council minutes 27 august 2013 – full

They had previously stated; “It is considered that the degree of change including the height and scale of the building, is excessive and does not provide a suitable transition to the adjacent residential properties.

Furthermore the proposed height of the development does not……

 ……….respect the designated neighbourhood character of the local area, would have a detrimental impact on adjoining residents and set a precedent for consideration of heights above 13.5 metres in and around other Neighbourhood Activity Centres”

“It is therefore proposed to not support the request for an amendment to the Manningham Planning Scheme and planning permit application on the grounds that the proposed height of the development, at almost 19 metres, is not an acceptable outcome for this site, having regard to the context of its location within a Neighbourhood Activity Centre and the character of the local area”.

Doncaster Road resident Francis Day writes;

This was a “spot rezoning” application for the sole benefit of a single entity,  originally considered on the premise the owner would enter into an enduring agreement with Manningham council to provide a retail area of at least 1300m2 for the operation of supermarket, but now, without any objection or comment from councillors, it has been reduced to a term of only 15 years.

The panel members had regarded the scale and bulk of the building to be less acceptable than it might be.  It had given consideration to lowering the height of the building by at least one storey “to assist in mitigating its visual impacts”. However they decided against it when an expert for the proponent had argued that the proponent needed an additional level of residential component to offset the low rental return from a supermarket alone occupying the retail floor space, rather than it being accompanied by the usual more lucrative small tenancies (specialty shops).

It would appear the panel, had either forgotten or did not take into account there were up to six specialty shops already planned to share the retail area and the engine for their customer catchment, their very survival, was the supermarket itself, their nature and viability not withstanding (vacancy rates)

Rents per square metre paid by retailers will vary markedly depending on a number of factors, especially in regard to their retail category, even within an individual centre. Major tenants, such as supermarkets, might pay lower rents per square metre, but they contribute more capital to the development, take longer term leases, up to thirty years in some cases, offer a point of difference to the shopping centre and generate the foot traffic necessary to beget the survival of the specialty shops that will be located within this proposal.

F. Day



  1. Dalray says:

    Comments from Councillor Gough, at August 2014 council meeting speaking for amendment C95 re 19m height of development at Mitchell Street, East Doncaster.
    “We will incorporate it (the C 95 amendment) into our planning scheme so it can’t happen anywhere else”.
    Question……Does this mean that the planning minister would be bound to refuse a similar amendment application from any other metro municipality?….I think not.

    “We want to protect those areas, the streets of Manningham, from high rise developments”.
    Question…..Is that why councillors have approved a 19m high development immediately behind single storey residences?.

  2. Hazel says:

    It now appears that the setback of only three meters, specified from the western boundary for the full length of the development adjacent to single storey units, could be further narrowed if it impedes the workability of the car parking area.
    Below is a condition of the planning permit.
    “A three metre setback for the ground and first floor levels of the building for full length of the western boundary unless in the opinion of the responsible authority this is precluded by the workability of the basement carparking area;

  3. Grafon says:

    The planning minister’s signature will appear on the amendment approval letter but It is unlikely that Matthew Guy would ever have seen the Mitchell Street application. These amendment proposals are usually endorsed by a faceless bureaucrat within the DTPLI (Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure).
    The Hotel Windsor redevelopment fiasco that took place back in 2011, was a classic example of this procedure, when it was revealed that the then planning minister, Justin Madden, knew nothing about the project when ambushed at a press conference after a misdirected email from an officer of the DTPLI had found its way to the ABC.
    So when they tell you they are waiting on the minister to approve a project, they are usually referring to a senior officer of the DTPLI.
    I am told that a decision on this amendment may take some time and might not be made available within the statutory term of 40 working days.

  4. Graeme & June says:

    The article on the front page of the Manningham Leader is misleading. The heading “REZONING APPROVED FOR JACKSON COURT”; is not quite correct. As identified further into the article, Manningham Council has only voted to forward relevant documentation to Planning Minister Matthew Guy for a decision.
    What does “SUPER SIZED SHOPS” mean? In reality the council has only recommended approval for 1300 sq m from an available 2300 sq,m for a supermarket. That is 300 sq m less than the old Safeway supermarket, (now Dan Murphys), hardly a major shopping centre. The article does not reflect all the issues, ie a 19 m high building which is equivalent to a six story tower that includes 3 levels of 65 apartments that were justified by the applicant at the submitters meeting of 21/8/14, to offset their identified expensive 2 levels of underground carparking.
    At the council meeting of 26/8/14, Cr Dot Haines also identified “if this isn’t over development, I don’t know what is. I remain concerned that there is substantial detrimental impact to the amenity at the local level. Councillors shouldn’t have changed what the officers and what our professionals have said.”

  5. Talford says:

    While well intended, but badly informed of procedure, several councillors, had, unbeknown to the Manningham planning department, painted themselves into a corner by prematurely indicating their voting intentions for the 19m high development at Mitchell Street without knowing the term of the supermarket, the full impact of the proposed height on single storey adjoining residences or without bothering to inform council’s planning staff of their early discussions.
    Meanwhile the officers, oblivious to these discussions, were continuing to negotiate with the developer to obtain assurance of a long term period for supermarket and to reduce the height of the building etc and had spent a considerable amount of municipal funds preparing a report, including approximately $12,000 for a study from urban planner Planisphere who had recommended a height limit of 14.5 metres be prescribed across the entire centre.
    So when they presented their report to councillors, recommending approval for the lesser height, Councillors had to reject it then move an alternative motion to approve the 19m height proposal which included a short term expiry date for a supermarket.
    This was an embarrassment and an insult to the ability of the planning department who were later forced to ditch the conclusion of the urban report and rewrite their report and try to justify the councillor’s decision.

  6. K. Zhang says:

    The panel had not properly read its own report before it abandoned its previous intention to reduce the height of the proposal because they were persuaded by the owner’s consultant’s rationale to retain the height which made no sense.
    On page 53 of their report, the panel rejected its original intention to lower the height of the proposal which the panel maintain was to assist in “mitigating its visual impacts”, instead, accepted the advocate’s submission, made without any supporting data, that retaining the full height of the building was necessary to offset the lower rental yield from the floor space leased to the supermarket ALONE compared to what could be achieved from more lucrative small tenancies (specialty shops).

  7. Dalray says:

    Specialty shops could not survive without a supermarket as an “anchor” in the development. And even alongside a supermarket, much would depend on the shop’s category of retail when negotiating the rental and term of the leases which would vary and have to be treated separately.
    In fact at the end of the day the total rental per square metre of all the shops, taking into account vacancy rates etc, could be substantially less than what is received from a supermarket operator.

  8. Regan says:

    What is the point in attending these “hearings” and submitting an objection, if the outcome has already been determined?.
    It would appear that attending only serves to give the planning process an appearance of trustworthiness.

  9. Jeff says:

    The audio of the council meeting in the comments re A TOWER AT OUR BACK DOOR, one councillor sounded more like he was auditioning for a parliamentary career, (not for the first time I am told), whitlam style, rather than bothering to get his facts correct.

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