Port Phillip seeks high-rise ceiling

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PORT Phillip council will ask the state government to take swift action to stop high-rise development at St Kilda Junction.

The council will this week write to Planning Minister Matthew Guy asking him to impose maximum eight-storey height restrictions in the St Kilda Road South precinct in a bid to close a planning loophole that has allowed approval of several buildings in the area of 13, 18 and 26-storeys.

Applications before the council, including one for an 18-storey apartment tower, will face an uncertain future if the state government steps in.

There are no planning controls in place to guide the form, style and height of developments at St Kilda Junction. As a result, council decisions to refuse certain developments have been overturned on appeal because applicants have successfully argued that the planning void fails to limit development.

Among high-rise towers already approved at St Kilda Junction is the 18-storey “Lego”-inspired apartment block, which was originally knocked back by the council but later overturned at VCAT.

A 26-storey development at 3 St Kilda Road was approved by Mr Matthew Guy after he called in the application.

Port Phillip mayor Amanda Stevens said introducing interim height controls would allow “reasonable development” and provide the council with a “degree of certainty” while it prepared an Urban Design Framework for the St Kilda Road area.

Albert Park MLA Martin Foley said Mr Guy had “rolled out the red carpet for high-rise development at St Kilda Junction”.

A spokesman for Mr Guy declined to comment on whether the state government had slated St Kilda Junction for high-density development.

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