December 2012 newsletter

This monthly e-news is sent to everyone on our Brunswick Residents’ Network e-list

This month: 

  • High density or high-rise? Decision on mandatory height controls
  • New buildings for Brunswick Road
  • East Brunswick Village dumps affordable housing
  • Community safety, culture corner and more….

In a significant change of policy, Moreland Council passed a motion at its November meeting to address the issue of mandatory maximum heights for new buildings in Brunswick.

South Ward councillor Lambros Tapinos (the new chair of Council’s Urban Planning Committee) moved a motion that Moreland Council meet with State Planning Minister Matthew Guy to discuss height controls on new buildings in Brunswick. The resolution also proposed that Council express its strong support for mandatory rather than discretionary height limits, as part of the introduction of permanent planning controls for the Brunswick Major Activity Centre.

The motion passed 10-1, with only Councillor Rob Thompson (Liberal independent) opposing the resolution.

This is a major change from the previous Council, where former South Ward Councillors Jo Connellan (Greens) and Alice Pryor (ALP) opposed past moves to introduce mandatory height limits on new high-rise buildings in the Brunswick Activity Centre. Even though the Brunswick Structure Plan sets out limits ranging from 4 – 7 stories along major thoroughfares, there are already a number of high-rise buildings that go beyond these levels, after Council or VCAT exercised their discretion to override the guidelines.

Council will now seek a meeting with Minister Guy to present this policy change, although it will take some time to enact into the planning scheme. In the meantime, it is still vital for residents to submit their views on the current Amendment C134 to the Moreland Planning Scheme, so this policy can be enacted into planning law – see below for details.

We congratulate the new Moreland Councillors on this decision. However this change is coming very late in the game: even as Council is seeking your views on permanent planning controls for Brunswick, the State Government is considering major policy changes to zoning in inner-city areas, which will affect the power of Council to implement its plans for our neighbourhood.


VCAT have approved the construction of yet another multi-storey building on the intersection of Lygon Street and Brunswick Road, overruling a decision of Moreland Council.

In May 2012, Moreland councillors refused to grant a planning permit for a seven-storey building at 11–13 Lygon Street, despite a recommendation from Council staff to approve the application. The proposal involves 38 one and two bedroom apartments, with a shop on the ground floor and basement car parking.

The developers then appealed to VCAT, and in spite of efforts by Gavin Moodie and other residents, the developers have been given permission to proceed: “A permit is granted in relation to land at 11–13 Lygon Street, Brunswick. The permit will allow the use and development of land for a seven-storey building, including up to 38 dwellings, a reduction in the car parking rate, a waiver in the loading bay requirements and alter access to a road zone.”

VCAT rejected residents’ concerns that that there was insufficient public transport available to meet the need of the residents, stating “it is not the Tribunal’s role to dictate when and how the Department of Transport provides its fleet of trams.”

As well as this proposal at 11–13 Lygon Street on the north-west corner, Moreland Council is also currently considering another proposal on the south-east corner. As reported in our last newsletter, an application for a planning permit from the Liuzzi Property Group has been lodged for a 9-storey building at 6, 10, 18 and 20 Lygon Street and 60 and 60A Brunswick Road, Brunswick East (Application: MPS/2012/511).

On the south-west corner of the same intersection, the developers Caydon have nearly completed a 9-storey building at 1 Lygon Street on the site of the old Spicer factory (the company’s slogan is “Caydon – a vertical way of life”  ).


In their latest VCAT application, the developers of the East Brunswick Village have successfully resisted Moreland Council policies on affordable housing. They have also avoided making anything but a token contribution to traffic management in adjoining residential streets.

East Brunswick Village is the redevelopment of the old Tontine site, bordered by Nicholson Street, Albert Street, John Street and Glenlyon Road. It will comprise up to 1,000 dwellings in three stages, about 7,000 square metres of retail floor space (including a 3,000 square metre supermarket), up to 7,000 square metres of office space, and about 850 car spaces.

After a permit was granted for the project, Council delayed approving the development plan submitted by East Brunswick Village Pty Ltd (run by the Banco Group – Council argued that the plan failed to meet Council requirements for affordable housing, traffic management and environmentally sustainable design (ESD).

The developers and Council reached agreement during a September 2012 VCAT hearing about amending the Environmental Management Plan so that its ESD criteria will be applied to office spaces. However the developers resisted Moreland’s policy on affordable housing for the 550 apartments in the first stage of the project. They also opposed giving any significant support to address traffic flows affecting adjoining residential streets.

There will be an estimated 10,000 vehicle movements a day from the Village site, mostly onto Nicholson Street but also doubling the number of cars in John Street. VCAT decided that just “one road hump will be installed in John Street to the satisfaction of the Council. Intersection thresholds will be installed at Glenlyon Road / John Street and Albert Street / John Street to the satisfaction of the Council.”

In a worrying part of the ruling, VCAT ruled the developers Banco have no responsibility for paying for traffic management in Albert Street – there are too many other developers who plan to pour cars into the street to make Banco alone responsible!  VCAT ruled: “A number of developments will increase traffic volumes on Albert Street and it is unreasonable to require works only of this Development Plan. We expect the Council will need to consider other approaches to ensure its objectives for Albert Street are met.”

The developers are also negotiating with VicRoads and the State Government over a tram super-stop in Nicholson Street, which will also be the main point for traffic in and out of the “village”.

After the VCAT hearing, a revised East Brunswick Village Development Plan was submitted to Council in September and approved by Council staff in October.

East Brunswick Village Pty Ltd v Moreland CC [2012] VCAT 1307 (3 September 2012)

For the developers’ East Brunswick Village website:


Proposed amendments to the Moreland Planning Scheme for Brunswick are now on public exhibition, and residents have until 31 January to submit comments to Moreland Council.

Brunswick Residents Network encourages you to make a submission (however brief) to highlight concerns over issues like access to open space, residents’ rights to notification and review of planning proposals, protection of heritage, height controls and other issues of concern etc.

Amendment C134 will introduce major changes to the local planning scheme. When enacted, it will bring the recommendations of the Brunswick Structure Plan (2010) and the Addendum to the Brunswick Structure Plan (2012) into the Moreland Planning Scheme on a permanent basis. The changes to the Planning Scheme proposed by Amendment C134 involve major re-zoning of land in the Brunswick activity centre (along Sydney, Lygon and Nicholson streets), affecting land use and building design controls.

You can make submissions to Council about these changes before 31 January 2013. For details of Amendment C134, maps that show how your street will be affected and information on how to make a submission to Council, go to:


More than 150 people attended a community safety forum held at the Brunswick Town Hall on Monday 19 November, with speakers including Victoria Police, Moreland Council Mayor Oscar Yildiz, the Sydney Road Traders Association, White Ribbon Foundation, WISHIN and other community leaders.

The meeting highlighted the need for increased funding for women’s services and initiatives to prevent violence in the home and community, at a time when more resources are going to increased police numbers and PSOs on stations (Moreland is to get nine new police officers and next year PSOs will be deployed at stations along the Upfield line, starting in Coburg). In spite of public debate about the need for more CCTV on Sydney Road, local police area commander Inspector Dean McGowan stated: “CCTV can serve as a deterrent, but can’t replace a vibrant supportive community and good neighbours.”

For details of new police and Council initiatives, see:


The Moreland Community Child Care Cooperative Fete will raise funds for the Cooperative that manages three non-profit childcare centres operating in the City of Moreland
WHEN: Sunday 2 December
WHERE: Warr Park, Albion Street, Brunswick

 “An issue of equity: Is it fair and just that there are 230,000 second class citizens in the Northern Territory?”
Professor Clare Martin (Former Chief Minister of the Northern Territory) will present the annual Maurice Blackburn Human Rights Oration next Wednesday 5 December, looking at the rights of indigenous peoples in the Northern Territory.
WHEN: Wednesday 5 December 2012 at 7 pm
WHERE: Brunswick Town Hall, 233 Sydney Road, Brunswick
RSVP: Jo Graham (Phone: 9240 2373)

Fancy a waltz on a summer’s evening? “Seize the Day” at Sparta Place on Saturday 15 December. From 2pm, face painting, ping pong, tattoos, climbing wall; waltzing starts at 6pm! The event is a co-production between Council, local traders, Sydney Road Traders Association, East Brunswick Primary School, the British Isles Ballroom Dancing Club and the 400 Volt Men’s Shed, Hadfield.
WHEN: Saturday December 15 from 2pm
WHERE:  Tripovich St and Sparta Place, Brunswick (off Sydney Road)


The working group for the Save the Bluestones campaign will meet every second Thursday of each month at 7.00pm until June 2013. The next scheduled meeting is on 13 December at The Alderman Bar (134 Lygon Street, Brunswick East). For further information:


After our planning meeting on 29 November, Brunswick Residents Network will be organising a number of activities in the New Year – a public meeting on changes to the Moreland Planning Scheme in February, a community BBQ in mid-March, meetings with new councillors and Members of Parliament, and an expansion of our work on traffic management.

The next meeting of the Brunswick Residents Network working group will be held on Thursday 17 January – if you’d like to get involved, please drop us a line at

Thanks for your support in 2012, and we look forward to your involvement in coming months!


Full Council meeting
Wednesday 12 December 2012 – 7 pm
Council Chambers, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg

Urban Planning Committee
Wednesday 19 December 2012 – 6 pm
Council Chambers, Moreland Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg

(Check times and location at the council website: )


To contact organisers of the Brunswick Residents’ Network, offer to help with future activities or be added to our residents’ mailing list, please email albertstreet2020 (at) .

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