A slew of successful multi-storey planning applications will mean Werribee’s main street and its surrounds as you know them will soon be rendered unrecognisable.
Wyndham council has approved 13 planning permits for multi-storey buildings within Werribee’s city centre, with another four being assessed.
Among those already approved is a 10-storey mixed-use apartment block along Watton Street that will stand at 38 metres high, making it the tallest development approved for Werribee’s city centre to date.
The $15 million development – which encompasses two blocks of land fronting Watton Street and one block of land fronting Synnot Street – will include 50 apartments, 38 offices, two retail premises, a restaurant and 116 carparking spaces.
A nine-storey development planned for a Cherry Street site will include 814 carparking spaces over several levels, as well as office and retail spaces and a childcare centre in the upper levels.
Also planned is a seven-storey apartment block along Wedge Street, with ground level offices and retail and basement parking.
It’s likely future developments will reach even greater heights, with the Werribee city centre structure plan allowing development up to 20 storeys high in parts of Werribee’s CBD – namely along Riverbank Promenade behind Watton Street, where new apartments, restaurants and retail outlets are expected to overlook the Werribee River.
Wyndham city, economy, innovation and liveability director Kate Roffey said the influx of multi-storey planning applications were in line with a council vision for Werribee’s CBD to grow into a vibrant and inviting place for people to work and live in.
“A strong and growing city centre is needed in order to anchor Wyndham’s rapidly growing population, provide more local jobs, independent business opportunities, local services and a destination for community events,” she said.
“This strong level of investment in the Werribee city centre by private developers shows a high level of confidence and optimism in this area as the capital of Melbourne’s new west.
“Multi-storey developments are not unique to the Werribee city centre, with apartments being built in areas such as Williams Landing and Wyndham Harbour.”
But not everybody is happy with the changes.
A Star Weekly report on Watton Street’s newly-approved 10-storey mixed-use apartment block drew a mixed reaction from readers, with many branding the development an eyesore.
Heather posted on the Star Weekly Facebook page: “I moved to Werribee because it didn’t have tall buildings. Should be a four-storey maximum height.”
Marisa added: “Too brutal for this site, perhaps – look at Port Melbourne for examples of mixed use that’s pleasant and welcoming.”
Julijan, on the other hand, thought the development was “exactly what Wyndham needs”.
“The reason the traffic is so bad is because everybody is flocking into the city,” she said. “If Werribee became it’s own city, people wouldn’t need to travel out.”
A group of McDonald Street residents are furious about plans lodged with Wyndham council for an eight-storey apartment block on Bridge Street that, if approved, will directly overlook single-storey homes. The council has received at least 24 formal objections to the proposal and residents have lodged a petition signed by 120 people opposing the development.
Maria Battaglia, who is leading the charge against the development, said the apartment block – which is slated to have more than 70 apartments, a cafe and retail premises – was totally unsympathetic with the neighbourhood character.
“It’s too big – the skyline is going to be completely dominated by a massive building that isn’t in keeping with the style of the buildings all around us,” she said.
“It’s not only the people in McDonald Street whose backyard will be directly affected, but also all the houses behind us in Francis Street and Church Street.
“The design of the building – they call it a wedding cake design – it’s kind of tiered, so that from levels four, five, six, seven and eight it steps back.
“The designers are arguing that because it’s stepped back, it’s not going to be as imposing or as big an intrusion.
“I’d like to see something that is a creative response, not only to the site, but also to the existing dwellings in the neighbourhood … not something that maximises to the absolute dollar value of the site.”
Councillors will vote on the Bridge Street development at the council meeting on Tuesday, August 1.
Multi-storey applications approved for Werribee’s CBD:
• 193-195 Watton Street and 86 Synnot Street – 10-storey buildings with ground level retail and upper level
offices and apartments.
• Cherry Street catalyst site – nine-storey mixed-use development with active ground level uses plus offices and public parking.
• 1-3 Wedge Street – seven-storey apartment building with ground level office/retail and basement parking.
• 35 Synnot Street and 1 Pine Avenue – seven-storey office development with ground level retail.
• 26 Salisbury Street – four-storey apartment building with ground level offices.
• 116 Watton Street – four-storey apartment building with ground level retail/restaurants and basement parking.
• 123 Synnot Street – four-storey apartment building.
• 10-14 Watergum Court – four-storey apartment building.
• 18 Princes Highway – three-storey office development with basement parking.
• 73 Synnot Street – three-storey building with retail, offices and childcare.
• 12 Synnot Street – three-storey office building.
• 15-17 Watton Street – three-storey office building with ground level retail and basement parking.
• 1 Princes Highway – three-storey office building.