Nightingale 2: no parking OK with VCAT

Nightingale 2 at Fairfield, Melbourne
Nightingale 2 at Fairfield, Melbourne

The Nightingale Model had a major win on Friday with zero car parking for its apartment development in Melbourne’s Fairfield finally getting the tick of approval.

In approving the planning permit for Nightingale 2.0, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) declared: “There will be no car parking spaces provided on site.

“I find this to be an appropriate and acceptable outcome in the circumstances mindful of the expert evidence relied upon by Nightingale and the council, and based on the site’s excellent access to public transport.”

Darebin Council approved Nightingale 2.0 in May 2016, but concerns over a lack of parking have delayed the project.

The development will be adjacent to the Fairfield railway station and Station Street activity centre, which enables the residents’ daily needs and services to be highly accessible via bicycle and on foot.

In making its decision, VCAT took into account “the clearly communicated aspirations and intentions of Nightingale 2.0, which arguably has created a pool of like-minded individuals registered to live in the building without a registered motor vehicle.”

The existing car parking pressures in the area were noted, and the City of Darebin acknowledged its preparedness to address these concerns through parking restrictions if this is considered necessary.

Six Degrees architects director James Legge said the decision was fantastic.

“It’s great news,” he said. “We are through with no car parking, which is what we wanted.

“It’s really good too, I guess, because we had trouble with Nightingale 1, and because there is still essentially a lot of concern out there about zero car parking within apartment developments.

“What we’re trying to say with the right development, in the right location, for the right reasons, then there shouldn’t really be a reason why you have to include motor vehicles.”

Mr Legge said Nightingale does not rely on zero motor vehicles for all developments.

“Some Nightingale developments may well not be appropriate – they might not be close enough to public transport – but if it is then why the hell should we push more cars onto the roads? And also make people, who don’t want a car, have to pay $50,000 more on their apartment when housing affordability is already at crisis point.

“The purchasers of Nightingale are pretty keen to spend that $50,000 either on a cheaper apartment or on better facilities that will help the community live within the building.”

Mr Legge said the decision would hopefully make it easier for future developments with zero car parking “if their location is appropriate and the intentions behind it are appropriate”.

“If it just gets rid of costs for the developer and they still sell the apartments at the same square metre rate then no,” he said.

“But I think the permit seems to be fairly clear about what’s appropriate for zero car parking … so it doesn’t become a precedent for dodgy developers.”

The project team will be re-engaging with the purchaser shortlist and working towards construction of the well-designed and sustainable apartments.

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