Apartment plan ‘a blight’

A six-storey development application on O'Shannassy Street has led to a heated debate online as to whether its appropriate. (Damjan Janevski)

By Oliver Lees

An application for a six-storey apartment building in the heart of Sunbury has drawn mixed reactions, with some residents concerned the development will permanently alter the town’s character.

The application for a planning permit to construct the six-storey building was posted outside of 52 O’Shannassy Street last week.

The advertising document specifies a plan to construct 25 apartments, a basement car park, an onsite retail premises and an office.

The document also states the project would lead to a reduction in car parking.

Sunbury resident Chris Lord, who lives on Station Street just a short walk from the proposed development said the building would be “a blight on the whole landscape”.

“This is a real watershed moment, there’s never been anything like this in Sunbury,” Mr Lord said.

“I could understand three-storeys, but six-storeys with a lift module? You’re talking 25 metres [in height].”

“That’s not in keeping with the townscape. If this precedent is set, where applications are approved for six-storey high apartment blocks, we could see our whole town change dramatically in a short time.”

In an online post about the proposed development, some members of the community shared Mr Lord’s concerns, while others threw their support behind the project.

“I’d love to see it, Sunbury needs [it] and will grow more. Embrace it,” one resident \wrote.

Another stated they were “just concerned about parking as it’s already a nightmare”.

Sunbury Residents Association president Graham Williams said given that there are currently no buildings greater than two-storeys in the township, the size of this development “seems inappropriate”.

“It’s just really out of character with the town,” Mr Williams said.

“I agree there’s always a need to improve affordable housing levels, but that’s the shopping precinct, more so than a residential precinct.

“The fact that it creeps into the shopping precinct, it looks like it’s going to stick out like a sore thumb.”

Hume councillor Jarrod Bell estimated that the application could be brought before council some time in the new year.

Submissions and objections can be submitted until December 14.

Details: www.hume.vic.gov.au/Building-and-Planning/Statutory-Planning/