Lend Lease $500m apartment plan horrifies Melbourne residents

PROPERTY giant Lend Lease could be forced to amend plans for its $500 million apartment project after facing objections from the residents in one of Melbourne’s most exclusive suburbs.

Lend Lease apartment development division, Vivas Lend Lease, this week lodged a masterplan with Stonnington Council for seven apartment buildings — ranging from seven to 16 storeys — to be built alongside Toorak Station.

But the Lend Lease proposal has angered locals, who claim the development threatens the character of their blue-chip neighbourhood.

“We’re horrified by the size of the development,” said Orrong Road Group spokeswoman Kirsten Anderson.

“The project has absurd and crazy scale, and is totally unsuited to the area.”

Ms Anderson said residents were also worried about the effect of the development on surrounding parks, rail services and traffic, along with concerns about height and scale.

“With only six out of 25 afternoon and evening peak hour trains stopping at Toorak, it’s already very difficult to find a seat,” she said.

“We think the building of almost 500 new homes next to the station will make the rail situation even more intolerable.”

The project involves 460 apartments and 18 townhouses earmarked for a 2.45ha site at 590 Orrong road, Armadale.

The project is a joint venture with the owner of the land, Larkfield Property Holdings, controlled by former Skilled Engineering chief executive Greg Hargrave.

Vivas Lend Lease executive director Hugh Martin said the company had tried to engage residents through a voluntary community consultation process that involved a public meeting held last month.

“Around 1000 residents were letterboxed and about 60 people attended the meeting.”

Mr Martin said while some remained opposed to the development, the company believed its masterplan, which was in accordance with planning schemes, would receive wider community support.

The plan will be on public display for four weeks ahead of a council vote on the project.

Mr Martin said the developers had decided to offer a range of apartment products, including one-bedroom homes that would allow young people to get a foothold in an exclusive suburb.

“Apartments will range in price from less than $700,000 to more than $2m,” he said.

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