Our beloved Preston Market is a wonderful hub of cultural diversity, affordable fresh food and community in Melbourne’s North. Right now the property developer owners of the site want to redevelop the site with apartment towers, putting the future of the market at risk.
The Greens have joined the Council and local community in campaigning strongly for protection of the market. I’ve call for protection of the market in parliament, I’ve put the pressure on the government through the media, written letters to the Minister and local Labor MPs, activated Greens supporters on the issue and I’ve been encouraging our community to have their say in the consultation processes to ensure the market is protected.
In recent months the State Government Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) has been reviewing the designs proposed by developer Preston Market Development, and they have now released the re-drafted designs. These offer some improvements by reducing the height of buildings, the number of apartments and adding some crucial open space to the design. However, they still propose to demolish 80% of the existing market, which is an unacceptable outcome. Thus questions remain about how the market we love and its traders will be protected through the redevelopment. The VPA have also failed to include any many measures to enhance the sustainability or livability of the precinct so far.
In October 2022, I appeared before the VPA consultation hearings to represent our local community and to push for:
- Legal protections (a section 173 agreement on the title of the land) that would cover protection of the existing market where it stands, providing security for existing and diverse traders to continue to provide affordable fresh food in an open air market. This would also protect the heritage values of the site as identified in Council’s reports.
- A minimum 18% green space to ensure the livability of the area.
- Livable, sustainable medium-scale housing for the site, with a target of 30% of homes built to be made affordable, at 80% of the market rate, for first home buyers.
- Revisions to make it a nation leading carbon neutral precinct, with a microgrid running on renewable energy generated on-site through solar panels and including battery storage.
- Ensuring greens bins and glass bins are provided for households and customers, together with commercial food composting and recycling, and urban agriculture for the market.
As Victoria grows we need a planning system that puts the interests of people first. For too long, big property developers have had too much influence and have been allowed to shape Victoria’s neighbourhoods – often for the worse. The threat to Preston Market is yet another example of this.
The Greens are fighting to transform planning to create thriving neighbourhoods, to help deliver more public, affordable and sustainable homes, and put people back at the centre of decision making.