Category Archives: Traffic

Hosier and Rutledge Lanes Improvement Project Report


On 5 February 2013 Melbourne City Council resolved to implement a 12 month project plan in Hosier and Rutledge Lanes in order to address the anti-social behaviour taking place in the lane.

The plan was enacted to trial an alternative approach to the installation of CCTV. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is the approach that has been used to inform the plan. The attached document is the final report for this initiative.

The steering committee was chaired by City of Melbourne and met from March 2013 – March 2014 to oversee the project. Members included City of Melbourne branches (Arts & Culture and Community Safety and Wellbeing), Hosier Inc, Salvation Army Street Teams, Youth Projects, RMIT School of Art and Victoria Police.

View the final report – Download the pdf (1.2Mb)

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Forum redevelopment approved

Following a media announcement last week featuring the Minister and the owner of the site, most who communicated with the Minister regarding the proposed hotel development in Hosier Lane will have received a letter or email from the Minister’s Dept that indicates it has been approved.

Despite the lack of cover letter, we assume these copies of a notification dated September 1st, are to be considered our formal notification of the approval by the Minister… despite being personally addressed to “Bill”.

There are certain conditions to the approval, none of which adequately address the core concerns we have about the way the building will interface with Hosier Lane and that impact on this busy pedestrian zone. In particular the loading and unloading arrangements, and the shadowing that will be imposed by such a large tower. Please be sure to read the document clearly and let us know of any other issues you see or concerns raised.

Within the letter is the note that any objections to the approval must be received within 21 days. Unfortunately (if you wish to object) the letters were distributed only after that deadline had passed so questions need to be asked about the process that has been followed. Please do so. Call or write to the department and ask those questions! We ask you to communicate with the group about your questions and any answers you receive.

What next? We are currently seeking advice about our options so please be in touch if you are concerned about the approved development and we will keep you posted via this page. Post on the page, comment, like and share your concerns about the proposal, and about the process followed!

In case you have not received this notice, like some in the group you can read ithere: L to app NOD 1.9.14.

The full notice that includes detailed information about restrictions and requirements regarding the Urban Art Strategy, Waste Management and Loading provisions required is available here: NOD signed 1.9.14.

Rally for Hosier Lane



We’re hoping fill Hosier Lane with people at 2pm on Sunday the 4th of May.

The proposed hotel development on the old MTC site directly behind the Forum will affect Hosier Lane – to the detriment of Melbourne’s world-famous street art and cultural precinct.

The development proposes to transform Hosier Lane into a loading area for a 32 level hotel/commercial venture. This would put pedestrians at constant risk, compromise other businesses and emergency vehicle access and will drive away the artists. There must be a better way to develop this site.

We’re asking for community consultation before any decision is made. Join in and help put a stop to any proposal involving the Forum and Hosier Lane, pending an extensive and open discussion among all interested parties.

Speakers attending the rally will be representing planning, tourism, theatre, live music, heritage and hospitality industries. If you want to speak please let us know – contact us via Facebook.

For information & updates on the event go to the Keep Hosier Real Facebook page

Please share, like & invite your friends, and remember to use #keephosierreal in your posts.

See you there at 2pm on Sunday the 4th of May!

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Community concern for MTC / Forum Theatre development

S11353_Russell Street_Report_181213_PRINT-55

A community meeting was held last night (Tuesday 11th March) at Misty Bar which gave forum to the heritage objections that are available for all those interested in objecting to the proposed planning permit – 2013/009973 covering the Forum Theatre and the site immediately behind it. The following items were discussed to inform those who wish to proceed with submissions & objections. Members of Hosier Inc were present among the wider community.

Those of you who choose to submit an objection are urged to include as many of the points outlined below as you feel are of concern, but also include any additional personal, public or location-based objections that we all may have – just remember to use a heritage objection in our objection so that it is relative to the objection requested by the planning permit.

Lack of community consultation by the developers and the proposal in its current form fails to address a range of community concerns. The DA application documents (download the 11Mb pdf of the concept) demonstrate that the scheme up for approval is not to the benefit of anyone who currently works, lives or plays in the lane way. We’d even go further and say that the scheme is not beneficial to the developer – it has the potential to harm their brand, and may in fact under value the property by proposing a scheme which is clearly under cooked. In its current form the scheme fails to consider a number of key issues, particularly in respect of the Hosier Lane interface, community & history.

The following points are discussed in more detail below:

  1. The Heritage overlay that encompasses the area has a discretionary height limit of 40m, but the proposed development proposes to reach 106m.
    1. a) The proposed demolition of the historic Russell St theatre will remove the last remaining Robin Boyd structure in the CBD.
  2. This proposal will deliver sheer faces on all four sides, breaking the longstanding convention of ‘podium and tower’ style buildings and setting a very bad precedent for future developments.
  3. The traffic report within the proposal does not adequately explain how pedestrian & emergency services access and ingress will be managed in Hosier Lane, and proposes all loading for the hotel, commercial and residential activities will take place from a loading ‘dock’ adjacent to the new building in Hosier Lane.
  4. Hosier Lane has an internationally respected art culture — using the current lane way for marketing for the new hotel is not going to be sustainable and it is anticipated that the new hotel will impact adversely on the nature and vibrancy of the culture of the area.
  5. Combining the proposals for the purpose of side-lining the council is not acceptable.
  6. The proposed hotel development has the potential to change the amenity of the area and will influence the activities that will be possible in adjoining properties.
  7. The proposed development will significantly impact the surrounding heritage properties, vibration from plant, overwhelming visual impact and encroaching on airspace.
  8. The interface between the new building and Hosier Lane is not consistent with or sympathetic with the current conditions and use of the space.
  9. The space would be better suited to a development that addresses the real needs of the local area.
  10. What is this development creating as precedent for the future of Melbourne and are we selling our heritage out by allowing such ordinary purpose for this unique area
  11. The complete overshadowing of the Atrium will impact significantly on this ‘Winter Garden’ that is integral to the design of Fed Square.
  12. Talk to everyone if you want your opinion on this application to be heard.

1. Heritage Overlay

The heritage height limit which is discretionary for this zone is ; 40m, the proposed hotel building is 106m – no brainer.
– the postage stamp site has been pushed through the boundaries of the heritage limit. Nothing about this site matches or relates on an aesthetic level to the neighbourhood.

1.a Robin Boyd design

We have discovered that the Russell St Theatre, the site of the new building, is actually a Robin Boyd redesign (from an original church, so a major redesign). This makes it of great architectural significance, it would be the only Robin Boyd building left in the CBD.
Although we are unsure of the current condition of the interior, it is of significant importance and should at the very least warrant scientific investigation and potentially preservation. It is also of very real significance to the Melbourne community as the home of Australia’s first professional repertory theatre. This may be a reason NOT to demolish it and to use the building as a point of history for Boyd and his influence on other architects – notably Roy Grounds who is of particular significance to Melbourne.

  • We could ask the Planning Dept to request a full investigation of the site prior to considering the application to demolish.
  • Are there any actors ready to take the challenge of championing this cause who have worked in this site?

2. Proposal disrupts ‘podium and tower’ design conventions

This is a small boutique site with interfaces on all four sides that will be affected by all provisions in the scheme – In your objection, please try to relate this to the Hosier Lane interface. Development in Melbourne’s lane ways has been encouraged to utilise setbacks and a podium style approach to retain the unique character and scale that makes these places so important to the fabric of the city. This proposal will deliver sheer faces on all four sides, breaking that convention and setting a very bad precedent for future development to follow. The podium tower type does not lend itself structurally to the lane way interface and lacks human scale especially on the eastern boundary that faces Hosier Lane.

  • Tall sheer walls are juxtaposing all the current surfaces of the lane way and it is about what would happen in the future as to what should be accepted now – what would this zone look like if several buildings decided to do this type of proposal – it would totally remove the feeling and amenity of the lane way – this is important.
  • There are no set backs, so we will have a sheer wall ; what is this going to be like imposing upon a brick lane way facade and our lives?
  • Please also comment of your thoughts about the nature of the architecture itself. Is this design by a Sydney team ‘right’ in the context of this area?

3. Incomplete Traffic Report

The traffic report in its current form does not adequately explain how pedestrian access and ingress will be managed with the proposed loading dock having trucks ( of what size and load)? pulling up in the lane way to deliver to the new establishment.

  • No specification of vehicle types and what the number of vehicles will be expected to service the new proposed hotel block and no consideration of turning circles and flow on effects in Flinders Lane and Flinders Street due to additional heavy traffic entering and exiting the lane way.
  • The traffic report does not show how these trucks will enter or down load, nor does it confirm the current traffic volume that services the lane way – the existing businesses of The Living Room, Misty and Movida are not mentioned nor is their current schedule of deliveries or pick ups including ambulance 24/7 requirements in the case of the Living Room?
  • Vehicular traffic in Hosier Lane is already very restricted due to the considerable amount of foot traffic that uses the lane way at all hours. Approx 1000 pedestrians each day would be in danger if additional loading and delivery vehicles were imposed on the space. Due to the lack of footpaths and genuine attraction for sightseers, consideration should be made to making this a pedestrian zone… this is an avenue to explore with Council engineering.
  • Not all hotels have a lane way entrance at the back of their facility – hence, the loading dock could be supported from the front of the new facade on Russell Street and not use the Hosier Lane side of the property
  • The 5 car drop off area in Russell needs to be reconsidered for dual purpose loading zone.
  • If the weight of the trucks using the lane way for delivery is not listed, we cannot be sure that the bluestone blocks that currently make the cobblestones of the heritage lane way will not be dilapidated with the constant wear and tear from all of the new use of the lane way.

4. Adverse impact on the culture of the area

Hosier Lane has an internationally respected art culture — fundamentally the development proposal in its current form will adversely affect the social & organic processes developing in the precinct.

  • The art included in the proposal is commercial and privately driven. This type of installation bears little resemblance to the character of the lane way. The proposed streetscape clearly compromises the current street culture & fabric. The notoriety of this area with its current tourist trade & affiliated businesses will surely be adversely affected.
  • Using the current lane way for marketing for the new hotel is unlikely to be sustainable. It is likely that the new hotel will soon cause the lane way to change for the benefit of the new tenants.
  • The lane way may lose its organic nature, and therefore losing it’s street art following and consequently risking a huge tourism draw-card.

5. Tricky application combines two sites

The Forum is not being renovated, only maintained and we are expected to accept this as the pay off for the owner actually doing their civic duty as owners of a heritage building. Utilising the floor space to combine the proposals for the purpose of over reaching the council is not acceptable and the State Government need to have a survey done of the area so that they understand all the items that have not been addressed in the proposal — from waste management, delivery, culture and amenity not to mention the current social consciousness of the lane way and its recreational users.

  • The community benefit is a superficial restoration of the exterior of the Forum, and will pay a huge cost. The trade-off for very little is that the lane way will have to cope with an incredible change to what is currently accepted as being REAL.
  • All of the community want the lane way to be lively, active and safe. However, it needs to work for all involved. At present we are all owners and custodians of the place at this time and need to be involved with the process of transformation for any new purpose that the lane way is asked to be part of. The development proposes to ‘activate the lane way. The current numbers of visitors to the area really makes this point moot. Any additional visitors that the development brings will add nothing to the amenity of the area, but may actually detract.

6. Impact on live music scene

The proposed hotel development has the potential to change the amenity of the area and will influence the activities that will be possible in adjoining properties.

  • The architecture does not act with responsibility being built at the back of building where the base levels from the live music will cause intense vibration to the whole front surface. This again imposes on the already operational and accepted living standard in the lane way. It is anticipated that this may cause the live music of the Forum to cease (or be compromised) and the interior of the theatre to be used for a different purpose — closing one of the last real live music venues in the city.
  • The sound engineers report (as part of the development documentation) suggests that sounds from the Forum Theatre will exceed the maximum levels for the hotel unless special glass is specified as well as background sound masking. It is noted in the report that the noise impact testing was taken on January 29th 2014 and the testers were advised that the band playing was typical for operation of the Forum Theatre. The band playing that night were the ‘Chvrches’, a synth pop band with little to no base and synthesised drums. Hardly a typical band for sound testing. (see here It’s the base sounds that are the long-range sounds that cause issues as shown in the report. The hotel is +17 decibels over the maximum limit for base sounds on the exterior, a huge amount. It is our opinion that even if the construction manages to reduce the base sounds to the maximum level allowed it will still cause complaints from the hotel.

7. Plant room impact

The plant room in the proposed building will be on level 9 which is directly opposite all the buildings on Flinders Lane and will cause vibrational impact on the heritage surfaces of these buildings — no reference to this type of noise or vibration issues are given in the proposal, so it has not been thought about with reference to impact upon existing buildings. No consideration has been made for possible future developments on the adjoining property known as Cavendish House. Boundary walls include windows on all floors looking north. Consideration should be made to ensure these windows do not remove their rights to develop above the existing level in future.

8. Unsympathetic design

What is happening at ground level in the “cafe” zone is not available in the proposal in detail, so we will not know what is being planned until it is built — but it appears to be inconsistent with the existing use of the lane way. The few drawings that have been included indicate a misunderstanding of the profile of businesses that live & work in the lane way. We have a homeless medical centre that has been part of this lane way for over 10 years. It is of great concern to the community that this would be “homogenized” to accommodate a ‘cafe culture’ aspect to modify the community services provided. We cannot afford to compromise this important community service.

9. Address the real needs of the local area

While there is a real need for more hotel rooms in the CBD, there are 15 other hotels with planning permits in permission phase as this goes live — this hotel does not NEED to be built-in this lane way. This site could be used for a better purpose that adds to the area rather than imposing on it. There is opportunity to use this space to address the many issues that had plagued the area for years, such as waste management, providing space for artists to work and exhibit and educate visitors and young people etc. This is something that the community have requested for a while due to the poor waste management that is currently in place in this lane way.

  • There is no mention of a waste management plan for such a huge building in the lane way
  • No idea of what this building will provide in the order of tonnes of waste and how it will be collected and who will be collecting it — and when?
  • What sort of imposition on the community will this collection put on the neighbourhood and the council?

10. Precedent

What is this development creating as precedent for the future of Melbourne and are we selling our heritage out by allowing such ordinary purpose for this unique area — if there were several developments like this to occur in the lane way would it hold is unique organic feel or would it be lost to commercial plagiarism? There is an extreme duty of care in the hands of the planning department and this is not something to be taken lightly.

11. Impact of additional shading

Shadowing on Fed Square – this is distinct disregard for the current laws on shadowing of Fed Square and needs to be addressed in the height issue. In particular, the complete overshadowing of the Atrium will impact significantly on this ‘Winter Garden’ that is integral to the design of Fed Square.

12. Who to talk to

We recommend individuals approach councillors to encourage them to address individual concerns about this development application;

Councillor Ong – Planning
Lord Mayor – Robert Doyle
Councillor Wood – Environment
Councillor Foster – The people

All other objections can be personal, subjective or a segue to any of the above, but please mention Heritage overlay, Heritage height or Heritage sympathy and you are on the right path.

The opinions stated in the above outline are a reflection of the topics discussed at the meeting held last night. Thank you for coming to the meeting or being interested in Hosier & Rutledge Lanes & this community.

The Forum is up for redevelopment

We urge you to find out more about this development at a public meeting to be held 6.30pm at Misty this Tuesday night, the 11th of March. Please like and share to get the word out – come to the meeting and have a say.


Proposed development will impact on Hosier Lane

Owners of the Forum Theatre, Mariner Group have submitted another proposal for the redevelopment of the MTC site between Russell Street and Hosier Lane. The plans will see a 32-storey boutique hotel and office complex built behind the Forum on the derelict old MTC site. 


Artist’s impression, as published in The Sunday Age 22.12.13

You can read about it in this article in the Age today. This will obviously have a huge impact on Hosier and Rutledge Lanes, both during construction and (more significantly) when it is complete. At this early stage it’s difficult to proffer an informed opinion about the design. It has been developed with little or no consultation or conversation with those who actually know and understand the community in which it sits. 

On the surface it seems a fairly typical and uninspired developer approach to this important site. The application centres around this being essential to facilitate the much needed refurbishment of the Forum Theatre, which has (conveniently) been left to fall into disrepair. The application was filed with the Victorian Department of Planning on Friday and the decision about the proposal will ultimately rest with Planning Minister Matthew Guy.

Share your thoughts here. Hosier Inc would hope to be included in any future consultations.

Lighting proposal zig-zags up laneway

Hosier Rutledge Lanes Steering Committee (HRLSC) met on the 18th of September in the Carlton Room – it was a full house with many events and items discussed! One of those was the CoM proposal to install a new laneway lighting design. Ian Dryden – Senior Industrial Designer for the City of Melbourne presented a set of slides of illustrations depicting the proposed catenary light design.


As described by Ian in his presentation document (see link below):

The Hosier Lane catenary system is based on two parallel cables in close proximity to each wall, with an additional zig-zag down the centre. The zig-zag provides support for the system, introducing the possibility of using lighter weight ‘cable’ connections to buildings, in lieu of heavy brackets. The intention is to create an outdoor gallery lighting system, to complement and enhance the space.

The zig-zag of coloured leds down hosier lane introduces additional colour and visual interest to the space. Clusters of twin adjustable led spotlights accentuate artworks with medium beam, warm white (3000k) light. Discrete form and louvres combine to minimise the visual impact of the luminaire, and maximise the impact of the illuminated artworks.

Multi-function ‘theatre-bars’ would be integrated into the catenary system at both intersections of rutledge and hosier lanes. Adjacent power supplies to be provided to allow the bars to be used for supporting additional special purpose lighting, speakers, banners or temporary art installations. The intent is to enhance the flexibility of the space, and enable the implementation of gallery style exhibition openings or other events in the laneways.

The Rutledge Lane catenary system is designed as a minimised instance of the Hosier Lane system. The zigzag cabling incorporates the spot and linear lighting and fuses with the Hosier Lane system and the theatre-bars at the laneway intersections. In addition, linear led luminaires with a combination of wide and flood optics will wash the walls with warm white (3000k) light and provide quantitative lighting to suit AS/NZS1158 Category P8 requirements in both the horizontal and vertical planes.

What d’ya reckon? We’d be interested to hear your thoughts and feedback regarding this design.

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Have your say about the ‘Gateway’ to Melbourne

Please have your say on the Swanston Street entrance to Melbourne.
The City of Melbourne is conducting a consultation for residents on the important intersection of Swanston St and Flinders St and the block up to Flinders Lane. This is the largest pedestrian gateway to Melbourne.
In order to participate please register here. You will be compensated with a $30 shopping voucher for your time.
The Video Ethnography project provides people with the opportunity to talk on film about Swanston St between Flinders St and Flinders Lane.  We look forward to hearing about what you think about this important space.
We would like you to come down on two successive Fridays. We need your feedback during the day and night as the space changes significantly over this time.
When you register please commit to both sessions. We will meet you at Brunettis at City Square  with a complimentary coffee.
Friday 16 March, 12pm – 1pm
Friday 23 March, 8pm-  9pm
You will be asked on film about what you think of the space, whether you like it or not and what improvements you would like to make. Click here to see a video preview. ( or copy his link to your browser: )
After the sessions on Swanston St there will be a catered  follow up meeting at the Melbourne Town Hall. This is where you will get the opportunity to prioritise the most important feedback back to Council.
Council House One, 200 Little Collins St, 3rd Floor, Carlton Conference Room
Wednesday 28 March, 3pm – 4.30pm

New deadline for objections to Flinders Gate development

We have received confirmation from the City of Melbourne that a decision will not be made before 4th July 2011. Any submissions made regarding the application before that date will be considered. There is still time to get you objection in!!

As you may be aware, there is a proposed development for the property at 172 Flinders st, directly to the west of our lanes.  As a lecturer in the RMIT Architecture department, and owner of an apartment at 166 the community has asked me to look over the scheme.  In my opinion the proposed development is relatively modest (11 floors from ground) and does engage with the heritage overlay.  It will most likely be approved in some form.

 There are, however, some issues with the development that will affect our community and buildings  This is why we recommend everyone to carefully look at the scheme and consider placing an objection.  It is important to get objections from everyone that is affected.  Our objections may help modify the scheme to better address the issues affecting our area.

Group objections are counted as a single objection. Also, cut and paste objections are not taken as seriously as individually written ones.  Therefore, I am outlining some reasons for objection in this letter which you may wish to use, rather than writing a template.  Wording that should be maintained in your objection are in bold below.

This information is also available to download as pdf here: Community_Reasons_To_Object-01, or as a word doc: Community_Reasons_To_Object.

When writing your objection it’s important that you outline clearly your reasons for objecting and how you believe you will specifically be affected.  Our main avenue for objections is whether the amenity of our adjoining properties is maintained – for example, by minimising overshadowing, overlooking, noise, vibration, traffic and parking impact.  It’s also very important to note if you live or work in your building so they know this is a 24/7 occupied area.  Place the most pertinent objections to your property first and finish with the least. Keep responses short and to the point and free of emotion.  Refer to drawings and guidelines that may be relevant (I’ve included the ones I think are, you are free to copy and paste them into your own objection if you wish)

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email me at

Sincerely Yours, Alison Fairley

General issues for objection

– Noise and Vibration during construction

Melbourne city council has Noise and vibration guidelines, which can be found online here

We should insist that as the noise and vibration during the works have the potential to substantially interfere with our buildings amenity the applicant should be made to submit a Construction Management Plan to be approved by Council before building works begins with a Noise and Vibration Management Plan as a required component.  Also the applicant should not be allowed to extend the hours in which noise can be made (7am-7pm weekdays and 8am – 3pm Saturday and not at all on Sunday) via any Out of Hours Permit.

– Vibration and Construction impact on our buildings

Given the general age of our buildings there is potential for damage to our property due to construction.  It’s important to request a dilapidation inspection report for any buildings adjoining the building site as a requirement of approval.

The purpose of a dilapidation report is to independently detail all pre-existing defects in the condition of buildings and surrounding infrastructure before any construction works commence on adjoining properties.

– Traffic management

It should be noted in your objection that Hosier and Rutledge lanes are heavily used by the community and the public for both vehicular and foot traffic. In the interest maintaining this thoroughfare and public safety the impact of construction vehicles and works should be kept to a minimum and should not be used for site loading / unloading or storage.

– Building Height and Overshadowing

As mentioned in 1.7 Heritage: Streets and Laneways on page 17 in the architects report Rutledge and Hosier Lanes are identified in the Melbourne Planning Scheme as being category A lanes.  Accordingly it’s policy that the design of buildings near lanes are assessed against the following standards.

– Development adjacent to lanes should enhance the amenity and character of the lane and provide active uses wherever possible.

– Development adjacent to lanes should promote small scale activities such as retail, service, and community facilities that contribute to the pedestrian role and enjoyment of laneways,.

– Development adjacent to lanes should maintain the human scale, sense of openness and predominant parapet height of laneways by setting back higher tower forms.

Also in the Flinders Gate Precinct, which our buildings reside the recommended maximum height limit is 40m, this proposal is 45m high in the area that will overshadow Rutledge and Hosier lanes (as shown in drawing 3.2 section C on page 66 of the architects report). This is a full extra story.

This contradicts both the recommended maximum height limit and the Melbourne Planning Scheme Laneways policy.  As such a reduction in height of the building could be recommended.

The project also fails to promote small scale activities that benefit the Hosier / Rutledge community.

– Waste Management

It could be mentioned that although we applaud the applicant for expressing interest in allocating space for community waste management the area identified is already used for waste and is not deep enough for large bins.

– Street Art

Again the “opportunity for Street Art” has been identified by the applicant in an area that already has significant street art, so although we encourage the continued use of these areas this proposal is not seen as adding any additional areas or amenities to our lanes.

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