An open and shut case

A planning application for roller shutters has sparked discussion on whether or not such facades belong in our city.

The application for roller shutters to be installed over the windows of the ground floor of 163-169 Russell St was submitted in February and was rejected by the City of Melbourne in early April.

A council spokesperson said the application was rejected because shutters were specifically banned under the Melbourne Planning Scheme.

Local resident and president of EastEnders Inc, Jenny Eltham, had earlier expressed her concerns about the planning application and its potential on visitors to the CBD.

“Roller shutters add nothing to the ambience of a city. There are infinitely more attractive options that could be considered,” she said.

Ms Eltham praised the council’s decision.  “The decision to deny the window shutters has been a good outcome. Roller shutters are not visually pleasing nor do they enhance the local environment. In fact, they downgrade the area and give CBD visitors the impression that security in the CBD is an issue.”

One might immediately think of the laneway of roller shutters in Centre Place (above), where almost every shopfront is hidden away at the end of each day.

According to a council spokesperson, the roller shutters in Centre Place are exempt from the current rulings as they were installed before the current policies were put into play.

The spokesperson said: “The shutters in Centre Place were installed before the implementation of the Melbourne Planning Scheme, so were not affected by the new policies.”

The relevant parts of the planning scheme are:

22.01 – 4 Facades: Solid roller shutters should not be used on shopfronts. Open mesh security or transparent grills may be used and should be mounted internal to the shopfront; and

22.01-8 Public Spaces: Shopfronts fronting public spaces should be attractive and secure when they shops are closed. Roller shutters should not be used.

CBD News contacted the applicant but he declined to comment.

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