Support for new police tower

The City of Melbourne has supported an application for a 39-storey tower for Victoria Police at 263 Spencer St.

The site is next door to the newly-completed City West Police Complex and will allow Victoria Police to consolidate its major administrative functions into a single campus.

Police plan to vacate their Flinders St, Docklands, facility after the new tower is completed.  The new facility will also house the police museum and media centre.

Some 65,000 sqm of office space will be built on the site.  The building exceeds the minimum 18.1 plot ratio outlined in new planning regulations, but the council supports an exemption to these rules due to its use as commercial offices.

In a report to the council’s June 6 Future Melbourne Committee, urban design staff raised concerns about concrete “vehicle exclusion seating blocks” designed to protect the building and called for their removal.

In her assessment, however, planning practice leader Jane Birmingham said: “As advised by the applicant, the proposed design is required given the need for increased security due to the proposed occupation of the building by the police.”

“In addition, the ground floor setback and ‘vehicle exclusion seating blocks’ are consistent with that of the adjoining approved City West Police Complex at 313 Spencer St.”

When applying on behalf of its client, consultant Urbis said: “Due to the nature and unique requirements of the tenant, the building has been designed with an emphasis on ensuring the ongoing safety of all staff working within the building.”

“This is similar to the City West Police Complex which included an impenetrable perimeter of blocks to restrict any vehicular threats from approaching the buildings. This same approach will be utilised for the proposed building.”

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