Public Green Space in Cremorne

Kangan TAFE site

There used to be a decent patch of grassy land on what is now the TAFE carpark. This was the playground of what was the Cremorne St Primary School. This was replaced by a much smaller grassy patch between buildings that were newly erected when the TAFE expanded.  This is an example of where green public open space has been diminished.  The establishment of an education facility such as Kangan TAFE in association with a locally historically significant site provided great potential to create a wonderful community asset.  What we have now is the old primary school building sitting sadly immersed within carparks. 

The old school playground was once an open grassy space. Could we do better than this?

Part of the difficulty might be coordinating with different governing bodies such as the Dept of Education, but perhaps that could still be overcome with some further imagination and perseverance. 

The warehouse building on 69 Cremorne St is an unfortunate presence immediately beside the heritage building. It currently appears to be occupied temporarily.  Could there be an opportunity to open up the site while highlighting the old school building?

The warehouse at no 69 sits between the old school and another carpark. Possibilities for

The Cremorne and Church Street Precinct Urban Design Framework makes several recommendations, which include:


Work with Kangan Batman TAFE College and DET (Department of Education and Training) to:

Provide and integrate facilities that reinforce the site’s role as the focus for Cremorne’s business and residential community and to complement the TAFE functions, e.g. education and childcare.

Develop public plazas around the former Cremorne Street State School buildings to support a variety of local recreational needs.

Encourage the improvement of east-west mid-block pedestrian links through the TAFE site, both north and south of the former Cremorne Street State School buildings.

Install a formal pedestrian crossing (a ‘zebra’ crossing) on Cremorne Street at the Kangan Batman TAFE.

Provide for vehicular access from Dove Street through the TAFE site car parks to Cremorne Street to eliminate the need for trucks reversing in Dove Street.

Create active building frontages, especially along plaza spaces and widened footpaths.

Protect the significance of heritage buildings with restoration works and appropriate uses.

Encourage public multi-level parking structures under buildings or open spaces. Reduce or eliminate open air parking where possible.

Maintain a low-rise built form character consistent with the industrial and commercial buildings in the surrounding area to complement existing heritage buildings, with a maximum of three storey (11m) frontages along streets. Any additional height, to a maximum of 15m, should be set back to be subservient to the streetscape and to avoid any additional overshadowing of nearby streets and public spaces;

Ensure that new development is of high quality architecture and design details; and

Ensure that through block pedestrian movement and permeability is maintained and improved in any redevelopment of the site.

Figure illustrating potential to ‘Develop public plazas around the former Cremorne Street State School buildings to support a variety of local recreational needs.’ (CCSP UDF, p14 )
The existing area that was recommended to be a public ‘plaza’ is currently more about cars, bitumen and bins.
Part of Figure 3 – Kangan Batman Tafe Sub-Precinct Building Envelopes, indicating some of the recommendations (CCSP UDF, p15 )

Kangan Batman TAFE Sub Precinct
The TAFE now provides little amenity except for employees and students, but it offers important opportunities both for open space and community facility provision. Protection of the former Cremorne Street State School buildings’ heritage significance requires retention of open space around them, and so the existing car parks have potential as public spaces that would be useful for students as well as the wider community. The TAFE site is a central location that would be ideal for local facilities serving Cremorne, such as childcare facilities which could be integrated into the TAFE.  

(CCSP UDF, p14)

Create new public Spaces.
Recommendation 102. Improve the car parks around the former Cremorne Street State School buildings at the Kangan Batman TAFE to work as public spaces. Engage in dialogue with various State departments, in particular Vic Track and the Department of Education and Training (DET), to provide the best development outcome for the Stephenson Street car park site and the TAFE site, whereby the Stephenson St car park is developed for a commercial or mixed use building with car parking, and the current car park in the TAFE converted to public open space.

(CCSP UDF, p24)

Recommendation 110. Investigate opportunities for partnerships between the Kangan Batman TAFE and Council to create a neighbourhood community centre based around heritage buildings and associated open spaces on the TAFE site. Investigate public uses that can be integrated into the campus.

(CCSP UDF, p24)

Did it get too hard to pursue the recommendations in the CCSP UDF?  Can we look at them again?

Public Green Space in Cremorne

Urban Design Framework

Yarra City Council has already put a good deal of thought into local planning, as demonstrated in planning schemes that have been developed in the last few years. I have felt quite encouraged by the constructive ideas in these documents.  I have become more cynical when I see the actual results on the ground.  An example of this is the CREMORNE AND CHURCH STREET PRECINCT URBAN DESIGN FRAMEWORK (CCSP UDF) which was adopted 2007.  There are many suggestions in this plan to improve public open space in Cremorne but few have materialized. As this extract shows, things have moved on in the last thirteen years. There is a recognition of the need for ‘useable public spaces’ but opportunities have been missed.

Open Spaces and Community Facilities

There are few useable public spaces within Cremorne, and the expansive parklands to the west are relatively inaccessible for casual use. The few local public open spaces are small and relatively inaccessible sites at fringes of the precinct, including a park next to the Monash Freeway at the south end of Cubitt Street, and one next to Adolph Street near East Richmond Station. Open space facilities within the Kangan Batman TAFE campus are extremely modest. The precinct also lacks local community facilities.

Some major development sites also have the potential to provide sheltered pocket parks. Modest set-backs along the south sides of Gough and Blanche Streets would improve pedestrian circulation and, with appropriate redevelopment along them, could provide attractive north-facing spaces for seating and other casual uses.

Introducing space around heritage buildings in the Malthouse complex would enhance their legibility and apparent significance and enable their use as activity hubs for this precinct. Such open spaces would also be of value as a buffer between nearby low-rise houses and new buildings on large redevelopment sites, and would also work as links through the site, thereby improving pedestrian and cyclist access to the Yarra River and Capital City Trail to the south of the precinct.

(CCSP UDF, p26 )
Public Green Space in Cremorne

Spaces for Livability

Back in 2015 The Age published a research study conducted by Deloitte Access Economics and Tract Consultants that ranked every suburb in Melbourne by a set of criteria that contributed to ‘liveability’. Along with a long list of rankings from 1 to 321, there was a nice colour-coded map that graphically showed how each suburb fared. It predictably showed lots of deep blue ‘Liveable’ suburbs close to the city with to the less liveable yellow, orange and red suburbs further out, particularly in lower socio-economic regions.

Cremorne showed up quite distinctly on the map as an island of yellow in a sea of blues and greens, A strange anomaly smack in the middle of the city.  Cremorne was ranked 135, between Cheltenham and Braybrook. The rest of Richmond made it to 67. Most of the rest of Yarra fared better again: Collingwood at 60, Abbotsford at33, Carlton at 15.

The criteria to determine these rankings included all the things that make inner city suburbs attractive places to live – public transport, shopping, cafes, restaurants etc.  Cremorne shares all these attributes with the rest of Richmond. The key aspects that it would appear to fail on is ‘public open space’ and ‘tree cover’. ‘Road congestion’ might be another factor though there is plenty of that in the rest of Richmond.  Planning for appropriate green, open public space in Cremorne has been neglected

(Ref: )

Public Green Space in Cremorne

Public Spaces for Cremorne

I’ve lived in what is now called Cremorne for over thirty years and have seen a great deal of change in the neighbourhood. There has never been much evidence of careful urban planning, apart from a progressive encouragement to include commerce and industry, which has led to an eclectic mishmash of character, uses and architecture.

These days what was once a depressed industrial backwater inhabited by psychopathic drug lords is now a funky design precinct where creative industry and young hipster families are eager to move in.  It is now seen as a desirable suburb close to the CBD with its own distinctive vibe.  This means more people in the streets, both workers and residents.  Also, the roads are now properly paved (mostly), there are more street trees and there’s a bit of extra street-scaping on Balmain St. However, overall public space, if anything, has shrunk.

Cremorne is now increasingly attracting more and larger developments for people to live and work in. Should we be seeing greater Council and developer contributions to public open space for the area?