Report cover
Inner urban conservation and development - An independent panel report on a proposal for Smith Street, Collingwood, under Melbourne 2030. Edited by Miles Lewis, August 2004. Info + Order your copy


14 Jul 2005

Banco is back with new plans to supersize Smith Street and destroy its heritage. Find out what you can do to fight Banco's development and how you can help CAG's community campaign. For details of CAG's meetings at the Grace Darling Hotel, Smith Street, starting Tuesday 19 July at 7pm, or actions you can take right now to make a difference.

Eighteen months ago, property developer Banco proposed building a massive shopping-mall style development on Smith Street, Collingwood - with THREE high-rise towers of SIX, EIGHT AND NINE storeys, 245 apartments, 400 car parks, offices, 24 hour supermarket and a mall.

1500 people objected and Yarra Council rejected the plans. Banco has now taken a revised proposal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), which has the power to over-rule the Council's ban.

VCAT begins hearing the proposal on Monday 19th September 2005.


Experts say Banco is a 'test case' for inner city development.
It would be a disaster for Collingwood and Fitzroy because:

  • Towers are foreign to Smith Street, would dominate buildings in the area and dwarf the streetscape.

  • Development would overshadow Smith Street and Little Oxford Street where many people live and have businesses.

  • Thousands of new cars would cause chaos on narrow, local streets.

  • Heritage character damaged by massive size and modern tower style.

  • A Chadstone style shopping mall would kill off small businesses.


No - there is obviously scope for development in the Smith Street area. But it should be appropriate to Collingwood and Fitzroy as a living community, and Smith Street as a heritage area. That would involve:

  • Maximum height of 5 storeys at the highest level for any development, governed by sightlines, with significant setbacks;

  • New development fits neighbourhood character and respects heritage;

  • Car-parking spaces appropriate to local conditions and infrastructure;

  • Conserving and preserving heritage buildings.


The community has already spoken - it doesn't want this new development. And Yarra Council correctly rejected Banco's development proposal. Local MP Richard Wynne says Banco's plans are an ambit claim and that if they're not revised he will ask the Minister Planning Minister Rob Hulls to intervene. We want the Minister to 'call in' the plans. The Minister has the power to rule that the development is wrong for the area, and to tell Banco to submit a genuinely new proposal, appropriate to the area. The Minister can call in Banco's plans any time up to 7 days before the VCAT hearing in September.


We believe that community opposition to the proposal is so clear the Planning Minister has a duty to reject it. We also believe the VCAT process is skewed in favour of developers. Banco has legal representation including top lawyers and QCs. Community groups will have to represent themselves or raise money to pay for lawyers.


For eighteen months the Collingwood Action Group (CAG) has been fighting this proposal. We need your support:

Come to our meetings with your ideas and energy to help get the message out and fight this proposal (meeting details below).

  • Write to or email Planning Minister Rob Hulls demanding he call in and reject Banco's plans (L17, 8 Nicholson St, East Melbourne VIC 3002; or email
  • Write to, call or email local MP Dick Wynne and tell him to honour his promise to the community to have the Planning Minister call in and reject Banco's plans (196 Church St, Richmond, VIC 3121; ph 9429 1813, or email
  • Call or email your local Councillor, and demand they urge Yarra to pressure the Planning Minister to call in and reject the plans.

Mayor Kay Meadows 0419 156 071,
Annabel Barbara: 0416 268 126,
Jenny Farrar 0402 113 284,
Stephen Jolly 0437 856 713,
Judy Morton 0417 343 145,
Gurm Sekhon 0407 735 466,
Paul D'Agostino 0403 447 383,
Jackie Fristacky 0412 597 794,
Kathleen Maltzahn 0437 567 341,


Yes we can! The Abbottsford Convent and Collingwood Childrens' Farm was saved from apartment developers after a community campaign, and is now a community arts precinct. The Camberwell Railway Station development has been modified to preserve heritage values and local liveability. This is our community and our neighbourhood, and we can determine how it will change. But only if we take a stand!

CAG meets upstairs at the Grace Darling Hotel, corner Peel and Smith Streets, from 7pm - 8:30pm on these dates:

  • Meeting 1 - Tuesday 19 July 2005;
  • Meeting 2 - Tuesday 2 August 2005;
  • Meeting 3 - Tuesday 23 August 2005;
  • Meeting 4 - Tuesday 13 September 2005;
  • Meeting 5 - Tuesday 20 September 2005.
Go to to see Banco's plans, fill in our e-petition, join our mailing list.

Help stop the destruction of Collingwood and Fitzroy's community and heritage - Say NO to Banco!

Posted by CAG



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