Help save essendon's heritage treasure

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Essendon's historic North Park Manor House was designed in 1888 by Henry Kemp of renowned Melbourne architects Addison, Oakden & Kemp for wealthy Carlton & United Breweries founder, community leader, Essendon and VFL President, Alexander McCracken.

Architectural Sketch - Henry Hardie Kemp mccracken heritage

Set within original grounds on the highest point in Essendon, this grand 42-roomed residence is an unusually grand domestic example of a two storey Queen Anne Manor, and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register as being of significance to the State of Victoria. The building is also significant for the first use of imported Marseilles terracotta roofing tiles in Australia.

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The property’s heritage listing states that as well as the Manor, the Estate grounds “are of aesthetic importance as an outstanding example of the gardenesque style”, with many of the plantings contemporaneous with the construction of the Manor.

The property's current owners, the St Columbans Mission Society (SCMS) are now proposing a subdivision and redevelopment of over 45% of the Estate, which would have the effect of destroying the heritage significance of this valued community asset.

Visions of North Park ...

Click images for more detail

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120 trees marked for removal

What is at risk?

SCMS propose to subdivide the property into four main lots for sale, one of which will be the retained Manor house within approximately 50% smaller grounds.

Two parcels of land will also be subdivided via strata title, allowing construction of 27 mostly 3 storey townhouses, most with basements as well.

This will result in the destruction of the property’s heritage grounds, with the removal of over 120 trees from the gardens, four of which have been identified as being of “high arboricultural value” and the building of access roads, surrounding the remaining gardens with tarmac.

north park estate grounds
north park grounds manor essendon heritage
north park grounds manor essendon heritage

New Residential village

SCMS also propose to retain one of the four lots adjacent to the heritage property for construction of a "Residential and Accomodation Village", replacing a low rise 1960s building with a bulkier three storey office and residential wing.

This will result in the further degradation of the significance of the heritage place, as indicated in the supplied indicative render.

What is Proposed?

27 x 2-3 Level Townhouses

The property’s heritage grounds are proposed to be subdivided to allow construction of 27 townhouse units, all at three storeys, except  the four along Woodlands St at two storeys.

While SCMS alleges the townhouses will be sited to retain sightlines to the Manor House, plans clearly show that the historic “garden” so important to the site context will be mostly reduced to a line of single trees wedged betwen hard surfaces.

120 Trees Removed

The proposal would also see the removal of numerous trees from the property’s heritage landscape, including four trees identified by Tree Logic Pty Ltd as being of “high arboricultural significance” – including one Eucalyptus and three Ficus trees.

Extensive New Access Roads

The proposal requires the building of extensive new access roads to the newly subdivided properties, further reducing the significance of the heritage place, and bounding the remnant garden with asphalt.

45% Loss of Open Space

Under the proposed changes, 45% of open space, and 120 mature trees will be lost, reducing the property’s “garden” to mostly a mere sliver of single trees wedged between drive and pathways, certain to provide inadequate screening for the bulk of 27 two to three storey townhouses.

New Entry Points to Busy Woodland St

The proposal would also see three new entryways added to the property’s historic external fence.  A new section of “modern interpretation” fencing will also be built along Woodland St giving more access from the property onto the already busy Woodland St, directly opposite St Vincent De Paul Primary School.

Heritage Context Lost

The proposal would also see the relocation of the historic gardeners shed, which is cited in the heritage report as providing historical context for the mansion building, resulting in a loss of heritage context for both structures.

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Help save north park

Join our community of concerned individuals and community groups to help keep the PARK in NORTH PARK

How can You Help?

FIVE EASY WAYS YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE TODAY...

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What Locals say

There are only two words to describe how I feel about the horrendous development proposed that will TRASH the gardens of the St Columbans Mission in Woodland St Essendon and destroy the amenity of the area.
NO WAY!!!!!!!
We have lost so many trees in Moonee Valley to developers and their relentless greed. In the environment of overwhelming sadness over the massive destruction of habitat by the bush fires in recent months, this is the last straw!!

Anna L. - Resident of Strathmore

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save heritage future generations
once heritage is gone it is gone forever
120 trees marked for removal
save north park essendon group

the fight has just begun

What Happens Next?

There are set to be several stages to the campaign to keep the PARK in NORTH PARK.

Please make sure you follow us on social media and/or add your address to our mailing list, and we will keep everyone informed of developments as they come to hand.

heritage victoria

1 Heritage Victoria

Approval is required from Heritage Victoria to make significant alterations to a place on the Victorian Heritage Register.

SCMS have applied for a formal permit from Heritage Victoria, supported in their application by the developer’s standard “heritage” consultant of choice – Lovell Chen.

Applications have closed for submissions to the Heritage Victoria hearing, and hearings have been delayed due to COVID-19, but a decision is expected shortly.

Heritage Victoria is able to attach specific compliance conditions to any permit issued, however our hope is that Heritage Victoria will reject the proposal outright.

2 Moonee Valley City Council

Should SCMS receive permission to proceed from Heritage Victoria, the battle does not end there, as a formal planning permit will still be required through Council for all works associated with the proposed redevelopment.

We are urging Moonee Valley Councillors to reject the prospect of inappropriate development on a site that is of such enormous value to the entire Moonee Valley community.

Furthermore, we believe that Council has a role to play in the preservation of this historic community asset, and will be asking Council to actively involve itself in the process

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What We are asking

OUR COMMUNITY IS BRIMMING WITH POSITIVE IDEAS FOR NORTH PARK'S FUTURE

1. Reject Inappropraite Development

We want to see to see the whole of North Park Estate remain in its current state,becoming a public treasure for all to enjoy. 

The possibilities are plentiful… an Art Hub, Community Gardens, Library, Wedding Venue, playground/park etc (think Ripponlea or Abbotsford Convent).

We call on Council, and on Heritage Victoria to reject the current development proposal, and for all levels of government to cone together to find a future for the park in North Park.

2. secure alternative owners

SCMS claim the redevelopment is required to ensure their ongoing viability as a care provider, and that should the redevelopment be rejected, they will be forced to sell and vacate the property entirely.

Whilst we agree this would be regrettable in light of SCMS’ long term association with the property, if that is their position, we must take them at face value and seek to find alternative owners for the land who WOULD be willing to reinvest in and retain the mansion and the historic gardens.

We believe that both State and Local Government have an obvious role to play here, however we would welcome any private investor who equally intended to retain and preserve the property’s heritage values.

Contact us

Got questions? Need to speak to a representative? Drop us a line here, or connect with us on social media.

SAVE

North Park

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