Published on 07 September 2022

Elsternwick Cultural Precinct

The Elsternwick Structure Plan creates a strategic vision to establish a new Cultural Precinct, centred around Selwyn Street.

Project Snapshot

Status: Detailed Design

Timeline: Community engagement closed on 12 June 2022. The outcomes from the consultation process were presented to Council on 30 August 2022. Feedback will be incorporated into the design where possible. Council will go out to tender for a civil contractor for the construction of the Precinct, which is due to commence in July 2023.

Background

In 2016, the Elsternwick Structure Plan was developed in consultation with the community and was endorsed by Council in 2018. The Plan included a vision to establish a ‘new Cultural Precinct, centred around Selwyn Street’.

This presented Council with a unique opportunity to create a cultural precinct that celebrates Jewish life in Melbourne, as Selwyn Street already has leading Jewish cultural institutions to build on, which formed the framework and foundation for the further development of the precinct.

In November 2018, Council formally endorsed the Elsternwick Cultural Precinct Plan and the Elsternwick Cultural Precinct Advisory Committee (ECPAC) was formed to partner with Council, inform and oversee the design and plans to create a vision for the Precinct. The ECPAC is comprised of representatives from:

  • Jewish Holocaust Centre
  • Jewish Arts Quarter (JAQ)
  • Sholem Aleichem College
  • Classic Cinema
  • Community Security Group
  • Traders’ Association
  • Resident representation

Design vision

The vision for the Elsternwick Cultural Precinct was to create a vibrant and welcoming pedestrian focussed public space that foregrounds the important Jewish cultural institutions in Selwyn Street. It will be flexible and open enough to function for day to day use as well as provide opportunities for seasonal events, performances, markets and other happenings. The key design strategies include:

  • A new slow speed street with lane closures where pedestrians and cyclists are prioritised.
  • Increased footpath spaces for outdoor dining, bicycle parking planting and seating.
  • New street tree and garden bed plantings which are biodiverse and provide shade, beauty and integrated water sensitive urban design.
  • New high-quality pavement to both road and pedestrian areas which is rich in detail and texture.
  • New lighting to provide a safe and ambient environment for night time activity.
  • A significant new artwork that commemorates the survivors of the Holocaust.
  • Incorporate all required safety features into considered and integrated design elements.

The result is a new sequence of spaces with different qualities that respond to the adjacent context and uses including:

  • A welcoming connection to Glenhuntly Road and Elsternwick Station with a touchpoint for Precinct information.
  • Anchor retail and entertainment zone-fine grain retail, F&B and entertainment experiences that deliver on a neighbourhood scale.
  • A cultural heart that both reflects the character of the Jewish Arts Quarter and the Jewish Holocaust Museum whilst providing a space that brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire and be inspired.
  • An active youth and family focussed space at the intersection of Sinclair Street which also functions as an orientation and gathering zone for visitors, and school children in particular, arriving to the Precinct by bus.

The final functional layout and design of the precinct is the culmination of years of consultation, stakeholder engagement and design development. This was presented as a final vision of the Elsternwick Cultural Precinct and was endorsed by the Council in April 2021.

Endorsed Precinct Design
Endorsed Precinct Design

In 2019, Woolworths lodged a planning application for a supermarket and two apartment towers. Woolworth’s plan conflicted with Council’s vision and design for the street.

Council refused the planning application, and Woolworths appealed this decision to VCAT. VCAT supported Council’s decision to refuse the permit application. 

Woolworths lodged a new application with Council in February 2021. This application sought to respond to the issues raised by VCAT in the previous application. Council refused this application and this decision has been appealed to VCAT. 

Through the VCAT process, the applicant further amended the proposal to address Council's concerns. Council now supports the amended application, however, VCAT will still be responsible for deciding the application. The appeal is listed for a VCAT hearing starting Monday 23 May 2022. 

A final decision regarding the planning permit application was made by VCAT in September 2022. VCAT decided to grant a planning permit to allow the development to proceed. Media Release: VCAT decision brings Elsternwick Cultural Precinct a step closer​

Community engagement

To help inform the detailed design, Council consulted more broadly with the community. The purpose of the engagement was to update the community on the progress of the cultural precinct, seek input on how they would like to use the space and what the look and feel of the space should be, and communicate how public input has influenced the plan so far.

Community consultation was open from 3 May 2022 to 12 June 2022, and the outcomes from the engagement were presented to Council on 30 Aug 2022. Council noted the feedback and resolved to proceed with the next stage of design development, which will commence later this year. 

To find out more about the consultation process, visit our Have your Say page


What is the next stage?

The outcomes from the consultation process will be presented to Council on 30 August 2022. Feedback will be incorporated into the design where possible. Council will go out to tender for a civil contractor for the construction of the Precinct, which is due to commence in July 2023.


FAQs

Why is Council developing the Elsternwick Cultural Precinct?

In 2016, the Elsternwick Structure Plan was developed in consultation with the community and was endorsed by Council in 2018. The Plan included a vision to establish a ‘new Cultural Precinct, centred around Selwyn Street’.

This presented the community with a unique opportunity to create a cultural precinct that celebrates Jewish life in Melbourne, as Selwyn Street already has leading Jewish cultural institutions to build on. This formed the framework and foundation for the further development of the precinct.

What will the project include?

The vision for the Elsternwick Cultural Precinct was to create a vibrant and welcoming pedestrian focussed public space that foregrounds the important Jewish cultural institutions in Selwyn Street. It will be flexible and open enough to function for day to day use as well as provide opportunities for seasonal events, performances, markets and other happenings. The key design strategies include:

  • A new slow speed street with lane closures where pedestrians and cyclists are prioritised.
  • Increased footpath spaces for outdoor dining, bicycle parking planting and seating.
  • New street tree and garden bed plantings which are biodiverse and provide shade, beauty and integrated water sensitive urban design.
  • New high-quality pavement to both road and pedestrian areas which is rich in detail and texture.
  • New lighting to provide a safe and ambient environment for night time activity.
  • A significant new artwork that commemorates the survivors of the Holocaust.
  • Incorporate all required safety features into considered and integrated design elements.

The result is a new sequence of spaces with different qualities that respond to the adjacent context and uses including:

  • A welcoming connection to Glenhuntly Road and Elsternwick Station with a touchpoint for Precinct information.
  • Anchor retail and entertainment zone-fine grain retail, F&B and entertainment experiences that deliver on a neighbourhood scale.
  • A cultural heart that both reflects the character of the Jewish Arts Quarter and the Jewish Holocaust Museum whilst providing a space that brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire and be inspired.
  • An active youth and family focussed space at the intersection of Sinclair Street which also functions as an orientation and gathering zone for visitors, and school children in particular, arriving to the Precinct by bus.

The final functional layout and design of the precinct is the culmination of years of consultation, stakeholder engagement and design development. This was presented as a final vision of the Elsternwick Cultural Precinct and was endorsed by the Council in April 2021.

What added value will the development bring to the community?

Council worked closely with stakeholders to determine a shared vision as:

‘The Elsternwick Cultural Precinct is an active and thriving meeting place known here and abroad for its diverse mix of cultural experiences and as a wonderful and welcoming local place for everyday life.’

The precinct will add value to the community in a variety of forms including:

  • Arts, youth and education — partnering with the school to the north and the future Kadimah development to provide a space that promotes active engagement with the public realm through arts and education.
  • Civic, reflective and respectful — the spaces adjacent to the Jewish heart of the precinct (Holocaust Centre and future Jewish Museum) will be curated as respectful spaces that enable passive reflection and recognition.
  • Night time activity and entertainment —- moving into Gordon Street leveraging off the Classic Cinema and existing restaurants this edge of the precinct to focus on night time uses and entertainment, benefiting other local traders within the community.
  • Benefits to the local economy — creation of jobs, an increase in visitors and visitor spending, cultural development and improved education and training have all been determined to be a result of the new precinct.

Who is the architect?

Council appointed Rush Wright after an extensive tender process for the design phase of the precinct.

How will the design incorporate Jewish culture?

How will the design incorporate Jewish culture?

Elsternwick Cultural Precinct Advisory Committee (ECPAC) was established at the start of the project, which includes key stakeholders in the Jewish community such as the Jewish Arts Quarter and Jewish Holocaust Centre. Council officers have worked closely with the Advisory Committee to ensure features of Jewish arts and culture were incorporated in the design and layout. This involved consulting, taking on feedback and making changes to the design and the layout throughout this phase of the project. Council officers also commissioned a local Jewish artist, Kathy Temin, to work on public art for the Precinct. The layout and design include features such as:

  • New artwork and a memorial bench which will commemorate the survivors of the Holocaust.
  • The use of patterns, colours and textures will reflect Jewish mid-century modern and domestic life.
  • A resting space for adults intended to celebrate survivor’s migration and contribution to Melbourne.

How accessible will the precinct be? Will there be onsite parking?

The functional layout for the Precinct includes:

  • drop off car spaces on Selwyn Street
  • Two bus drop off zones on Sinclair Street adjacent to the Precinct
  • Increased footpath spaces and bicycle parking
  • Pedestrian crossing on Glen Huntley Road and Selwyn Street
  • Existing crossovers and access to Selwyn Street properties and laneways is maintained

Visitors who are driving are more than welcome to utilise the offsite parking that is available within the community, including the carparks located on Horne Street and Stanley Street (East).

Visitors are also encouraged to use public transportation and can access the site via:

  • The Elsternwick train station - Sandringham line
  • The 67 tram line
  • Bus lines 246, 603, 606, 623 and 625

What safety and security measures will be in place?

  • A new slow speed shared zone where pedestrians and cyclists are prioritised
  • One way through traffic from Glen Huntly Road to Sinclair Street
  • New lighting to keep the street well-lit during the evening hours
  • The use of walls, barriers and vehicle separation to manage pedestrian safety and security

How much will the project cost?

Construction will commence when the other planned redevelopments in the street have completed. This is expected to be in the next couple of years.

What is happening with the proposed Woolworths development on Selwyn Street?

In 2019, Woolworths lodged a planning application for a supermarket and two apartment towers. Woolworth’s plan conflicted with Council’s vision and design for the street.

Council refused the planning application, and Woolworths appealed this decision to VCAT. VCAT supported Council’s decision to refuse the permit application. 

Woolworths lodged a new application with Council in February 2021. This application sought to respond to the issues raised by VCAT in the previous application. Council refused this application and this decision has been appealed to VCAT. 

Through the VCAT process, the applicant further amended the proposal to address Council's concerns. Council now supports the amended application, however, VCAT will still be responsible for deciding the application. The appeal is listed for a VCAT hearing starting Monday 23 May 2022.

How was traffic analysis conducted?

Council appointed One Mile Grid to review and assess the traffic implications of the proposed cultural precinct streetscape works along Selwyn Street in Elsternwick. To understand the conditions of the surrounding intersections in the future, One Mile Grid used a traffic modelling software package, SIDRA Intersection, to input the redistributed traffic which model the performance of the intersections under the changed conditions.

To ensure the most accurate data was produced, One Mile Grid also applied growth rates of around 1% per year (compound) to the redistributed traffic volumes over a 10-year period, equivalent to a 10% increase in traffic volumes.

How will traffic flow in and out of Selwyn Street?

From Glen Huntly Road, vehicles will be permitted to make left and right turns onto Selwyn Street. Selwyn Street from the Jewish Arts Quarter will be a one-way slow speed environment. Vehicles exiting onto Sinclair Street will only be permitted to make left turns; right turns will not be permitted. From Sinclair Street, vehicles will not be able to enter Selwyn Street. Selwyn Street is only accessible by vehicles from Glenhuntley Road. A new signalised intersection will be in place at Glen Huntley Road/ Selwyn Street.

What will happen to the parking on Selwyn Street?

Drop off car spaces on Selwyn Street are included in the layout of the Precinct. Off-street parking is available in Elsternwick at Staniland Grove, Horne Street, Orrong Road and Stanley Street.

The 2021-2025 Elsternwick Structural Plan also looks at strategies for transport and parking, including looking at opportunities to increase parking.

What will be the speed limit in the shared zone?

A new slow speed limit will be incorporated in the shared zone where pedestrians and cyclists are prioritised.

Resources

The Elsternwick Cultural Precinct is a project outlined in the Elsternwick Structural Plan.

The final functional layout and design of the precinct is the culmination of years of consultation, stakeholder engagement and design development. This was presented as a final vision of the Elsternwick Cultural Precinct and was endorsed by the Council in April 2021.

Elsternwick Cultural Precinct — Advisory Group Presentation: Schematic Design (PDF 22Mb)

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