Today, the Level Crossing Removal Project (LXRP) released what they term the ‘final design’ for Surrey Hills and Mont Albert.
The LXRP and state government continue to withhold information and ignore requests to be open and transparent about their plans. Fundamental design details such as the footprint, height, elevations and setback of the many station buildings are still missing.
The Andrews government has broken its election promise to deliver two new stations at Mont Albert and Surrey Hills and is forcing a super-station into narrow, formerly tree-lined residential streets and onto Lorne Parade Reserve.
The Office of the Victorian Government Architect (OVGA) identified a number of significant design issues with the new station. It is clear that the LXRP has failed to respond or resolve these issues.
The super-station is different from most suburban stations in that it is made up of multiple buildings – there are buildings on Lorne Parade Reserve, a building on Lorne Parade and Beresford Street, and another on Montrose Street.
Prior to the 2018 election, when questioned on plans for Mont Albert, Paul Hamer MP commented that it will be, ‘critical that the proposed new station at Mont Albert integrates with and enhances the viability of Mont Albert village.’
The outcome is the opposite with the design ripping the two stations from their established positions within the shopping villages. This flies in the face of urban design principles and state planning policy.
Emeritus Professor Michael Buxton, planning expert, has remarked, ‘The construction of the new station and removal of the two existing stations at shopping centres contradicts the government's own planning policy… serious local effects are ignored.’
One of the artist impressions released by the LXRP today shows Mont Albert Road and the replacement of the level crossing with a pedestrian crossing. The rail trench road barrier will be approximately 2.5 metres in height. The effect is a harsh, concrete frontage to Mont Albert Road rather than an open vista with a forecourt to the new station.
The station building on Lorne Parade and Beresford Street has frontage to the narrow residential streets, encroaches onto both streets, and is over 500m from the existing Mont Albert train station.
In the image below, we’ve highlighted the plan for Mont Albert Road at the rail line to illustrate the complete failure to visually and physically connect the new station to Mont Albert Road and the Hamilton Street shopping village.
Design failures like this have been consistently brought to the attention of the LXRP, Paul Hamer MP and the relevant ministers for over twelve months.
The Association is reviewing the design and will be providing further commentary and analysis.