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Libraries, schools, aged care units or green spaces should be built above and around new train stations in Melbourne’s middle suburbs as part of the $50 billion suburban loop, consultants say.
Premier Daniel Andrews wants “value capture” to help fund the 90-kilometre underground line, meaning he plans to sell the land and air rights on and around the project's 15 stations to private developers and put the profits back into the loop.
But previous attempts at developing housing and retail at suburban train stations have had limited success, drawing criticism from planners and public transport advocates.
Apartment towers planned over the railway in Windsor and Ormond have stalled due to local opposition. Store fronts at new stations in Bentleigh and McKinnon lie vacant since their opening in 2016.
Retail space at Mckinnon station lies vacant since the new station opened in 2016.CREDIT:
Infrastructure consulting firm AECOM, which advised Transport for London on value capture for two major rail projects, said a lack of proper planning has led to these projects failing in Melbourne.
"If this is purely seen as a funding opportunity, so a plan to help fund infrastructure and doesn't go beyond that, it won't work," the firm's director of cities in Melbourne, Tim O'Loan said.
Rather than simply selling off valuable state-owned land to private developers, Mr O'Loan said the government should keep the land and take a hands-on approach to planning the station area's re-development.
The government could offer long-term leases for community services the suburb lacks, such as aged care units or open space, which could be mixed with new kinds of housing, commercial and retail spaces the area needs, Mr O'Loan said.
The government could operate the services or engage in a public–private partnership whereby a private company builds and operates the service on behalf of the government.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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