The tallest building is 11 levels.
Developers, however, recently went back to the government and successfully persuaded planning advisers to recommend towers rising to 22 levels in the project’s final stage.
Planning Minister Richard Wynne was last year poised to sign off on the deal, which would gift Citta Property Group and Frasers Property a windfall worth tens of millions of dollars.
But this week it was revealed Mr Wynne had amended the planning controls paving the way for the last stages of the redevelopment, following the findings of an independent panel last year.
Mr Wynne took most of the advice of the panel, but he reduced the maximum tower height to 17 storeys.
But residents and community groups say 21 levels (17 levels of apartments, plus car parking levels) is too high, and the development should adhere to the site’s original terms struck in 2004 which kept restricted towers to five levels.
Resident Mark Ridgeway accused the developer and government of “abusing” the area for their own interests, to the detriment of the public.
“I’m extremely disappointed,” he said.
“I just cannot see that there is any public benefit to this project. It will overshadow the parkland and the loom over the wetland, and on top of this it will have a tremendously negative impact on Royal Park.”
He said residents would hold a community meeting on Thursday evening.
“We’ll keep fighting, we’re not going to give up now,” Mr Ridgeway said.
The new controls involve stage three of the estate, comprising up to 600 units next to the Tullamarine Freeway, which includes 101 affordable housing units delivered by Port Phillip Housing Association.
Once complete, Parkville Gardens will have about 1700 dwellings.
Melbourne City Council also opposes the plan, which it argues is too high for the area and would overwhelm Royal Park.
“This decision is about creating more affordable housing on the cusp of the CBD, nearby jobs for locals and services that families need,” Mr Wynne said.
“We’ve carefully considered these controls to ensure we are driving development in areas best equipped to cater for it, ensuring more sensitive nearby neighbourhoods are protected.”
Melissa Cunningham reports breaking news for The Age.
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