Building upgrades at the Richmond Kindergarten, Cubby House and the Stables

Thursday 17 September 2020

The Cubby House, Richmond Kindergarten and the Stables at 92-104 Lord Street and 19-27 Duke Street in Richmond are collectively called the Chas Farquhar community hub.

We’re planning for the future of the hub, including upgrading buildings and facilities.

A planning application for the building upgrade has now been submitted for approval, with construction expected to begin in March 2021 if the permit is approved. 

View the planning permit and find out more about the proposed design for the upgrade

Next steps

Once the building upgrade is complete, we will work with the local community to plan the programs and activities that will be held at the hub.

This will ensure that the buildings are being fully utilised, and that the childcare, facilities and activities meet the needs of the community. 

Find out more about the planning application

If you have a question about the planning permit, you can find details on the planning application page

Find out more about the services and activities at the hub 

If you would like more information about the childcare, kindergarten or other activities and services held at the hub, you can contact Yarra’s Family, Youth and Children’s Services team by emailing info@yarracity.vic.gov.au or calling (03) 9205 5555.

Please note that there are some questions that we may not be able to answer between Tuesday 22 September and Saturday 24 October, in the lead up to local government elections. During this time we must comply with special arrangements, known as the Election Period. This is intended to ensure that council actions do not interfere with the election process and that it is fair and equal for all.

If you do have a question during this time, we can record it and get back to you after the election. 

You can also find more information about this project by following these links:

Why are we upgrading these facilities?

There are some issues at the complex that need to be addressed:

  • Increasing the number of kindergarten places at Richmond Kindergarten, including space to provide 3-year-old kindergarten, which the Victorian Government will be introducing from 2022.
  • The Cubby House building is nearing the end of its life, and relocation of current Neighbourhood House services needs to be considered.
  •  Improving utilisation of the community rooms at The Stables.

What does the proposed design look like?

You can see the proposed design as part of the advertised planning permit

The design for the upgrade is strictly limited by the space and budget we have available for this project. The design makes the best use of the site and the existing Richmond Kindergarten building.  

It also takes into consideration a number of other factors:

  • The need to include disability accessible facilities, including improving the path into the building and altering the bathrooms. This will allow children of all abilities to use the facilities at the kindergarten. 
  • The design needs to meet all requirements for education and care facilities for early childhood. It also needs to create more space so that more spaces will be available for children to attend the kindergarten. 
  • It needs to ensure a modern learning environment and high quality facilities. 
  • The community has told us that the outdoor spaces at the hub are very important. The new design ensures that there is still plenty of open space at the site. 
  • The design needs to adhere with Yarra Council’s sustainability, design and procurement standards. 

Is the design environmentally sustainable?

The design includes sustainable features which will help optimise energy use and save water. These features include:

  • Water harvesting. 
  • High-rated sustainable taps to help minimise water use. 
  • Solar will be installed on roofs.
  • Energy efficiencies will be installed, such as the use of LEDS lighting and sensors in rooms, and increased insulation in ceilings.
  • The site will no longer use gas – everything will be powered by electricity from renewable sources.
  • Where possible, recycled and repurposed timber and other building materials will be used. 

What previous consultation has been done on this project?

In September and October 2019, we asked the local community for feedback and ideas on the services and activities provided at the Chas Farquhar complex. We also asked for your feedback on the management model of the facilities. 

Based on your input, Yarra Council resolved to transition the Cubby House, the Richmond Kindergarten and the Stables into an integrated community hub offering a range services for families at Council Meetings on 3 and 17 December 2019.

The hub will also provide a place for neighbourhood activities and venue hire.

What will happen to the kindergarten during the construction works? 

The kindergarten programs will operate as normal during construction works, although there may be other changes made due to COVID-19. The works will be structured to enable the kindergarten to operate in the existing building, and then transfer to the new room so that works can take place in the existing building. 

The building contractor will be required to work in accordance with safety and risk management strategies and child safe standards. 

How long will the works take?

The building upgrade works are expected to take 12 months. By allowing this long for the build, we will be able to ensure that the kindergarten is able to operate the whole time.

The Stables building will also be able to remain open (subject to COVID-19 restrictions), although unfortunately there won’t be access to the outdoor area. 

What will happen to the Richmond Community Learning Centre (RCLC)’s Cubby House programs?

We will offer RCLC a new agreement for use of spaces at the hub closer to the completion of the upgrade. Currently, RCLC has use of the downstairs of the Stables (7 days a week) and specific days access to the first floor (4 days a week) to provide their neighbourhood programs.  

We will review community demand and access to The Stables during the construction period to ensure that space is fully utilised.  

RCLC offer hire of the space for children’s parties and can continue to do this in the Stables whilst the construction work is happening. Unfortunately, during the works we cannot allow access to the outdoor area as it will be a construction zone. Following completion of the construction work, we may provide indoor and outdoor access for the neighbourhood house programs. 

Why is the project still going ahead despite COVID-19? 

COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of investing in facilities and infrastructure that support Yarra’s community. 

We also need to address the relocation of activities held in the Cubby House, at is has reached the end of its life, and ensure that we are prepared to offer 3-year-old kindergarten by 2022.

 

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