New lease on life for Ambassador site

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Site for sore eyes: A service station will soon occupy the derelict site of the old Ambassador function centre. Picture: Gary Sissons

A DERELICT site next to the Ambassador Hotel in Frankston is set to finally receive some love.

The site will soon be home to a BP petrol station after Frankston councillors voted to approve the developer’s permit at the 22 October public council meeting.

The site has been unattended since 2016, when the barren function centre that had originally stood there was demolished. Since then, the grass at the site has become overgrown and the surrounding buildings riddled with graffiti.

Councillors said it was not an “ideal” situation, but ultimately gave BP the green light to go ahead.

“They have been flexible and willing to work with council. We should be sending a message that if you are willing to work with council, we will meet you halfway,” Cr Kris Bolam said.

“It’s a barren, post apocalyptic wasteland.

“The present amenity of this site is not desirable at all. I think having a petrol station put into the area, money pumped into that area, beautification works put into that area, I think that is a good thing. It is a far better outcome.”

The land had formerly been owned by the Ambassador Hotel, but the centre that once stood on it had fallen into disrepair.

Council has been told that work on the project will begin as soon as possible.

Crs Glenn Aitken, Steve Toms, and Quinn McCormack voted against approving the permit.

Cr Aitken said “it’s been a site which has been a long time, quite justifiably, by the public been expected to be something better than what it is. I don’t believe in getting something better than what you had, I believe in getting the best for your community, I don’t think this is it.”

Cr Toms noted the number of petrol stations already within the municipality, and denied the need for another one.

Council also agreed to install a mural and palm trees on the land, as well as CCTV cameras with coverage across the entire site.

Other projects have previously been touted for the site, but none have ever come to fruition. It is understood that the land was once going to be used to build an apartment complex. (“Start of the end for The Ambassador”, The Times, 25/1/16)

The project is set to get underway within the next two years. If no construction has started on the station within that time frame, the permit will lapse.

First published in the Frankston Times – 29 October 2018

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