Could Pelham St be the key to unlocking more events at Argyle Square?
Carlton is home to many beautiful green public squares, with its four most prominent spaces connected via one of the suburb’s lesser-known streets.
From the World Heritage-Listed Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens, a walk along Pelham St joins pedestrians to Lygon St’s renowned Argyle Square, and Lincoln Square on Swanston St, before eventually ending at University Square.
As part of its master planning for a revitalised University Square, the City of Melbourne has identified Pelham St as a “park front and biodiversity corridor” with a desire to create a stronger association between Lincoln and Argyle Squares.
In its most recent Carlton Urban Forest Plan (2013-2023), the council also identified Pelham St as a key “connector” and earmarks opportunities for increased permeability and open space.
“Pelham St in the city’s north is brimming with opportunities to create more green and open space for Melburnians to enjoy,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp told Inner City News.
We’re delivering on our plans to improve pedestrian amenity and biodiversity in this pocket of Carlton – connecting Lincoln and Argyle Squares.
But while more recent efforts appear focused on Carlton’s western end around the University of Melbourne and the new Parkville Station Metro Station at Grattan St, Lygon St traders and Carlton locals have long lamented the decline in activity surrounding Argyle Square.
While plans to revitalise Pelham St west of Argyle Square are expected to aid in drawing more traffic from the university precinct, questions have been raised regarding the stretch linking it to Carlton Gardens.
Brunetti Classico owner Fabio Angele is among those who support the idea of creating a linear park between the two spaces, suggesting it could be just what’s needed to revitalise the events calendar at Argyle Square and bring more life back to Lygon St.
Mr Angele said he was first part of discussions with the council about the idea decades ago, but that plans had remained on the shelf.
“That piazza [Argyle Square], it’s never used,” he said.
“The idea around 20 to 30 years ago when we had a meeting with the council was to link the museum through Pelham St and that would lead people through to this hub. And that was the idea, to create a park and all that, but it never went ahead.”
The president of local traders’ association Carlton Inc. Sergio Alderuccio agreed, saying it could help draw more traffic from major events including the recent Italian Festa, which was previously held at Argyle Square, as well as the Melbourne Flower and Garden Show.
“A better link between Lygon St and Carlton Gardens should help draw more people to Lygon St, especially when there are major events at the Royal Exhibition Buildings and Carlton Gardens,” he said.
The Carlton Residents’ Association (CRA) has also backed the idea, with its vice-president Martin Brennan stating that it was supportive of any initiative which sought to green the suburb and improve mobility.
“The CRA Mobility Policy is supportive of initiatives that will green our suburb and city and provide mobility options that provide increasing opportunities for walking and cycling,” Mr Brennan said.
“The revitalisation of Argyle Square by linking with Carlton Gardens as a destination for residents and visitors will hopefully give life to Lygon St, the activity spine of our suburb.”
The council said it was currently in the process of updating its Carlton Urban Forest Precinct Plan to cover the next 10 years of tree planting, presenting an opportunity to investigate additional greening along the adjacent sections of Pelham St. •