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Sweeping Melbourne Central City Planning Changes Introduced_____

International Density Comparison - Tract Consultants

Sweeping Melbourne Central City Planning Changes Introduced

Late on Friday night, when most involved in the planning and development industry had switched off for the weekend, the Minister for Planning introduced the most sweeping changes to Melbourne central city planning for decades. As an interim measure for 12 months whilst further planning and consultation progresses, a suite of mandatory and discretionary built form controls were introduced to apply to future planning applications only.

Heavily influenced by the work of City of Melbourne planner and Churchill Fellow Leanne Hoydl, the package of changes brings plot ratios – long an element of Sydney planning - to the CBD and parts of Southbank with a discretionary plot ratio of 24:1. Interestingly, a high threshold is set to vary this requirement, including, amongst other tests, whether the development:
  • Is of declared state or regional significance, or
  • Secures public amenity improvements (public open space, streetscape upgrades, design excellence etc)
The package introduced a range of setback controls long sought by the City of Melbourne, including in the abandoned Amendment C188 from 2011, and approximates the tests already used by the Council and the Department in assessing applications over the past few years.
Amendment C262 to the Melbourne Planning Scheme:
  • Inserts a new Schedule 10 to Clause 43.02 Design and Development Overlay to introduce mandatory built form controls and discretionary plot ratios;
  • Makes the City of Melbourne a recommending referral authority at the schedule to Clause 66.04 for developments over 25,000sqm;
  • Introduces mandatory shadowing controls to Schedules 1, 2 and 3 to the Capital City Zone;
  • Introduces wind analysis criteria to Schedules 1 and 2 to the Capital City Zone;
  • Modifies discretionary height controls within Design and Development Overlay Schedules 2, 7, 40, 60 and 62 to make them mandatory;
  • Modifies Clause 22.01 (Urban Design within the Capital City Zone) and Clause 22.02 (Sunlight to Public Spaces) policy to align with the interim built form controls, and
  • Inserts map 8DDO10 and amends planning scheme map 8DDOPT3 accordingly, on an interim basis of 12 months.
The physical height and setback controls clearly represent a significant shift in the planning and development landscape of Melbourne, but perhaps equally relevant is the introduction of ‘referral authority’ status for the City of Melbourne. Whilst in the past Ministerial applications for developments over 25,000sqm have been sent to the City of Melbourne for ‘comment’, the change above means that the City of Melbourne will have a much greater say in respect of developments within the central city, including the right to appeal decisions through VCAT.

Melbourne’s CBD has seen enormous growth in apartments in recent years and the key challenge for the Minister for Planning will be reconciling a desire for greater built form control with the ongoing delivery of substantial amounts of affordable housing in an area well suited to population increase.

If you’d like any more information about these changes, please talk to your existing Tract contact or Daniel Soussan or Adam Terrill.
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