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Amendment changed and submitted

18 Sep 2012

The City of Melbourne has bowed to public pressure and changed the planning Amendment C171: Southbank, strengthening compulsory high-rise separation and height restrictions.

The latest version of the amendment was adapted on the back of several submissions to the changes already made to the amendment by an expert panel.

It has also added residents’ concerns such as taking into account “The impact on the amenity of any dwelling on adjacent sites,” “Ensure that new buildings respect the future development potential of adjacent sites and allow for an equitable spread of development potential on these sites,” and “To ensure that new buildings respect the potential of

future development on adjacent sites to access privacy, sunlight, daylight and an outlook from habitable interiors”.

An improvement to pedestrian access in Southbank has also been written into the amendment.

A major change the expert council had already made to the amendment was the removal of the projection of 74,000 residents by 2040. It no longer states any population projection.

The amendment will now be submitted to Minister for Planning Matthew Guy, and the council was positive in its reactions to the change.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said it had taken over two years to get to this point and the balance was as good as the council could expect.

“At some point, even if everyone doesn’t like it, you have to draw a line. I think we’ve got it right. I think the wording is stronger than when we looked at it last time,” Cr Doyle said.

The Chair of Planning, councillor Ken Ong, said: “This is a major change from where we’ve come from. I believe this is a very good, balanced outcome.”

It wasn’t just the submissions to the expert panel’s analysis that made the council move to enact the changes. The Southbank Residents Group met Lord Mayor Robert Doyle to express its concerns last month and he also received letters on the issue from Freshwater Place owners’ corporation chair Peter Renner and Member for Albert Park Martin Foley.

In his letter to the Lord Mayor, Mr Foley said he had been briefed by residents and backed up their concerns about planning within Southbank.

"Whilst we all support the continued growth and prosperity of the Southbank area,

it is increasingly important to recognise the needs of the residents, businesses, commuters and visitors to this area are accommodated and made central to that growth and future planning,” Mr Foley wrote.

“I share the concerns of the SRG that the achievement of this vision (Southbank Structure Plan) will be lost through mounting congestion and lack of attention to the interaction of the competing demands on the Southbank community,” he added.

The Southbank Residents Group (SRG) representatives were unhappy with the outcome of the meeting, but pleased it had helped the process.

SRG spokesperson Cedric Saldanha said the group, while happy with some of the changes to the amendment, was dissatisfied with the new submission to the Minister.

“What we are looking for is a council standing up for us. We have lost an opportunity to take a stand against this (Planning) Minister,” Mr Saldanha said.

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