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Government takes creative control

08 Mar 2018

Government takes creative control Image

By Sean Car

Developers with live applications on Sturt Street’s arts spine will be forced to give back to the Arts Precinct under new planning controls introduced this month.

The State Government has announced historic planning controls that ensure all new developments comply with the creative industry’s vision for Southbank’s Arts Precinct.

The new planning controls are in direct to response to a spate of new developments along Sturt St, which the local community has long argued threaten the amenity of the Arts Precinct and low-rise Southbank Village.

Minister for Planning Richard Wynne and Minister for Creative Industries and Member for Albert Park Martin Foley announced planning scheme amendment C330 on March 6.

The amendment includes a rezoning of the precinct to the newly created Capital City Zone Schedule 7. The new controls will be introduced on an interim basis of one year, allowing time for the City of Melbourne and Creative Victoria to work with the community on permanent controls.

Under the Australian-first rezone, future developments will have to include arts and cultural uses as part of the first four floors, such as studios, workshops or galleries, or performance and events spaces on the first four levels. Any exemption would require additional permits.

The amendment has been approved without transitional provisions, meaning all “live” planning permit applications on Sturt St, for which there are currently three, will be subject to the new controls.

The controls will extend all the way from the Yarra River to Kings Way and while they don’t provide protection against height, Minister Wynne said they got the balance right.

“We’re calling time on developments that detract from our treasured Arts Precinct and give nothing back to the community or the creative industries sector,” he said.

“From now on, all developments within the Melbourne Arts Precinct zone will need to ensure they’re helping the thriving industry grow.”

Martin Foley said the controls were an important step in the ongoing effort to transform the area into a major creative and cultural hub.

“Nothing says Melbourne quite like the Melbourne Arts Precinct, but the inevitability of development threatens this precious location if we don’t act now.”

“The community and the creative industries sector have asked for this change and we’ve listened. It will take our arts precinct to a whole new level and provide more opportunities for small to medium creative organisations.”

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