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New rules, new era

05 May 2016

New rules, new era Image

The days of overdevelopment in Southbank as we know it are over, after Minister for Planning Richard Wynne announced a major overhaul to planning controls in the central city.

The State Government released its final draft of the new planning laws for Southbank and the CBD last month, and Mr Wynne said it was hoped they would be officially legislated by September.

The new controls will now require developers to follow strict rules around areas such as setbacks, space between buildings, apartment design, podium height levels and mandatory height limits.

However, perhaps the most important measure introduced under the new system is the introduction of a new 18:1 plot ratio, which will help prevent developers from overdeveloping a site.

The news means that it’s likely that we will never see a taller building in Melbourne than Australia 108, which is currently under construction.

In a letter published on the Urban Melbourne website Mr Wynne explained that the rules were necessary to prevent large-scale development from suffocating the inner city.

“Modelling done as part of our review showed the central city would be over-developed and degraded without government intervention,” he said.

“The inner city needs to be shaped with a clear vision and we cannot allow projects to be rubber-stamped in isolation from their surrounds.”

“We’ve already had encouraging feedback from the property industry and the public, pleased we are creating certainty and a vision for how we want the city to grow.”

Mr Wynne said he also rejected the idea that developers would now shift their focus to other markets such as Sydney.

“In central Sydney plot ratios rarely exceed 15:1, even with bonuses, and the average project has a 12:1 ratio,” he said.

“Melbourne’s land is more affordable and the permit process in Victoria is considerably faster.”

The government’s state budget announced a $25.5 million investment into overhauling the state’s planning system, which will also see changes to the online permit application and approvals process.

Mr Wynne said the overhaul included a lot of “common sense changes”.

“Whether you’re a homeowner or developer, smart planning will reduce costs and make it simpler to navigate the planning process.”

“Homeowners will have access to clear, easy to understand information about what can be built in their neighbourhood and how they can modify their properties.”

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