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New planning guidelines endorsed

10 Dec 2019

New planning guidelines endorsed Image

By David Schout

The City of Melbourne has adopted tighter regulations to improve streetscapes in Southbank and the CBD.

Planning scheme amendment C308, which outlines rules for better urban design in new developments, will now be sent to the Minister for Planning for approval.

Among the changes in Southbank, building services must occupy less than 40 per cent of the ground floor and, within special character areas, 80 per cent of the frontage of buildings must display windows to “active uses”.

Parking for new buildings would also need to be “sleeved”; that is, external edges would require active uses such as office or residential units.

The new guidelines are intended to raise the bar on urban design and maximise the city’s attractiveness and amenity.

Cr Rohan Leppert said the move was “one of our most rigorous and comprehensive amendments considered in this city” while planning chair Cr Nicholas Reece said the move was vital going forward.

“The changes that come with planning scheme amendment C308 will make very significant changes to how planning and projects proceed in Melbourne,” Cr Reece said.

After a period of public consultation last year in which 41 submissions were received, the council asked Planning Minister Richard Wynne to appoint an independent panel to review and hear submissions.

The panel met in March before it reported to the council in May.

The Southbank Residents’ Association (SRA) employed a planning consultant at its own cost to assist with preparing its own submission to the panel.

SRA president Tony Penna said residents were pleased with the amendments, but feared it may have come too late.

“We are very, very pleased that this council has taken the initiative and driven this, we certainly hope it sets an example for other councils,” he said.

“The residents of Southbank have long been concerned about the direction their community was destined to take, especially the impacts of liveability and amenity through never-ending development of epic proportions. While this amendment certainly goes a long way to addressing many of these issues, we feel it is too much, too late for Southbank. At least 80 per cent, probably 90 per cent of Southbank is already developed … so we’re not sure as to the real impact this planning scheme will have on Southbank.”

Speaking at the November 19 Future Melbourne Committee meeting, Lord Mayor Sally Capp said that the move would contribute to setting a “valuable legacy”.

“Good design has tangible and intangible benefits and challenges,” she said.

“What we do when we walk around this city every day is we know those streets that aren’t active, that aren’t friendly, that don’t embrace people become wind tunnels that become unsafe and unpleasant. So, it’s great to see a policy that’s actually going to make sure our streets are friendly and active and safe and that embrace people rather than turn their backs on people.”

“We do really understand that the more thoughtful we are, the more clarity we provide and the more ambitious we are around design in the city then the more valuable our legacy is going to be.”

 

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