Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Plan Melbourne Overview: Your Quick Guide to the Final Plan Melbourne

Plan Melbourne is the new metropolitan planning strategy, setting out the Victorian Government's vision for Melbourne in 2050. 

The final version of Plan Melbourne was published in late May and now incorporates a planning scheme amendment and an updated ministerial direction to give Plan Melbourne statutory effect. Most notably, the final version incorporates the higher population projection of 7.7 million Melbourne residents in 2050, an increase of an additional 1.1 million people from the draft plan! This is a huge jump from Melbourne's current population of 4.3 million. 

Initiatives Already Actioned

Planning initiatives that have also already been actioned as part of the strategy include the establishment of the Metropolitan Planning Authority (the MPA), additions to the growth boundary, reformed zoning, new processes for planning permit applications, reforms to the growth areas infrastructure contributions, and reforms to developer contributions.

The Metropolitan Planning Authority (MPA) 

Plan Melbourne's planning objectives are now overseen by the newly created MPA. This government body supersedes the Growth Areas Authority to advise on, and overseeing the implementation of, Plan Melbourne. The MPA is designed to work closely with councils and government departments, while also supervising land use and infrastructure planning on state significant sites.

Plan Melbourne's Seven Planning Objectives

Plan Melbourne has seven planning objectives designed to respond to expected growth and demands of the city. These objectives are: 
  1. Delivering Jobs and Investment: by creating a city structure that drives productivity, investment and job creation
  2. Housing Choice and Affordability: by providing diverse housing options close to jobs and services
  3. A More Connected Melbourne: through integrating and improving transport accessibility, infrastructure and options
  4. Liveable Communities and Neighbours: by maintaining Melbourne's existing suburban layout and creating new peripheral suburbs
  5. Environment and Water: improving water, energy and waste management systems and managing growth 
  6. A State of Cities: creating numerous activity centres around metropolitan Melbourne
  7. Delivering Better Governance: achieving clear results through better governance, planning, regulation and funding mechanisms

Plan Melbourne Summary

The seven planning objectives are supported by 41 directions which have not been changed in the final version. At a glance the directions culminate in the following overall scheme: 

  • Plan Melbourne establishes five new metropolitan sub regions as the basis for planning coordination (Central, Northern, Eastern, Southern and Western); and
  • the MPA, as discussed above, will oversee the implementation of Plan Melbourne. 

Activity Centres:
  • There will be a strong focus on activity centres to accommodate growth, with less emphasis being placed upon developing areas of existing detached housing; however
  • this said, 57% of the expected 1,046,000 new dwellings will be in established areas.  

Urban Renewal Precincts: 
  • Plan Melbourne will encourage residential growth in previously announced urban renewal precincts such as Arden-Macaulay, E-Gate and Fishermans Bend; and
  • Plan Melbourne will create numerous urban renewal precincts including Cremorne, Collingwood, North Richmond to Victoria Park, and also at Hampton, Jewell, Alphington and Essendon Stations.

Permanent Boundary:
  • Plan Melbourne will develop a mechanism to lock in a permanent settlement boundary around Melbourne’s built-up metropolitan area;
  • This permanent metropolitan urban boundary will replace the Urban Growth Boundary; and
  • In determining the boundary, the MPA will take into consideration input from local governments, the November 2011 report by the Logical Inclusions Advisory Committee, Melbourne's values and topography, and boundaries formed by major infrastructure.

Decentralising Excess Growth into Regional Towns:
  • Excess growth will be diverted into regional Victoria once growth areas in the metropolitan region are filled. These regional towns and urban centres include Bacchus Marsh, Ballan, Broadford, Kilmore and Wonthaggi. 

Infrastructure Projects: 
  • Plan Melbourne will create an 'Integrated Economic Triangle' which expands the Central City. This triangle will connect the Hastings-Dandenong corridor with the Hume corridor to the north and the Wyndham-Geelong corridor to the south-west. This development utilises existing infrastructure, such as the Ports of Hastings and East West Link. The intention is to make Melbourne the largest commercial and residential centre in Australia by 2040;
  • Plan Melbourne will implement the Metro 2 Project whereby the Epping and Hurtsbridge lines are rerouted via a tunnel to Melbourne University and Fishermans bend;
  • There will be a continued expansion of the freeway network including the East-West link. The possibility of a North East Link, linking the Eastern Freeway to Greensborough, will also be investigated; and
  • Plan Melbourne contemplates the possibility of building a new airport in Melbourne's outer south east. 

Code Assessment Approach:
  • A "Code Assessment Approach" will be taken to multi unit development. This means that some developments, in areas such as the new Residential Growth Zone, may be exempt from notice and third party appeals if they meet certain enhanced "ResCode" standards. 

What does this mean for the VPS?

Plan Melbourne brings with it changes in the approach to Melbourne's future development and planning, the implementation of which may have significant impacts on decisions made by Departments and Local Governments. 

If you would like to know more about how Plan Melbourne may specifically impact on you or your department, the VGSO is ready to provide legal advice through our Land, Planning and Environment team:

8684 0299

8684 0267

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