Council endorses new planning guidelines

By David Schout

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

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

Among the changes in the CBD, parking for new buildings is to be underground, 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 in must display windows to “active uses”. 

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 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 Mr Wynne to appoint an independent panel to review and hear submissions.

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

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said at the November 19 Future Melbourne Committee meeting 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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