New design guidelines target ugly streetscapes

By David Schout

Lax urban design rules that have resulted in crammed, monotonous footpaths in the CBD are to be halted under a proposed City of Melbourne overhaul.

The council wants Planning Minister Richard Wynne to right the wrongs of previous governments that allowed developers to improperly use laneways and street-level facades.

Specifically, it aims to target developers who build on small parcels of land and cram services and loading docks onto footpaths.
It is also seeking to avoid covered pedestrian connections in Southbank and implementing “sleeved” parking in the area whereby external edges of buildings would have active uses.
The planning amendment, should Mr Wynne approve it, will directly affect any new development in both Southbank and the CBD.
And the council wants the public to contribute, asking for submissions to guide an amendment that will “raise the bar on design quality”.
Amendment C308, as it is known, will be “complementary” to the sweeping changes of C270 in November 2016.
Back then, the council signed off on the biggest planning policy shift in 17 years.
The policy changes were in response to a “dramatic increase in the density, quality and scale of development within the central city and Southbank” and included significant changes such as separation requirements, revised overshadowing and modified wind requirements.
A review of the current policy is “timely and necessary” to improve people’s experience of the city, according to the council.
Back in February, the City of Melbourne’s planning portfolio chair Nicholas Reece said the new design guide was “one of the most important things that the City of Melbourne will do in this term”.
Submissions must be received by Friday, August 10, and will be assessed by an independent panel later in the year.
To lodge your submission for Amendment C308 go to Alternatively, a submission can also be sent via email to [email protected] or posted to, Team Leader – Planning Policy, City of Melbourne, GPO Box 1603, Melbourne, Victoria 3001.

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