Queen Victoria Market planning controls

In this month’s column, we comment on a report by Planning Panels Victoria (PPV) rather than a VCAT decision.

PPV is a body that exists within the state Department of Land, Water, Environment and Planning (DELWP).

It conducts public hearings to consider submissions on planning scheme amendments, environmental effects statements or on matters that the minister requests. It reports back to the body that requested the panel (usually a council or the minister) with recommendations which are not binding.

PPV comprises a chief panel member, full-time senior members and a pool of about 80 sessional members with expertise in a wide range of areas, such as planning, environment, architecture, urban design and transport.

Further information about PPV is available on the State Government’s planning page web site.

A panel report on the Queen Victoria Market (QVM) precinct rezoning and built form controls was released in July. The City of Melbourne requested the appointment of the panel to consider the 158 submissions that had been received following exhibition of the draft planning controls (known as Amendment C245).

The overall aim of the built form controls as put by the City of Melbourne was to safeguard the future of the QVM and enhance its surrounds.

Key findings of the panel were that on balance, the majority of the proposed built form controls should be supported. The panel recommended some changes as to which of the controls should be mandatory and which should be discretionary, and also some changes to the specified podium heights and overall building heights, and side and rear setbacks.

The panel was not convinced of the merits of the proposed rezoning of the majority of the Queen Victoria Market land and Queen St extension currently zoned Capital City Zone (CCZ1) to the Public Use Zone (PUZ7), and recommended abandonment of that part of the amendment.

Interestingly, the panel recommended that the Minister for Planning assume the status of responsible authority for approval of any development proposal under the proposed planning controls in order to provide a greater level of independence in the decision-making and governance process.

The next step in the process is for the City of Melbourne to consider the panel’s recommendations before seeking approval from the minister.

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