The Victorian Government is currently conducting a major review of planning policy and controls across Melbourne, the most comprehensive for some time and one which will have far-reaching impact on the way
development takes palace and our city is shaped over the next ten to twenty years and beyond.
This is the first major planning review which has called for submissions from the public and interested parties since Melbourne 2030 (or Melbourne @ 5 million) under the previous government. Officially this is the case, however, the cart has been placed somewhat before the horse as the recent Planning Zones Review should have in fact taken place after, as part of this wider review.
Before Christmas, a briefing by the Minister for Planning, Mathew Guy, and Ministerial Review Chair, Professor Roz Hansen took place at Collins Place Melbourne, where the Minister outlined the intention, goals and directions of the Metropolitan Planning Strategy for Melbourne. In attendance were Planning professionals, representatives of the planning, property mad development lobby, community groups and interested parties. Ian Hundley and I attended on behalf of Friends of Banyule.
A discussion paper has been developed titled “Melbourne, let’s talk about the future” which has nine strategic principles to guide discussion and direction of policy on planning in Melbourne over the coming decades.
It claims to go beyond current metropolitan planning strategies and…. “focus on the economic, social, environmental and built form character of our city”.
The document states that the government seeks to; …” involve the community in the consultation process via community forums, local councils, community and industry events or by making a submission”.
It states that funds will be potentially available to assist with community briefings/ forums.
This all sounds as though the government genuinely wishes the public to take part in the process we wonder however how much real input ordinary residents, community groups and people will actually have.
Our concerns are based on the timing of the already completed Planning Zones Review, to which Friends of Banyule put a submission, raising various concerns:
- The many planning and development decisions which have and continue to take place.
- The significant levels of multi storey development which has occurred, some in “special planning zones”.
- Various decisions being “called in” by the Minister.
- The effects on the Green Wedges of the Planning Zones Review.
- The extremely high levels of development taking place across Melbourne, often negatively impacting neighborhoods and communities, especially via a via powerful property and development lobby interests.
How much of a public relations exercise the Melbourne Planning Review might turn out to be, despite its laudable statements of intent, remains a question.
We will watch with interest how the process develops and will keep you advised. Friends of Banyule has attended various meetings on the subject including the above and will make a submission to the Review (copies of which will be posted on our website).
For copies of the planning strategy discussion document visit http://www.planmelbourne.vic.gov.au/