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Readers may recall the introduction of Interim Controls to the Swan Street Activity Centre in November last year (C236). The Amendment sought to introduce a Design and Development Overlay to the precinct and introduce the Swan Street Activity Centre Built Form Framework as a ‘reference document’ to the Planning Scheme.
The proposed permanent Swan Street controls are now on exhibition allowing submissions to be made.
The Amendment seeks to:
- Rezone land from Commercial 2 (C2Z) to Commercial 1 (C1Z) to facilitate additional retail and housing in the activity centre;
- Apply a Design and Development Overlay (DDO17) to provide built form controls;
- Vary heritage controls to a number of properties within the Activity Centre (addition of properties and removal of some ungraded properties within the Heritage Overlay);
- Apply the Environmental Audit Overlay to potentially contaminated land. This will mean that an environmental audit will need to be carried out before any sensitive land use can commence on this land; and
- Introduce Clause 21.12 (Local Areas) which provides character aspirations for each precinct of the Swan Street Activity Centre.
The progression of the Amendment is a positive move, providing some further direction for the Activity Centre. However, it appears that there are some missed opportunities in this case. For example:
- The inclusion of built form controls to Church Street which is currently subject to several development applications
- Rezoning of land within Cremorne which was previously earmarked to facilitate the newly announced Commercial 3 Zone.
Whilst Council may include these matters within future amendments, we query whether the Amendment should implement the full extent of the Swan Street Structure Plan and its ‘study area’ to ensure that the vision of the study area is achieved.
Although, a more detailed review will be required before we can comprehensively comment on the merits of the Amendment, some notable items include:
- Proposed mandatory controls for setbacks of buildings above the street wall (in some cases up to 20 metres). It is our view that upper level setbacks do not properly balance the competing roles of activity centres; are excessive and should be discretionary.
- The introduction of a new laneway to the rear of the properties at 362 - 444 Swan Street and the proposal for three north-south access points from Swan Street to this laneway. We query the likelihood or reasonableness of this occurring in the absence of a Development Plan Overlay and Public Acquisition Overlay (or an incentivised ‘uplift’ scheme).
- The introduction of upper level building breaks running north-south for properties which abut the railway line to the south. It appears that the intention is to allow view corridors (allowing ‘clear views to the sky’) from Lord Street and Edinburgh Street; however, we question what this will achieve and who will benefit from this.
Those with land within the Swan Street Activity Centre are encouraged to review the details of the amendment and lodge a submission to the amendment. ratio: would be pleased to assist you in this regard, or to discuss this amendment further.
Submissions for the amendment are due to close on 15th April 2019. Additional information can be found at https://www.planning.vic.gov.au/schemes-and-amendments/about-planning-schemes or at Council’s website
Author: Alexandra Wade, Senior Planner