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26 November 2020

Amendment C269 – Rewrite of Yarra’s Local Planning Policies

The City of Yarra is seeking to update their local policies via Amendment C269 which is to be presented in the new planning scheme format recently introduced as part of the State Government’s Smart Planning program (Amendment VC148). Amendment C269 is now under exhibition where submissions can be made until Friday 4 December 2020.

The amendment proposes to replace the Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) with a more condensed Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) at Clause 02. Local Planning Policies previously found at Clause 22 will now be integrated into the Planning Policy Framework (PPF).  New and revised local policy content will be included under a range of clauses which cover common themes such as activity centres, environment, urban design and built form, heritage, economic development, transport and infrastructure. A snapshot of the new policies within the PPF structure can be found here.

This amendment is effectively an overhaul of Yarra’s local policies and much of it is now informed by more current strategic background work. This is reflected in the proposed changes to the Operational Provisions at Clause 72.04 and 72.08 to incorporate existing and new background documents. A key objective of undertaking a planning scheme review is to ensure that policies are underpinned by up to date information. For example, policies have been drafted to include the findings of the adopted Housing Strategy and Spatial Economic and Employment Strategy (SEES) in 2018, which comprises data on development trends, housing projections, demographic profile and population projections, commercial floor space etc. These reports have provided the strategic foundations for Yarra Council to formulate its preferred growth strategy for both housing and business.

Upon an initial review of the exhibited documentation, there are some notable new inclusions and changes to Yarra’s local policies such as:

  • A new spatial vision for the municipality at Clause 02.02.
  • A Strategic Framework Plan at Clause 02.04 which identifies activity centres, various land uses, public open space spaces, public transport routes, bicycle network and key landmarks. It also depicts major regeneration areas, major employment precincts, health and education precincts and strategic crossings (see image right).
  • Local spatial plans identifying the boundaries of activity centres. The new policy at Clause 11.03-1L provides clarity on the role and function of each centre to support decision making.
  • Specific employment strategies at Clause 17.01-1L for the Cremorne and Gipps Street major employment precincts. 
  • New Strategic Housing Framework Plans which provide a hierarchy of change areas, ranging from high, moderate, incremental to minimal change areas.    
  • Accessible, adaptable and affordable housing options is now a focus for Yarra, whereby they now seek for such housing to be provided in residential developments of 50 or more dwellings.
  • The proposed heritage policy at Clause 15.03-1L adopts a ‘depth of two rooms’ test to determine the visibility of rear additions instead of the current sightline diagrams.
  • There are specific policies relating to Yarra’s health and education precincts.
  • The car parking policy at Clause 18.02-4L sets out a criteria to support a reduction in car parking spaces.

As part of Yarra’s policy ‘refresh’, it evident that new maps have been created to be more legible, provide greater detail and are an effective tool to illustrate and supplement text in policies. Another important aspect of the new format PPF is to remove repetition, ambiguity and contradiction, which responds directly to the State Government’s Smart Planning program to simply and modernise Victoria’s planning policy and rules.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has been consulted and involved through the translation of the planning scheme and the proposed changes. We certainly welcome the extensive work that has been undertaken by City of Yarra and others to ensure that its planning scheme is ‘up to date’, its integration into the new format PPF, and for greater clarity to be provided to all its users. 

Submissions to Amendment C269 close on Friday 4 December 2020. For further details on the amendment, please refer to the link below:

If you require any further information, please get in touch with Edelene Loke or your usual ratio: contact.


Author: Edelene Loke, Associate: Planning

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