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16th August 2017

Chapel Street Structure Plan refreshed

The approval of Amendment C172 to the Stonnington Planning Scheme resulted in permanent planning controls for the Chapel Street activity centre and the culmination of Chapel reVision, which sought to review the original Chapel Vision Structure Plan.  The new Activity Centre Zone (ACZ1) introduces built form and use objectives for four sub-precincts, including Forrest Hill. 

Vertical zoning has been included where residential uses are proposed, but commercial uses are encouraged.  In these instances, a permit is required for use of land for dwelling below a certain floor dependant on the hierarchy of road (main or secondary).  The Panel considered this approach to be innovative and facilitative, but said that it should be monitored over time to ensure the intended outcome is achieved. 

Council had sought mandatory maximum building heights for both Greville Street and Chapel Street, Windsor.  While the Panel did not support mandatory heights, they have been applied to Greville Street only (4 storeys / 14.6 metres), with preferred maximum heights for the remainder of the activity centre.  The zone enables the preferred maximum building height to be exceeded in some circumstances if:

1. It can be demonstrated that a significant community benefit can be achieved; AND
2. The development meets details with regard to visual impact and overshadowing with upper level setbacks.

No detail is provided within the schedule with regard to what community benefits Council will deem appropriate for uplift.  We understand that the Roger David site in the Forrest Hill precinct (16-22 Claremont Street) was able to achieve ‘uplift’ from the preferred 50 metre height through its ability to realise the east-west pedestrian link from Claremont Street through to Daly Street.  It remains to be seen whether the document for calculating floor area uplifts and public benefits prepared for the Melbourne CBD will be used as a rough guide to inform what is a ‘public benefit’.  Previous applications that included office floor space and affordable housing within the Forrest Hill Precinct were not considered to be of public benefit to Council to warrant significant uplift beyond the preferred building heights and were ultimately removed from approved plans.

The largely performance-based controls provide further clarity with regard to building separation / interface setbacks and amenity considerations.

Stonnington Council should be applauded for the ‘refresh’ of this structure plan (particularly when many activity centres in other municipalities have not had the benefit of an original structure plan).  We look forward to seeing whether the introduction vertical zoning has the desired effect on mix of land uses.  

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