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Clause 12 - Introduction Melbourne 2030
Citizen #381277

Since its release in 2002, the much maligned metropolitan strategy, Melbourne 2030 has been imposing itself on local planning authorities with the expectation that they will use the document to make decisions. Further, local municipalities have been expected to consider the implications of the strategy when preparing planning scheme amendments. However, up until this last week, Melbourne 2030 has not appeared in the State Planning Policy Framework as a solid clause directing use and development.

Released in draft form on 30 August from here (pdf), Clause 12 is noted as being part of the consultation process for Melbourne 2030, and will eventually form part of the SPPF in all planning schemes in Victoria. Currently without an amendment number, it is unclear as to when this clause will be inserted into the Victoria Planning Provisions although one may assume that this will occur shortly after comments have been received.

Assessment

While still in its draft stages, one can assume that Clause 12 will differ very slightly from its current form when released as an amendment proper. This being so, there is a wide scope for comments…

As noted on the Dept Sustainability and Environment website, in addition to the insertion of Clause 12 into the SPPF, several sections of the VPPs will need to be updated to reflect the changes – definitions being a main section. Metropolitan Melbourne is an incredibly contentious issue, and will need to be handled carefully lest the definition proves inaccurate when stood against current planning policy. Clause 12.04 - Principles is similarly vague in the definitions of the principles which are to guide the implementation. When using such words as ‘sustainability’ and ‘adaptability’, there is a very large door opening for subjectivity.

At any rate, Clause 12 follows the structure of Melbourne 2030 very closely, setting out each Direction as a sub clause, beginning with the highly contentious Direction 1: a more compact city.

It would take far more than my lunch break at work to critique each individual subclause within Clause 12, but suffice to say a lot of the policies contained within the document seem to be missing a step. That is to say that while the document informs planners of policy that should be used, there somewhat of an uncomfortable step between stating the policy, the manner in which implementation should occur and the work that the planning authority will need to undertake to implement each policy. Example:

Defining the role and function of activity centres, preferred uses, scale of development and links to the public transport system based on five classifications of activity centres comprising the Central Activities District, Principal Activity Centres, Major Activity Centres, Specialised Activity Centres and Neighbourhood Activity Centres.

In order for the above to occur, the planning authority will have to undertake the construction of structure plans for each site identified as an Activity Centre. Now given that Clause 12 only sets vague spatial names for the location of Principal and Major Activity Centres, a lot of the work of identifying the exact extent of each Centre will fall to local councils.

Really, at the crux of the discussion, the implementation of Clause 12 is a step in the right direction by the Minister; it will provide more certainty and credibility to Melbourne 2030 and will hopefully gain greater acceptance among the wider community. Even though it is pretty much just Melbourne 2030 but without the glossy cover, it should achieve the right goals, given the proper support. As an aside, the introduction of Clause 12 into the VPPs would make it rather hard for a new government to throw out Melbourne 2030, and while the VPPs should be read in conjunction with Melbourne 2030, it would matter very little if Melbourne 2030 as an individual document disappears overnight with a change of government. This has been a rant.

Planning 2nd September, 2005 13:56:26   [#] 

Comments

Structure Plans
Structure plans must just about be the biggest waste of time and consultancy fees for no gain in the history of planning. There is hardly anything in them worth mentioning after they are created and the hassle to incorporate them into schemes, find someone to do them, consult etc. just wastes everyone's time.

If you can't use the zoning scheme to define somethign why are you bothering. The evidence in favour of landuse zoning is shaky enough as it is without letting planners be more prescriptive. I mentioned this below, but the DSE, who have defined activity centres already and therefore should know where they are should create three overlays:
Principle Activity Centre Overlay
Major Activity Centre Overlay
Neighbourhood Activity Centre Overlay

Give councils a month to apply the bloody things where they want and write some schedules, setting a few guidelines:
- they should be graded upwards from edge to centre N outside M outside P and the central area should be the designation that the DSE gave them.
- they should be of a certain minumum and maximum size

Done. Simple. ok, in theory you should exhibit it too, but since it is the application of a new overlay I wouldn't bother, the minister can approve them - he does anyway - and it doesn't change the existing scheme because Melb2030 is already in the ministerial directions (and a few VCAT decisions).
Russ  2nd September, 2005 18:41:06  

Simple, hey?
I disagree. Structure plans are a useful exercise - at least at the political level. It allows local people to have input in a way that at least seems meaningful. It allows them the chance to "own" the plan.

Structure plans should then be used as a basis for implementing the various tools (e.g. zone, overlays) available to the strategic planner in the VPPs - rather than using the structure plan to simply and lazily replace the other planning scheme provisions.
Aaron  2nd September, 2005 19:00:42  


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