Activity centres and employment
Port Phillip is an attractive employment destination that will see a continued growth in jobs, however residential uses are at risk of ‘crowding out’ commercial uses. Council should consider the City’s employment needs and trends to facilitate local jobs, protect creative industries and strengthen employment precincts.
Activity centres in Port Phillip will need to grow and evolve to meet the demand of an increasing population and to be the foundation for the 10-minute walking neighbourhoods. The potential for growth and change in many of these centres is limited by heritage fabric and small allotments. Council should define the role and function of activity centres and consider their growth potential.
Built form and heritage
The City benefits from extensive detailed design policy and controls in many of our high and moderate growth areas. Council should develop a city wide spatial plan to define key features of the City’s urban structure and character and integrate upcoming Council strategies on public spaces and transport for an integrated approach to managing growth and change.
Council has an extensive range of built form controls however, many contain generic material and reflect evolving practice over time. State policy reform such as the Better Apartments Design Standards have also created overlaps. These should be reviewed to be more consistent and clear, and less repetitive.
Port Phillip has among the most extensive heritage controls in Victoria, however controls and guidance have tended to focus on 19th century built form. Council will consider:
- addressing gaps including missing ‘eras’ or themes, reviewing heritage precinct boundaries, contributory heritage properties outside of heritage overlay areas and social heritage
- consulting with the community to understand the important social heritage aspects of Port Philip and consider how to reflect this value
- reviewing heritage planning policy to consider a broader range of development types (including industrial and commercial properties) and higher density development.
- developing policy guidance to balance heritage and Environmentally Sustainable Development outcomes
- reducing permit triggers for low-impact buildings and works in the Heritage Overlay, where in accordance with design criteria.
The Scheme has detailed policy to facilitate development that mitigates its impact on the natural environment. However, it is less clear in its implementation of these policies. Council should:
- continue to advocate to the Minister for a permanent, and more ambitious State-wide equivalent of the current Environmentally Sustainable Development Local Policy
- advocate for stronger planning mechanisms to address climate change hazards
- improve guidance on how applicants can meet ESD objectives in developments.
There is also an opportunity to undertake further strategic work to justify the further use of planning scheme mechanisms to:
- minimise the cumulative loss of vegetation and trees on private land in the municipality
- leverage further greening of the city through better development outcomes such as through the delivery of green roofs, green walls, increased tree planting and landscaping and open space contributions.
Health and wellbeing
Health and wellbeing policy is currently well embedded throughout the MSS, however, there is an opportunity to raise its profile by specifically linking outcomes to liveability. This could include:
- better reflecting Council’s new Health and Wellbeing Implementation Strategy
- further promotion of universal accessibility for people of all ages and abilities
- development of detailed policy to guide land use conflicts arising from licensed premises in mixed-use areas
- to more effectively consider the social impacts of some planning decisions through Social Impact Assessments
- new policy to encourage urban agriculture and food-sensitive urban design
- improve community infrastructure policy to address co-location and the clustering of uses, the delivery of adaptable spaces, and design guidance.
Public spaces and foreshore
An increasing population and a shift towards higher density living environments is putting pressure on Port Phillip’s existing network of public spaces. Council’s current Open Space Strategy is not well suited to managing these issues to a best practice standard and new strategy is required. Once completed, the PPPS will be key to implementing the directions of the new Public Spaces Strategy.
The new Strategy will need to consider the broad range of public needs in Port Phillip and explore opportunities to improve the quantum, quality, diversity, environmental performance and spatial distribution of the open space network. This will necessitate the following:
- reviewing opportunities to create new public spaces and re-imagine existing public spaces to meet diverse needs of a growing population
- improving linkages to and between the public space network
- how public space contributes to placemaking and 10-minute neighbourhoods
- providing updated guidance for development applications such as improved design interfaces and a framework for implementing public open space contributions (potentially at a greater rate than the current 5%)
- review all existing overshadowing of public spaces and the foreshore to strengthen and provide a consistent city-wide approach, where possible.
Housing and growth
Council should revise current housing policies to ensure consistency with recent state planning reforms, including the revised suite of residential zones and the new apartment design standards.
Council should undertake a new Housing Strategy to plan for current housing issues, trends and demand, including reflecting Fishermans Bend housing provision and considering the ‘review areas’ not addressed by Amendment C123.
In the shorter term, the MSS review will strengthen affordable housing policy by reflecting the directions of state policy and In Our Backyard - Growing Affordable Housing in Port Phillip 2015-2025.
Transport, parking and waste
Emphasising an integrated land use and transport planning approach in the MSS will help to reduce reliance on cars and facilitate 10-minute walking neighbourhoods by directing growth to areas well served by public transport and shops.
Reflect the outcomes of the Integrated Transport Strategy (Move, Connect, Live - under preparation) in the MSS and consider use of the Parking Overlay to facilitate more sustainable parking rates and funding opportunities for active transport initiatives.
Relevant outcomes of the Waste Strategy (also under preparation) should be reflected to ensure that medium and high-density development proposals accord with best practice waste management principles.
Effectiveness and efficiency
The Scheme is long, complex and could be simplified and clarified without losing its strategic intent.
The MSS will need to be restructured to more closely reflect the topics of the State Planning Policy Framework to prepare for an integrated planning policy framework currently being developed by the State Government is considering as part of the Smart Planning reforms.
Council should also explore prescribing local classes of VicSmart applications to streamline simple planning applications.