The Victorian government has announced mandatory development controls will be placed on Fishermans Bend in order to preserve amenity and liveability, with mandatory height limits coming into effect for all developments currently under assessment.
The announcement will see the interim height limits of between four and 40 storeys announced last year become mandatory, and retrospective, with development applications currently under review having four weeks to alter plans if they are in breach.
Under the previous Liberal-National government, no height or design controls were set for the urban renewal area, with a number of towers of more than 60 storeys put forward, which will now have to go back to the drawing board. The rezoning by former planning minister Matthew Guy led to a huge spike in land values and a swarm of development applications for apartment towers, though none of the windfall profits were captured for community infrastructure.
A media release for Victorian planning minister Richard Wynne said the new controls pushed for developments that supported communities. However, affordable housing, dwelling diversity and employment uses have been given discretionary rather than mandatory targets. Developers wanting permits taller than 12 storeys will be “encouraged” to provide six per cent social housing in developments and 30 per cent three-bedroom apartments, though how this will be encouraged is unclear. Similarly, buildings in the Lorimer and Montague neighbourhoods taller than 12 storeys will be “expected” to include at least 15 per cent commercial and community space.
An explanatory report said a new local planning policy would provide “guidance to the development industry regarding expectations”.
Mr Wynne said the new neighbourhoods needed “a good mix of small and large apartments with social housing and commercial space”.
“Developers who want to build projects in properly planned precincts, who want to build neighbourhoods with some longevity, have got the opportunity to be part of the biggest urban renewal opportunity in the country,” he said.
He warned that landowners that wanted to “flip” development approvals for maximum profit without thinking of the long-term would “have to work a bit harder”.
The mandatory controls, which also include new building setbacks, will be in place until final neighbourhood plans are set in late 2018.