As usual, it’s been a busy couple of months in planning and we have been making great progress successfully collaborating with our many stakeholders on a range of projects.
Streamlining for Growth Best Practice Forum
Supply of land to market is key to housing affordability. While stocks of unsubdivided land within approved PSPs have been steadily increasing over recent years, stocks of subdivided vacant allotments have been decreasing. Making post-PSP processes more efficient and timely is key to moderating upward pressure on land prices, and this is the challenge being tackled through the state government’s Streamlining for Growth Program (administered by the VPA).
To date, the program has invested $1 million in projects supporting councils and others to speed up post-PSP approvals.
Sharing key insights is paramount to the program’s success, which is why the VPA hosted a best practice forum on 19 April for councils and industry to share learnings that have so far been drawn from projects addressing post-PSP processes.
At the forum council planners and industry experts discussed initiatives that are helping them process planning applications in a more timely fashion. Speakers included Minister for Planning, the Hon Richard Wynne MP, who spoke about how the Victorian Government is responding to Melbourne’s broader housing affordability challenges.
Danielle Kos from Wyndham City Council presented on two projects. The first detailed the Memorandum of Understanding with developers for a priority approvals process. The second presentation focused on new technology council has invested in, which enables real-time information sharing to overcome unnecessary delays in the certification process.
Luke Connell from Cardinia Shire Council discussed how council had invested in a new resource that shortened the assessment of functional layout plans by 10 days.
City of Casey, Whittlesea City Council and Hume City Council representatives also presented on their Streamlining for Growth projects and Jason Shaw from the UDIA rounded out the morning, with a presentation on an industry perspective.
We are also very pleased to announce that Streamlining for Growth applications for 2018/19 financial year are now open and councils have until 6 June 2018 to apply for a grant or VPA staff assistance.
We invite your council to apply for a grant or VPA assistance for a project that aligns with the Streamlining for Growth Program’s aims of accelerating the delivery of employment and residential land, achieving employment growth and increasing housing choice and affordability.
Please discuss your project and seek support of the relevant VPA team before applying online via https://victorianplanningauthority.submittable.com/submit.
For more information, contact Dean Rochfort or Laurie Mitchell on 9651 9600.
View the presentations and find out more: https://vpa.vic.gov.au/streamlining-for-growth-2016-17-best-practice/
Building our presence in regional cities and towns
Our hardworking regional team has been busy travelling across Victoria to meet with councils and community members in relation to a range of current and potential future projects. In fact, our nine regional planners have travelled a total of 16, 816 kms this year (fully carbon-offset of course)!
Key highlights of our travels in April alone include:
- Myself and our Executive Director met with our council counterparts in Torquay and Warrnambool.
- We facilitated a workshop in Shepparton to progress the Shepparton Mooroopna 2050: Regional City Growth Plan.
- We attended the Latrobe Valley Planning in the Economic Growth Zone Steering Committee in Traralgon.
- We met with Mildura City Council officers to discuss council’s streamlining project and take a tour of the regional city of Mildura.
- We attended the Wodonga C121 planning scheme amendment panel directions hearing at Wodonga.
- We attended the Coliban Integrated Water Management Forum in Castlemaine.
The VPA Act 2017 officially expanded our organisation’s remit to include planning projects for Victoria’s diverse regional cities and towns. In that time, we have made terrific progress on a number of exciting projects, such as the Shepparton North East Precinct Structure Plan, the Leneva-Baranduda Precinct Structure Plan and the Bacchus Marsh Urban Growth Framework. We look forward to adding to our regional projects in 2018/19.
Learn more about our regional projects: https://vpa.vic.gov.au/regional/
Engaging community members about our plans
Our staff have been busy hosting numerous community events recently, including several ‘pop-up’ stalls and drop-in sessions, as well as online platforms for our various planning projects.
We are currently reviewing the planning controls for the Preston Market site and as part of this we are consulting with community members to seek their input. Our first round of community consultation consisted of several trader meetings, an interactive, online map for people to leave comments and several ‘pop-up’ stalls. For the second round of engagement we are establishing a community reference group, which will examine various planning considerations for the site and provide the project team with local knowledge.
Over in Officer, in Melbourne’s south-east, we have worked hand-in-hand with Cardinia Shire Council to exhibit the revised Officer Precinct Structure Plan. The original PSP was created by Cardinia Shire Council and approved in 2011. A key component of the plan included the town centre, which is identified as a major town centre in Plan Melbourne 2017-2050.
However, despite the vision for the town centre as a thriving hub of activity, so far commercial development has not taken place to the extent originally envisaged. This is partly due to complex planning controls that can create barriers to development, including onerous built-form requirement that have, with hindsight, proven to be more detailed than is necessary.
The Victorian Planning Authority has now revised this PSP to simplify and improve the flexibility of the planning controls that apply to the town centre. The PSP came off exhibition on Friday, 27 April, and we will now review all submissions.
Learn more about the Officer Town Centre: https://vpa.vic.gov.au/project/officer-precinct-structure-plan/
Strategic sites update
As stated in my previous email, the VPA is currently considering strategic sites that the Minister for Planning, the Hon Richard Wynne MP, could potentially include in the VPA’s 2018/19 work program or beyond. Strategic sites are parcels of land in established urban areas that can be unlocked for urban renewal (greenfields growth projects are prioritised separately).
Our thanks to those of you who took the time to let us know about potential strategic sites for inclusion in our program. We received a very large number of worthy suggestions, which we are assessing now for consideration by our Board and then our Minister.
While our appetite for taking on quality projects is large, our capacity is finite! If your suggestion does not make it onto our work program next year, feel free to contact us to receive feedback and to discuss what the opportunities may be moving forward.
We are always interested to hear about any ideas that our stakeholders and partners have for future projects that can unlock growth and prosperity in urban Victoria – so please contact us any time to discuss potential projects.
For information about future strategic site priorities, please contact Ed Small in the first instance on 9651 9609.
Learn more about strategic sites: https://vpa.vic.gov.au/urban-renewal/strategic-sites/