Arden Transport Precinct

Arden Transport Precinct

The Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) was made Planning Authority to deliver the Arden precinct in the City of Melbourne. The Arden Transport Precinct has been identified as a project on the VPA’s Fast Track Program.

The VPA draft Arden Structure Plan has recently finished community engagement seeking the views of the community in preparing the final structure plan for Arden.

The VPA will shortly be updating the Arden Structure Plan and preparing the associated planning scheme ordinance for final public consultation.

The Minister for Planning, in consultation with City of Melbourne, will determine if the project will utilise the VPA Projects Standing Advisory Committee to consider unresolved matters.

The VPA will be ensuring greater resources and prioritisation of the project’s finalisation occurs in a timely manner.

Arden is an urban renewal precinct in North Melbourne, less than 2km from the Melbourne central city. Located around the Metro Tunnel’s new Arden Station, Arden will be an employment and innovation precinct and a thriving new neighbourhood for Melbourne’s inner north-west. It aspires to accommodate approximately 34,000 jobs and be home to around 15,000 residents.

The draft Arden Structure Plan

The planning for Arden is being led in partnership by the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) and the City of Melbourne in collaboration with the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR).

A draft Arden Structure Plan has been prepared and outlines how the development of Arden might occur over the next 30+ years. It outlines objectives and strategies to achieve the eight key directions of the Arden Vision. The draft Arden Structure Plan aligns with other planning projects including planning for Macaulay, West Melbourne, the Moonee Ponds Creek and the West Gate Tunnel Project.

For more information, refer to the Draft Arden Structure Plan – June 2020 (PDF).

In July and August 2020, the City of Melbourne and the VPA sought public feedback on the draft Arden Structure Plan (draft Plan). The feedback received over the 8 week engagement period has been analysed and summarised into the Draft Arden Structure Plan – Consultation Analysis Summary Report – February 2021 (PDF).

Amendment C369 to the Melbourne Planning Scheme

Amendment C369 was approved by the Minister for Planning and gazetted on 29 June 2020, which introduces a Development Contributions Plan Overlay – Schedule 3 (DCPO3) into the Melbourne Planning Scheme on an interim basis for two years over the Arden Urban Renewal Precinct.

The interim development contribution rates are $17,053 per dwelling, $193 per square metre of new commercial floor space and $161 per square metre of new retail floor space.  Contribution rates will be indexed annually from 1 July 2021 to the Producer Price Index for Building Construction – Victoria published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), March to March quarters.

Further information can be found in the FAQs section of this page.

To view a copy of the amendment documentation, refer to  Amendment C369MELB.

Background information

Arden is a 50-hectare urban renewal precinct in North Melbourne, less than 2km north-west from Melbourne’s central city. The precinct is between Macaulay Road, the Upfield rail line, Moonee Ponds Creek and Dryburgh Street in North Melbourne. The precinct is forecast to experience significant change over the next 15 – 30 years.

Many people will know the area by the North Melbourne Football Club on Arden Street, and the tall flour mill silos in Laurens Street bearing the ‘Don is Good’ sign, on the eastern edge of the Arden precinct.

A structure plan is a planning document used to implement a framework of vision for a precinct. It includes the future layout of streets, parking, community facilities and development sites, and provides guidance around the types of buildings and land uses that are appropriate. It also provides contextual information about the local landscape, cultural values, policy environment and economic drivers.

The draft Arden Structure Plan (the draft Plan) translates the vision for Arden’s future into objectives and strategies to guide how the precinct should develop in the short, medium and long-term. It supersedes the Arden-Macaulay Structure Plan (2012).

Urban renewal is the redevelopment of land in established parts of the city from industrial or low-intensity precincts to precincts with more employment, commercial or residential opportunities.

The Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) is the state government’s specialist authority for land use and infrastructure planning in growing urban areas across Victoria. As experts, we use our skills and knowledge to write and draw plans that determine where and how urban growth will occur.

Arden has been identified by the Victorian Government as a Transport Precinct, making it part of a network of precincts that will work together to boost innovation, productivity and build on Victoria’s global record of commercial success.

Arden falls within the City of Melbourne’s local government area. The VPA and City of Melbourne have been working in partnership to prepare the draft Arden Structure Plan.

City of Melbourne is involved in every planning outcome within its boundary and strives to ensure planning considers key principles that underline the city’s success. These include a sustainable, inventive and inclusive city that is vibrant and flourishing.



The VPA and City of Melbourne have been co-designing the draft Plan on behalf of the Department of Transport (DoT). It is one of the many tools that will unlock the Arden Transport Precinct.

DoT is the lead State Government agency for the Arden Precinct and is committed to supporting local businesses and landowners with ongoing information and assistance as Arden transforms. This role formerly sat with the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) until December 2020.

Innovation precincts are areas where leading-edge anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups, business incubators and accelerators. Brought together, these organisations are able to connect and collaborate, spurring economic development.

Arden will be a new epicentre of knowledge and innovation in Melbourne. Arden will complement the neighbouring Parkville biomedical innovation and research precinct, making it a new employment hub for life sciences, health, digital technology and education. It will strengthen Victoria’s position as Australia’s top performing economy.

Project information

The draft Plan aspires to accommodate approximately 34,000 jobs and around 15,000 residents.

The heart of the precinct will develop into an employment and innovation hub with life sciences, health, digital technology and education sectors at its centre, advancing Melbourne’s strengths as a progressive, innovative and connected global city.

Arden will become a thriving inner-city neighbourhood surrounding the new Arden train station, featuring vibrant streets and open spaces, new schools and community facilities, innovative water management and well-designed buildings to live and work in, including affordable housing options. The well-connected streets will encourage people to get around by foot or on bikes. A proposed government primary school and secondary school in the neighbouring Macaulay precinct will service the new community.

This change is expected to occur gradually over the next 30 years.

Melbourne’s population is predicted to grow to almost 8 million by 2050.

Close to Melbourne’s central city and serviced by three train stations and the new Metro Tunnel, Arden offers a significant opportunity to accommodate the new jobs and residents of a growing Melbourne.

The government own a significant parcel of land within the precinct, this presents an unprecedented opportunity to create a highly connected, high quality new neighbourhood.

Arden has a long history as an industrial area that continues today. Land uses in Arden are diverse and include warehousing and showrooms, professional services, food manufacturing, transport industries, and other construction industries.

Current zoning has limited the establishment of residential land uses in Arden, which are primarily clustered in the Laurens Street sub-precinct within the mixed-use Zone. Despite being a mixed-use zone, the majority of new development has been residential. Whilst the zoning in Arden enables it, there is limited retail offering within the area.

Arden’s renewal will generate opportunities for government to support existing businesses that are undergoing change and review their role in the precinct as it becomes a place for a mix of employment and residential uses, people focussed streets and green spaces.

You can explore the Arden sub-precincts more by clicking the interactive map.

Arden is 50 hectares in size, with large landholdings owned by either State or Local Government. The remainder of the land is owned by private land and/or business owners. Large government land ownership within the precinct is unique. It gives the precinct potential to develop into an innovation precinct specialising in health, life sciences, digital technology and education technology to complement Australia’s preeminent biomedical cluster in Parkville.

Yes. Land will be rezoned with a planning scheme amendment to support the vision for Arden as a mixed-use employment and innovation precinct. The type and location of zones will be determined through the final planning process, following community consultation on the draft Plan and at the completion of further detailed planning consideration and assessments.

Arden’s renewal will generate opportunities for government to support existing businesses, that are undergoing change, to review their future role in the precinct and, if required,  potentially find more suitable locations as the precinct becomes a place for a mix of employment and residential uses, people focussed streets and green spaces.

As part of the broader consultation process, the Victorian Government is reaching out to relevant landowners and businesses that may directly be undergoing change due to the proposals identified in the Draft Structure Plan.

Business owners and landowners with questions about the impact of this planning process on their specific landholding can arrange a time to discuss the draft Plan in more detail on
(03) 9651 9600 or via email

The Arden precinct will deliver an open space and public realm network including a 6,000 sqm Capital City Open Space at the heart of the precinct near Arden Station, a new large neighbourhood park (south of Queensberry Street) and new integrated stormwater management open spaces that also help manage flooding.

The draft Plan also protects the North Melbourne Recreation Reserve and Clayton Reserve in Arden North.

You can explore the open space proposed for Arden in the interactive map.

A floor area ratio is a type of planning control that sets a specific amount of development that can occur on a site. The floor area ratio is the ratio of a new building’s total floor area in relation to the size of the site it is being built on.

When combined with other built form controls, it allows for variation in the height and shape of buildings. This will help to ensure that new development is responsive to its site and the characteristics of an area. The diagrams below explain the concept of floor area ratios and how they can result in different building types. For example, a floor area ratio of 4:1 allows for a total floor area up to four times the size of the site itself. This could be up to four storeys if 100 per cent of the site is developed or eight storeys if only half the site is developed. For larger sites, a floor area ratio combined with other built form controls allows for variation in the height and shape of buildings while also enabling the delivery of new streets and open spaces. Some of the benefits of floor area ratios are they:

  • can often be aligned to the overall population or employment target for an area
  • can help deliver a range of building typologies, helping to deliver a range of uses and provide visual interest
  • set realistic and clear expectations about the potential development yield on a site
  • enable flexibility for an architect to choose how they organise their building layout and form on their site within a preferred built form envelope, and focus on design quality rather than yield
  • have a direct relationship with the size of a site and can therefore be relatively easy to communicate
  • can help deliver a mix of uses with requirements for minimum floor areas for a range of different uses
  • provide a clear and consistent measure to support efficient decision making.

An image explaining floor area ratios

Arden will have a mix of building heights. The draft Plan proposes that taller buildings – around 20 to 40 storeys – are placed along the CityLink corridor and in Arden Central and shorter buildings – around three to six storeys – near public spaces and neighbouring suburbs.

Street wall heights will be controlled opposite areas of open space to achieve appropriate sunlight access. Refer to the map and table on pages 46 and 47 of the draft Arden Structure Plan for more information.

Sustainability practices will change over the estimated 30-year timeframe of Arden’s development. Arden will be designed in a way to allow for the precinct to evolve with these changes in sustainable development.

Buildings in Arden will be built to a high level of energy, water and waste efficiency and use renewable energy to power them. Easy to use waste and recycling systems, great places to walk and ride bikes, and easy access to public transport will make sustainable lifestyle choices for people living in Arden convenient and affordable

There are a number of sustainable design standards that will apply to the precinct. These include water sensitive measures, such as green roofs and rainwater tanks to reduce stormwater pollution and runoff, and which may also contribute to mitigating nuisance flooding. This integrated approach which considers water in the landscape will play an important part in the design of this precinct. The vision for Arden will ensure that development meets the highest attainable standards under the Green Star, or equivalent nationally recognised accreditation for sustainable communities and buildings.

The Victorian Government and the City of Melbourne recognise the importance of the Arden Precinct as setting the standard for urban renewal in Melbourne and aspire to achieve greater sustainability outcomes. The City of Melbourne aspires to be a net-zero carbon municipality by 2040. The final plan for Arden will set out the confirmed targets for sustainability, subject to the refinement of technical studies, feasibility testing and intra-government consultation.

The Victorian Government and the City of Melbourne recognise the importance of the Arden precinct as setting the standard for urban renewal in Melbourne.

An Affordable Housing Strategy is being prepared for the final Arden Structure Plan to guide the development of planning controls that will ensure affordable housing is delivered. The strategy will identify the most appropriate types of affordable housing that should be delivered through the development of Arden. This should enable flexibility to respond to changing needs over time.

Key strategies of the draft Plan are to:

  • Require at least six per cent of new residential development be delivered through mechanisms such as community housing or shared equity
  • Incentivise additional affordable and social housing provision on all types of land to achieve these goals.

Yes. Based on the expected student demand, it is anticipated that there will be one additional government primary and one additional government secondary school required to meet the needs of the new community in Arden and the surrounding community. The location of proposed government schools is subject to further investigation and agreement.

The draft Plan also proposes space for an art, culture and community hub with library facilities and Aboriginal culture spaces. Older persons and disability services will be provided within the new precinct, along with health and family services.

You can explore the proposal for community hubs, facilities and schools more in the interactive map here.

In the instance of a major rain event, much of the land in Arden is impacted by flooding. Low lying areas within the precinct are also subject to nuisance flooding during more frequent rainfall events.

Arden’s existing drainage system was designed in earlier times to a lower standard than would apply today, however, the system was adequate for what was mainly an industrial area. Following rezoning of the area, the proposed residential development is at risk of unsafe flood depths in some of the lowest lying areas of the precinct.

A flood management strategy is being prepared by Melbourne Water and will ensure that local stormwater runoff and riverine flooding from Moonee Ponds Creek can be managed as safely as possible at a precinct-wide level and allow for the development of other land in the precinct.

Elements of the flood management strategy will include conveyance of water along streets, strategic flooding, and the use of natural-based water strategies to hold and release water. This will play an important role in providing opportunities for urban cooling, water quality improvements and restoration of biodiversity.

The City of Melbourne, VPA, DoT, Melbourne Water and City West Water are investigating opportunities for alternative water provision for Arden. The final Arden Structure Plan will provide more detail on flood management and alternative water opportunities and infrastructure.

Yes. The draft Arden Structure Plan has been prepared in consultation with Rail Projects Victoria (RPV) to align with planning for the new Arden Station as part of the Metro Tunnel Project. RPV is the Victorian Government agency leading the delivery of the Metro Tunnel Project.

The Arden precinct adjoins the urban renewal areas of Macaulay and West Melbourne. The West Melbourne Structure Plan has been adopted by Melbourne City Council.

A separate structure plan refresh is also being developed for the Macaulay urban renewal area by the City of Melbourne. Arden and Macaulay each have a distinct role and character, however the plans are being developed to be complementary and coordinated together.

West Melbourne was recently the subject of a structure plan which informed a planning scheme amendment that is ongoing through 2019 and 2020. The draft Arden Structure Plan was developed with consideration to the planned future development of West Melbourne and its relationship to Arden.  The interface between these three areas will be resolved as part of finalising the Arden Structure Plan and its planning controls.

Arden is one of many urban renewal precincts at various stages of planning, development or completion within inner metropolitan Melbourne, with other urban renewal precincts including Docklands, Southbank, and Fishermans Bend and other areas of change including Macaulay, West Melbourne and the City North area. In the future, planning will also occur for E-Gate and Dynon in the west.  Together these areas will help to provide the homes, jobs, infrastructure and spaces needed to support the growing city.

Arden has been identified by the Victorian Government as a transport precinct, making it part of a network of precincts that will work together to boost innovation and productivity, leveraging the state’s investment in major transport projects.

Each of these precincts have unique sectoral focusses that contribute and enhance Victoria’s growing knowledge economy. Inspired precinct planning is key to this outcome and to a future Melbourne that is one of the world’s most liveable cities and one of its most forward-looking. Within this network of precincts, Arden is planned to become a innovation precinct specialising in health, life science, digital technology and education to complement Australia’s pre-eminent biomedical cluster in Parkville.

The Metro Tunnel Project also connects Arden to broader Melbourne and the National Employment and Innovation Clusters located along the Metro Tunnel rail line including Sunshine and Monash.

Planning for the precinct has taken into consideration open space, flood management, diverse land ownership, heritage assets and contamination. Although these may be challenges for planning, these constraints also provide great opportunity to reflect the precinct’s identity in the future precinct.

For example, Arden’s innovative approach to water will ensure the area is developed into a sustainable, green and cool precinct.

Further information is available on page 18 and 19 of the draft Arden Structure Plan.


A range of funding and delivery mechanisms will be required to enable the delivery of the infrastructure to support the renewal of Arden.

A development and delivery strategy for Arden will be prepared which will outline the mechanisms and options for project implementation, staging and funding.

The proposals identified in this strategy will be informed by the consultation process and commercial advice.  Some of the funding and delivery options might include:

  • works funded and delivered by Victorian Government departments and agencies
  • capital works projects delivered by or on behalf of the City of Melbourne
  • utility service provider requirements (for example, Melbourne Water’s Drainage Services Scheme)
  • development contributions
  • open space contributions
  • developer works – infrastructure and works which have a direct nexus to development and required to be fully funded by the developer as part of development of the land.

To support the funding and delivery of key infrastructure items, the Minister for Planning has applied an interim Development Contributions Plan Overlay (DCPO3) to Arden via Planning Scheme Amendment C369. This will continue to apply while a permanent development contributions plan is being prepared. The development contributions plan will ensure that the cost of providing new infrastructure to meet the demands of the new population is shared equitably between developers and the wider community.

The permanent development contributions plan is being prepared by the VPA in partnership with the City of Melbourne and will be subject of future consultation with the community and landowners via a planning scheme amendment process.

The timely delivery of key enabling infrastructure, utilities and community services will be critical to supporting the intensification of Arden.

Delivery projects will be identified for transport, integrated water management, social infrastructure, open space and public realm projects. Effective staging and coordination across infrastructure types will be required to enable efficient delivery.

A precinct infrastructure plan will be included in the Arden Structure Plan amendment package, providing a complete list of infrastructure items, including:

  • new station at Arden
  • new streets
  • public realm upgrades to streets for cycling, public transport and pedestrian crossings
  • alterations to North Melbourne Station (to be investigated)
  • centralised car parking
  • open space comprising a mix of green links, small local spaces, local parks, neighbourhood parks and the Capital City Open Space
  • drainage and integrated water management comprising a mix of levees, pipes, pumps, public realm water sensitive urban design features and flood storage measures
  • utilities and sustainability infrastructure including for centralised waste management, water supply, sewer and telecommunications
  • community infrastructure including libraries, business and innovation facilities, community hubs, arts and culture facilities, sport and recreation upgrades, and provision of education facilities.

Interim funding mechanisms

Amendment C369 introduces an interim Development Contributions Plan Overlay – Schedule 3 (DCPO3) into the Melbourne Planning Scheme on an interim basis for two years over the Arden urban renewal precinct.

A DCPO is a planning scheme tool that requires developers to contribute funds towards the cost of new infrastructure required as a result of new development.  The contributions received will assist with the costs of local and state infrastructure required to support urban renewal in the draft Arden Structure Plan, including roads, local drainage and community facilities required to accommodate the needs of the growing population.

The DCPO3 applies to the area generally bound by Macaulay Road and Ink Lane to the north, Macaulay Road and Dryburgh Street to the east, Upfield railway line to the south/south-west and Langford Street to the west. The allotments south of Macaulay Road, between Langford St and Boundary Road, are excluded from the DCPO3 area as they are already included in the Development Contributions Plan Overlay (DCPO2) associated with the Macaulay precinct.

Amendment C369 ensures that developers contribute funds towards the community facilities and infrastructure required as a result of new development in Arden. Sites in Arden which are redeveloped for additional dwellings or commercial or retail floor areas will be required to provide a monetary contribution to help fund new and upgraded infrastructure in Arden, as new residential and commercial development proceeds. Works to single dwellings are excluded from paying a contribution.

The interim DCPO requires permit applicants to enter into a legal agreement with the City of Melbourne to pay the development contributions.

The interim DCPO3 will allow for the collection of development contributions to contribute to the funding of new local and state infrastructure, while a detailed development contributions plan is prepared. The DCPO3 applies on an interim basis until 30 June 2022, or until otherwise replaced by a permanent control.

The interim development contribution rates are $17,053 per dwelling, $193 per square metre of new commercial floor space and $161 per square metre of new retail floor space.  Contribution rates will be indexed annually from 1 July 2021 to the Producer Price Index for Building Construction – Victoria published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), March to March quarters.

Typically, contributions would be paid before the issue of a certificate of building occupancy, a certificate of completion of works or a statement of compliance with a subdivision permit.

The funds will contribute to a range of local and state infrastructure projects, like community facilities, street drainage and upgrades along with community facilities and upgrades to streets and paths.

Specific projects will be detailed in the permanent Development Contributions Plan, that is currently being prepared and will form part of the future Arden amendment package.

Community involvement

The Victorian Planning Authority (VPA), City of Melbourne and Department of Transport (DoT) have consulted with a wide range of stakeholders in the preparation of this draft Plan.

Government agencies and technical experts have been involved throughout the entire process to ensure that the draft Plan adequately addresses the complexities of the site and allows for best practice planning outcomes.

The VPA has sought community, landowners and business owner input into the Arden Vision in September 2016 and engaged on the draft Arden Structure Plan in mid-2020. For a summary of engagement from the Arden Vision and draft Arden Structure Plan, refer to the Draft Arden Structure Plan – Consultation Analysis Summary Report – February 2021 (PDF)..

Depending on your relationship to the precinct, you will be affected in different ways. If you are a current business owner within the Arden precinct, the Department of Transport will be able to provide advice about the next steps for you.

If you are a resident within the Arden precinct or in neighbouring suburbs, this planning will gradually change the area you live in over a long period of time. You will notice changes as the plan is realised through future development. Workers and visitors in the area will also notice differences.

The interruption caused by building and development will only commence once the planning is complete and the planning permit approval process has occurred.

Next steps

Following the conclusion of the consultation period, a summary of feedback and analysis of the data collected has been made publicly available on our website. For more information, refer to the  Draft Arden Structure Plan – Consultation Analysis Summary Report – February 2021 (PDF).

What we heard will be used to inform the next phases of planning for Arden and preparation of a draft planning scheme amendment.

An updated Arden Structure Plan and draft amendment are being prepared and further consultation will take place in mid-2021.

To be kept up to date with the process as it moves through these milestones, please ‘follow’ our webpage,, email, or call (03) 9651 9600.