Ballarat North PSP

Ballarat North Precinct Structure Plan

The Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) is preparing the Ballarat North Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) and Development Contributions Plan (DCP) in collaboration with Ballarat City Council.  

Council identified Ballarat North as the preferred location for long term growth in Ballarat through their work, the Ballarat Long Term Growth Options Investigation, 2018. The area holds significant residential potential for Ballarat.  

Mount Rowan

Mount Rowan surrounded by farmland

The Ballarat North PSP is located approximately eight kilometres from the Ballarat Central Business District. The PSP currently encompasses approximately 832 hectares of land. The land is split to a ‘core’ area and an ‘expanded’ area. The ‘core’ area represents the area that was investigated through the Ballarat Long Term Growth Options Investigation paper, whilst the ‘expanded’ area represents additional land proposed to be included following Council’s public consultation of the investigation paper.  

The VPA will determine the exact boundary of the ‘expanded’ area based on recommendations of technical reports such as land capability, biodiversity, cultural heritage, servicing, integrated water management and others.

A map displaying the Ballarat North core and expanded areas

Background information

The Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) a Victorian Government statutory authority that plans for urban growth across Victoria. We report to the Minister for Planning. 

The VPA’s main task is to make sure Melbourne and Victoria’s regions remain great places to live and work. This requires vision and long-term planning to ensure our growing population has equitable access to employment, public transport, attractive public spaces and affordable housing. 

We do this by working closely with councils, government agencies and the planning and development community on integrated land use and infrastructure coordination for new communities and strategically important precincts. 

A Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) is a land use and infrastructure plan to guide the development of an area over time. It provides certainty for community members and developers by providing a long-term vision for how an area will develop in the future. 

A PSP sets out the preferred locations of residential and employment land and infrastructure, and provides guidance for transport and parking, urban design, heritage and character, open spaces and integrated water management. 

Together with the broader planning framework, precinct structure planning is an important part of the Victorian Government’s strategy to address population growth, housing and employment demands. 

A Development Contributions Plan (DCP) identifies the costs of some essential infrastructure required to support a PSP such as the costs of signalised intersections, drainage corridors, retarding basins, and others. It will also set out a levy required for new development on a ‘per hectare of net developable area’ basis.   

The DCP is required since broad scale new development often contribute to or cause the need for new or upgraded infrastructure. It ensures that existing infrastructure is not over-burdened by new development. 

The DCP will be prepared concurrently with the PSP. All infrastructure items included must be strategically justified through a suite of background studies undertaken on the project. The DCP becomes a public document to be publicly exhibited along with the PSP. 

Third party funding is the method adopted by the VPA to fund the preparation of a Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) and Development Contributions Plan (DCP). Funding will facilitate the preparation or updates to technical work, stakeholder consultation, and associated work to prepare a planning scheme amendment to incorporate the PSP and DCP into the Planning Scheme.   

Third Party Funding Agreements are a contract between the VPA and a ‘third party’ (typically the landowner) to formalise funding arrangements. Typically, costs to fund a PSP is undertaken on a per hectare basis (i.e. the larger your landholding the more it will cost). The Agreements provide for staged payments over the course of the PSP process.   

Third party funding is voluntary. 

Normally, third party funding costs are estimated by undertaking the following steps:   

  • Project is scoped to determine complexity and range of issues that will need to be addressed by the PSP (including required technical studies).  
  • The VPA calculates the total estimated cost of the project, with estimates based on previous (most recent) actuals with allowances for variances based on inflation and the relative complexity of the project.    
  • The estimated total cost of project is divided by the area of the precinct to deliver a per hectare funding rate.   
  • The VPA then seeks Expressions of Interest from all landowners within the precinct to enter into Third Party Funding Agreements with requested amounts based on the calculated per landowner funding amount.   
  • Following receipt of Expressions of Interest from landowners the VPA will recalculate each landowner’s draft obligation and provide this back to participating landowners to confirm their continued interest.  

Project information

The Ballarat Town Commons is included at the southwest of the PSP within the ‘core area’ of the precinct. The Commons are recognised as an important community and environmental asset and are not proposed to be redeveloped as part of the structure plan. Depending on the availability of funding through the Development Contributions Plan, the Town Commons may be improved to better recreational amenity and recognise the community and cultural values of the area. The project will not seek to facilitate residential development within the Commons.  

The Ballarat North precinct is split into two keys portions: the ‘core area’ and ‘expanded area’.  

The ‘core area’ was identified through the Ballarat Long Term Growth Options Investigation paper in 2018. Through this paper, the core area has been assessed as being largely available for development subject to a PSP. 

The ‘expanded area’ of the precinct was identified later, through Council’s public consultation on the investigation paper. The required technical analysis has not yet been undertaken for this portion of the site. As such, the definitive precinct boundary of the expanded area has not been confirmed. The final precinct boundary will be determined based on the opportunities and constraints found through technical assessments, to be commissioned by the VPA as part of the PSP process.

The map displays the core and expanded areas of Ballarat North

The purpose of this project is to unlock developable land in Ballarat’s northern growth area to respond to a projected shortage of greenfield residential land within the City of Ballarat.  

Ballarat is experiencing strong population growth, increasing demand on housing and land supply. Strategic planning in Victoria seeks to ensure 15 years of land supply is provided, which includes a combination of greenfield supply and urban renewal or infill sites. The City of Ballarat currently has planned for 7-9 years for greenfield land supply and there is a need to plan for additional land to help meet this target. The Ballarat North PSP project will help ease land shortages into the future.

The City of Ballarat requested the Minister for Planning formally appoint the Victorian Planning Authority to lead the Ballarat North PSP project. The Minister supported the request and appointed the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) as the Planning Authority on 31 August 2022. The VPA will continue to work closely with the City of Ballarat and other agencies throughout the PSP process.  

The ‘core area’ of the precinct is to be rezoned to Urban Growth Zone (UGZ), as directed by the Minister for Planning ahead of the PSP being prepared.  

The purpose of the UGZ is to manage the transition of non-urban land into urban land and provides for a range of future land uses. There has been significant strategic assessment of the ‘core area’ and technical assessments have confirmed the area can be planned through a PSP.  

The ‘expanded area’ is yet to undergo the same level of strategic assessment which will determine the final expanded area boundary. Given this technical work is not complete for the expanded area, it would be premature to rezone this portion of the PSP area to UGZ.  

The Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP) (now the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP)) were instructed by the Minister for Planning to rezone the Core area to Urban Growth Zone (UGZ) ahead of the precinct structure plan (PSP) being prepared. The UGZ will be introduced via 20(4) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 and will give affect to the PSP once the PSP is approved and gazetted.

This rezoning is underway and is led by DTP whilst the PSP is being led by the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA).

The Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) is collaborating with Ballarat City Council to prepare strategic planning outputs. A steering committee governance structure has been established including the City of Ballarat and other key government agencies to ensure collaborative decision making throughout the development of the PSP.

Once a project is completed, the Responsible Authority for implementing it over many years (e.g. approving subdivision applications) will usually be the local council. To assist in facilitating this, the VPA ensures regular engagement with council throughout the whole life of the project. 

As part of the PSP process, thorough technical assessments and spatial analysis of the precinct must be undertaken. Access to your land will be required to undertake these important background technical studies to inform the PSP. The VPA request access to land is within the precinct, regardless of if landowners are interested in contributing third party funding to the project.   

Access remains entirely at the landowner’s discretion, however, failure to grant access may lead to future costs for the landowner at the time of development, or uncertainty associated with satisfying statutory requirements when developing. If you wish to provide consent for the VPA or its representative to access your land, please complete the Consent to Access Land for Land Assessments form (Word) and return it to a project contact. The form can be emailed by sending a photo of the completed form to the project team.

Land used for equine training is adjacent to the precinct, north of Sharpes Road. The land to the south of Sharpes Road is proposed for inclusion within the precinct, as part of the ‘expanded area’, however this boundary is yet to be confirmed. Technical studies relating to the ‘expanded area’ will determine the development opportunities and constraints of the land and will inform the final precinct boundary. The PSP will also confirm the land use and development outcome proposed for this area.

The Miners Rest Recreation Reserve has been included at the northwest of the precinct in the ‘expanded area’. Based on the results of these assessments which will help confirm the precinct boundary in the ‘expanded area’, the Reserve may be omitted from the precinct boundary or kept within it.  

If the Reserve is included in the precinct, the land will be retained as public open space and there will be the potential for Development Contribution funds payable as part of the development process to be used for the Reserve’s improvement.

The Ballarat North Water Reclamation Plant is located directly south of the precinct, adjacent to the Western Freeway. The Plant is not included within the precinct. There is an existing amenity buffer surrounding the plant, which is implemented through the Environmental Significance Overlay – Schedule 4 in the Ballarat Planning Scheme. This project does not propose any changes to the existing buffer and new sensitive land uses will likely continue to be avoided within this buffer area.

The expanded area of the precinct boundary will be determined based on the strategic and technical assessments of the land. Once the expanded PSP boundary has been determined, the VPA will notify landowners.

Landowners within the precinct are also encouraged to register your interest on the project website to receive regular updates on the progress of the project, including the information on the final precinct boundary once determined. Landowners may also contact members of the project team if they would like further information.   

Throughout the entire PSP process the VPA are actively engaging with the Registered Aboriginal Party for the area; the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (WTOAC). 

The PSP process will include both a Cultural Values Assessment of the precinct and an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment. The former will identify the intangible cultural heritage values associated with the site and provide recommendations to inform the recognition of these values through the structure plan and subsequent development. The latter will identify the tangible cultural heritage and propose measures for protection and conservation.

The project is to be undertaken through the PSP 2.0 process. This process offers several opportunities for landowners and community stakeholders to contribute to the development of the framework plan. The VPA project team will facilitate a series of workshops throughout the process, which provide opportunities for the community to pitch ideas for precinct outcomes, contribute the project visioning and design ideas. The best way to stay updated with the PSP process and get involved in upcoming workshops is to sign-up to our newsletter via the Subscribe Now option on the right of screen.

The Burrumbeet Creek is identified as a key environmental feature of the area. An Integrated Water Management and Drainage technical assessment will be undertaken as part of the preliminary technical studies. These consultantled assessments will model potential flood impacts and inform design outcomes which provide community resilience to flooding.

A range of detailed technical assessments will be undertaken as part of the PSP process. Many of these assessments will have a strong environmental focus, identifying existing site features and recommending management or conservation approaches through development delivery. These studies include biodiversity, arboriculture, bushfire, land capability, geoscience and landscape assessments. The outcomes of these reports will inform the project outputs and ensure a high quality of ecological outcomes.

Infrastructure will be delivered as development progresses in the precinct once the PSP is finalised.  

Important infrastructure needed to support the PSP will be identified through a Development Contributions Plan (DCP) prepared concurrently with the PSP.  

Once the PSP is finalised and planning applications are made to Council to subdivide and develop land, the landowner or developer would pay contributions based on the levy set out in the DCP or have the option undertake or works-in-kind towards the provision of infrastructure in-lieu of cash contribution.

How can I get involved?

The best way to stay involved in the plan development process is to register your interest in the project on the project website.  If you would like to learn more, feel free to contact members of the project team and sign-up to our newsletter – the Subscribe Now feature on the right of screen.