Preston Market Strategic Site

Preston Market Planning Controls and Structure Planning

The VPA is working alongside the City of Darebin to prepare new planning controls for the Preston Market precinct and create a structure plan and we are seeking community input.

The precinct takes in 4.6 hectares of privately-owned land bounded by Murray Road in the north, Cramer Street to the south, the rear of the High Street buildings to the east and the Preston Station car park to the west. The precinct takes in the iconic Preston Market and is next door to Preston train station.

Melbourne’s overarching planning strategy, Plan Melbourne 2017-2050, designates the precinct as a Major Activity Centre, which will accommodate new homes, jobs and infrastructure.

Planning the precinct is vital because, like many areas throughout Melbourne, Preston is facing transformational growth, with the population forecast to double in size to 68,000 people by 2041.

Good planning can ensure that this growth is accommodated in a sustainable way that brings new amenities, community infrastructure and open space.

Wide-ranging community engagement for the project was undertaken throughout 2018, with a number of activities sparking meaningful discussions about priorities for the precinct’s future.

As a result of this engagement, five guiding principles for the future of the precinct were created in consultation with a Community Reference Group:

  • A thriving fresh food market
  • A diversity of land uses and vibrant amenity
  • Culturally diverse character and adaptable community spaces
  • Sustainable, liveable and accessible precinct
  • Flexible and efficient car parking and access.

The next round of engagement for this precinct is now open, presenting an opportunity for you to help shape the preparation of draft structure plan for the precinct. Click the ‘get involved’ tab to learn more or start the survey below.

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The Preston Market site

The map below outlines the boundary of the Preston Market precinct, including the existing market building, the buildings approved by VCAT in 2017 and other key features.

To download a copy, simply click anywhere on the image.

The VPA and City of Darebin value community input into this project. This round of engagement will be an opportunity for members of the community to understand what land-use scenarios are being considered and help the VPA and City of Darebin progress the preparation of draft structure plan for the precinct.

You can tell us about your priorities for the site’s future by completing this survey, open until 13 June 2019.

You can also ask questions of the project team and learn more about how we are planning for the precinct by attending a pop-up stall or attending a community drop-in session. Details below:

Pop-up stall 1: 24 May, Preston Market, 11am – 2pm

Pop-up stall 2: 1 June, Preston Market, 10am – 1pm

Community drop-in session: 3 June, Preston City Hall, 4.30pm – 7.30pm

Preston Market Pop-Up Stall #2

The VPA and City of Darebin value community input into this project. This round of engagement will be an opportunity for members of the community to understand what land-use scenarios are being considered and help the VPA and City of Darebin progress the preparation of draft structure plan for the precinct.

You can ask questions of the project team and learn more about how we are planning for the precinct by attending Pop-up stall 2.

Details below:

Pop-up stall 2: 1 June, Preston Market, 10am – 1pm

Preston Market Community Drop-In Session

The VPA and City of Darebin value community input into this project. This round of engagement will be an opportunity for members of the community to understand what land-use scenarios are being considered and help the VPA and City of Darebin progress the preparation of draft structure plan for the precinct.

You can ask questions of the project team and learn more about how we are planning for the precinct by attending a community drop-in session. Details below:

 

Community drop-in session: 3 June, Preston City Hall, 4.30pm – 7.30pm

Background Information

The Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) is an independent statutory authority that reports to the Victorian Minister for Planning and acts as the state’s strategic planner.

The VPA is responsible for delivering a number of planning projects, including the review of planning controls for the Preston market site.

The Victorian Planning Authority is leading the review of the planning controls for the Preston Market while partnering with the City of Darebin.

The Preston Market site is currently located within the Priority Development Zone, Schedule 1.

The Preston Market Incorporated Plan, May 2007 provides the basis for all planning decisions.

Key elements of the existing Preston Market Incorporated Plan include:

  • A 10 storey preferred height limit over most of the site, four storeys at street frontage and single storey preferred at the intersection of Mary Street and Centreway;
  • Enhancement of the traditional retailing style, openness, informality and ambience that is associated with the existing fresh food market;
  • Mixed commercial land uses at ground level with high density residential development above, including provision for affordable housing;
  • Two focal points within the market;
  • A multi modal transport interchange; Open space at the train station;
  • Support of active transport, particularly safe and well located pedestrian thoroughfares and connections;
  • Office, leisure and entertainment uses at the upper levels of development only, except in Murray Street, Cramer Street and Station Avenue.

Land within the Preston Market site is predominately owned and operated by Preston Markets Development Pty Ltd, which is a privately owned company. There are additional owners for land on the site of the market who will also be engaged in the process.

On 31 July 2017, the Minister for Planning, the Hon. Richard Wynne MP, requested that the VPA partner with Darebin Council to review the current planning controls that apply across the Preston Market site.

As part of this review, the VPA and Darebin City Council undertook extensive community engagement activities to understand the community’s views about the site and create a set of guiding principles to underpin the creation of new planning controls.

The VPA compared the current controls to key Victorian Government and Darebin City Council planning strategies for the site to ensure the market remained successful for future generations and the site achieved its potential as a vibrant activity centre.

There is currently planning approval for two 10-storey buildings and one 14-storey building to be constructed along the Murray Road edge of the precinct. Temporary planning controls currently restrict other development on the site.

Project Information

The subject site is approximately 4.6 hectares, bounded by Murray Road in the north, Cramer Street to the south, the rear of the High Street buildings to the east and the Preston Station car park to the west.

The review found that the existing planning controls do not adequately realise the vision for the site of retaining the character of the existing market, provision of affordable housing or the variety of land uses consistent with an activity centre.

New planning controls will need to emphasise the importance of the market, minimise overshadowing of community spaces, promote safe pedestrian areas, environmentally sensitive design outcomes, new cycling and walking paths, integration with High Street and Preston train station, continuous operation of the market during redevelopment of the site and support a range of different land uses, heights and densities.

You can read the full review here:Preston Market Planning Controls Review (VPA, October 2018)

The five guiding principles developed with the community and Darebin City Council, which will inform the new planning controls for the site are:

  • A thriving fresh food market
  • A diversity of land uses and vibrant amenity
  • Culturally diverse character and adaptable community spaces
  • Sustainable, liveable and accessible precinct
  • Flexible and efficient car parking and access.

Melbourne’s major planning strategy, Plan Melbourne 2017-2050, designates Preston as a Major Activity Centre, which means that it has to continue to grow and evolve to accommodate increasing demands for housing and jobs in this area. Preston, like other inner suburbs across Melbourne, is growing at a very fast rate and planning controls help to ensure new homes, shops and businesses are accommodated in a liveable and sustainable way.

The Preston Market is a strategic development site due to its close proximity to public transport, the High Street shops, services, employment opportunities and Preston Oval. The structure plan will provide increased certainty around the development of this important area.

The plan will also provide increased certainty about the ongoing operation of the market, the quality of development, environmental outcomes, a range of housing types, including housing for people on low and moderate incomes, community facilities and accessible open space.

A Structure Plan will also support better planning of infrastructure, such as transport and community assets, to support the increasing population in the local area.

The Structure Plan will address a number of issues related to the market, including setting objectives around its ongoing operation, requirements for any market buildings and communal spaces. The plan cannot control how the market is run because it is privately owned and operated.

In addition to having a fresh food market, the precinct will also allow for commercial and retail buildings, housing, including affordable housing, entertainment, open space and community uses. Improved pedestrian and cyclist access to the site and better connections to local roads and the High Street shops will also be determined under the Structure Plan.

The development of the precinct will deliver a number of benefits to the local community. This includes a better range of housing choices, new jobs, offices and shops, and new community facilities and spaces. Some community benefits, such as community facilities, may be funded through the development of the precinct but delivered in other parts of the local area. We will be engaging with the community about what benefits are of most importance to them so that we get them right.

The Structure Plan will detail how pedestrians, bikes, cars, and trucks access and get around different sections of the precinct and how the precinct will be connected to other parts of the local area. Separating people from cars and trucks will help to improve access and safety for commuters and pedestrians to the High Street shops.

We will be working closely with the Level Crossing Removal Project to ensure that these projects are well integrated.

The Structure Plan will guide the development that can take place within the precinct for many years to come. At this stage, we do not expect the plan to come into effect before the end of 2020. Any development applications that are lodged after that time will need to go through an assessment process, which may also take some time. The preparing of development plans and the timing of their lodgement will be determined by the landowner.

How can I get involved?

There are a number of ways to find out more, get involved and share your thoughts about the precinct:

  • You can tell us about your priorities for the site’s future by completing this survey. The survey is available from Monday 20 May until Thursday 13 June 2019
  • Drop-by our market pop-up displays and speak to the project team:
    • 11am to 2pm on Friday 24 May, 2019 and
    • 10am to 1pm on Saturday 1 June 2019
  • Attend the community drop-in session: 4.30pm to 7.30pm Monday 3 June 2019 at the Preston Shire Hall 284 Gower Street, Preston
  • Call Darebin City Council’s Multilingual Telephone Line on 8470 8470 to be connected with an interpreter to have a discussion in your language

There will be an opportunity to provide further feedback about the draft Structure Plan towards the end of 2019.

How will the community and local businesses be affected?

The Structure Plan will identify the parts of the precinct that will allow for commercial developments, such as office spaces. The precinct will be designed to provide opportunities for a range of businesses to operate, including small businesses.

Community Engagement

The overall findings from the engagement activities are summarised below:

  • The community highly values Preston Market for their weekly shopping, and would like this function to continue.
  • The community would like to retain the current essence of the market, particularly the fresh food products, diversity of stalls and small traders.
  • There is potential to incorporate more open spaces and meeting spaces on the site, as well as more market events.
  • The community would like the market to retain its open and airy feel.
  • The community would like fresh food to remain at the core of the site, with opportunities for more activities such as the arts and live music performances.

The participants value the market as an inclusive and welcoming place where they can connect to their community.

You can read the community engagement reports below:

Phase 1 community engagement findings (Capire, Apil 2018)
Phase 2 community engagement findings (Capire, September 2018)
Community Reference Group Report (Capire, September 2018)

Throughout 2018, the VPA and City of Darebin run an extensive community engagement process for the planning for Preston Market.

The first phase ran from Monday 12 February and concluded on Friday 20 April. Following this, more community engagement run from Monday 9 July and concluded on Friday 3 August.

A community reference group was also established and met numerous times within these dates. You can read more about the CRG here.

Overall, the community engagement included:

  • Four meetings with a Community Reference Group
  • Five trader meetings
  • Translated interviews with  the traders
  • An online survey
  • Two public drop-in sessions
  • Numerous stakeholder/trader meetings
  • Regular pop-up market stalls.

You can read the outcomes of each community engagement phase below:

Phase 1 community engagement findings (Capire, Apil 2018)
Phase 2 community engagement findings (Capire, September 2018)
Community Reference Group Report (Capire, September 2018)

The Community Reference Group was comprised of 27 members of the Preston community with an interest in the future of Preston Market. The group attended four meetings, where they learned about planning for the site, discussed their aspirations for the site’s future and heard from technical experts.

You can read the Community Reference Group report below:

Community Reference Group Report (Capire, September 2018)

Housing

Housing is definitely one of the land uses being explored for the site. The intention is to encourage a variety of housing types for a range of households, including some affordable housing.

Recently, the Minister for Planning provided guidance to give direction to relevant stakeholders in navigating their way towards a successful affordable housing agreement. The VPA will explore opportunities for entering into a voluntary agreement with the relevant stakeholders and provide mechanisms to support increased levels of affordable housing.

Yes, the Structure Plan will encourage a broad range of housing in the precinct, including a requirement that some is affordable to those on low and moderate incomes. The type and quantity of affordable housing is still being determined.

Further questions asked by the community

The current temporary planning controls for the market consists of zoning controls and the ‘Preston Market Incorporated Plan’. The plan encourages retention of the existing fresh food market, new high density housing, a plaza area outside the Preston station, a further two plaza areas in Mary Street and other retail areas.

The current preferred building heights, which are under review, are 10 storeys for most of the site, 8 storeys for a limited area of the site and single storey for a small portion.

The zone allows for planning applications that are consistent with the incorporated plan to be exempt from public notifications and permit decisions cannot be appealed by objectors.

The planning intent is to support the ongoing operation of a ‘fresh food’ market by setting planning policies that will enable landowner(s) to maintain and enhance the viability, vibrancy and distinctiveness of the market.

 

Planning can control the land use and built form of an area where controls apply, and planning can influence infrastructure coordination. However, the application of planning controls will only be applied to planning applications for new uses and development.

All new land uses and development requiring a planning permit must meet the requirements of the planning scheme and the conditions of any future planning permit that may be granted. When considering planning applications the Responsible Authority should also consider seriously entertained planning scheme amendments.

Planning controls can address issues such as built form, traffic management and waste.  However planning controls have limited scope to regulate operational matters or continuation of use.

For clarity, it is noted that planning does not:

  • Deliver buildings and works – Planning approves future buildings and works and then it is up to the permit holder to carry out the works. Planning provides parameters for what can occur on the site but cannot demand that this occur.
  • Address commercial matters such as management of a market, leasing agreements, pricing.

The engagement the VPA is undertaking in partnership with Council has highlighted that the market has multiple values for the community including, but broader than, built form, land use and infrastructure and extending to matters such as tenancy mix, hours of operation, public access over private land, parking management and other matters.

In this context, it is clear that planning controls will need to be supplemented by other measures if we are to achieve the best result for the community.

The VPA is seeking to work with Council and all stakeholders to move forward on a broad-based platform to protect the market and its community values.

The social and cultural significance of the market is recognised by all stakeholders. However, a heritage overlay cannot ensure a current land use continues into the future and will therefore not ensure that the market continues to operate on the site.

Heritage overlays are part of local council planning schemes and include places of local significance as well as places of state significance included in the Victorian Heritage Register.

The heritage process leading to the identification of a heritage place needs to clearly justify the significance of the place as a basis for its inclusion in the heritage overlay.

Heritage overlays require a planning permit to, demolish an existing building; and/or, to construct a building and construct or carry out buildings and works including alterations. Before a permit can be granted, Councils must consider whether the demolition of the building; or alterations to the existing building; or replacement building, will lessen the significance of the heritage place.

Most of the market site is owned by one owner. However there are also other smaller land owners.

All landowners have been contacted as part of our engagement process. Positive contributions to the engagement process have been made by all landowners, with a commitment to continue their involvement.

Discussions with the landowners are seeking to maximise the opportunities for public benefit and desired community outcomes to be gained through any development that occurs on the site.

Timelines were extended to allow more comprehensive engagement with the community, in consultation with Darebin Council.

Specifically, the timelines were extended to increase the amount of open dialogue that is to be undertaken with both organised community groups and individual community members not ordinarily engaged in the planning process.

The CRG will participate in a series of exploratory workshops to prepare a ‘vision’ and understand the constraints and opportunities for the site.

The CRG will engage in discussions to explore future outcomes for the site and provide suggestions about the future planning and design of the Preston Market site. The VPA will consider these outcomes alongside the broader community engagement and technical inputs in preparing their recommendation for future planning controls.

The CRG will produce a final report, which will summarise their feedback to inform recommendations about the planning controls for the site. This report will be provided to the Minister unedited alongside VPA’s recommendations.

The CRG will deliver a ‘Vision’ for the market together with principles and priorities to inform the review of planning controls for the site.

Once the CRG has developed its principles and priorities these will form the basis of engagement with the broader community.

The CRG is made up of community members with a diverse range of interests in the Preston Market and surrounding neighbourhood. Specifically, the CRG is made up of 27 members who represent a range of different connections to the Preston Market site. The CRG has two types of members:

  • Community members – people who represent local residents and businesses (including market traders)
  • Group representatives – people who are recognized representatives of local  community groups and networks

The CRG will participate in  a  series  of  exploratory  workshops  to  understand  the  constraints  and opportunities for the site. This will be done through expert presentations on urban design, planning policy, transport, open space, community facilities and markets, and focused discussions with technical experts.

Technical studies are underway to identify the current infrastructure capacity and future needs of the precinct, which will be reflected in the structure plan. Infrastructure will be delivered when the precinct is developed.

Yes, the land within the Preston Market Precinct, and the market itself, are privately owned.

Darebin is experiencing significant population growth and it is vital we plan for new jobs, homes and infrastructure in the area to allow people to work locally and live sustainably. The precinct’s close proximity to public transport, size and location make it well suited to accommodate this growth.

No, planning controls are unable to force the owners of the land to operate a market or specify how the market is operated. The future controls will set objectives around the redevelopment and operation of the market into the future.

Darebin City Council is responsible for assessing development applications within the municipality, including applications for developments within the precinct. Once development plans are received, Council has the task of assessing whether they meet the objectives and requirements that are set out in the Planning Controls, including the structure plan.

Heritage Victoria recommendation

This recommendation was made by the Executive Director, Heritage Victoria and all questions regarding its contents should be directed to the Heritage Council of Victoria.

The Heritage Council of Victoria, an independent statutory body, decides which places and objects are added to the Heritage Register of Victoria and all enquiries about the register should be directed to the council.

Heritage Victoria assessed a nomination for the Preston Market to be added to the Victorian Heritage Register, considering the area formerly occupied by Broadhurst Tannery, which was demolished in 1964.

The VPA and City of Darebin will consider the contents of the Executive Director’s recommendation when planning for the wider Preston Market site. However, we will await the decision of the Heritage Council of Victoria before making any final planning decisions.

You can contact the Heritage Council of Victoria. The VPA and City of Darebin are not able to answer questions on the recommendation or report as we did not write it.

This depends on whether or not there are submissions to Heritage Victoria’s recommendations. The Heritage Council published the notice of Executive Director’s recommendation on 26 November 2018. Anyone can submit their views about the recommendation within 60 days of the publication.

After the 60-day submission period, the Heritage Council will decide whether or not it will conduct a hearing. If no hearing is held, the Heritage Council has 40 days in which to make a determination whether or not to include the place in the Victorian Heritage Register. If the Heritage Council conducts a hearing, it must make a determination whether or not to include the place or object in the register within 90 days of the last day of the hearing.

Next Steps

The VPA and City of Darebin will now prepare new planning controls for the site, while continuing engagement with multiple stakeholders and community members. The new planning controls will undergo a planning scheme amendment process, to be incorporated into the Darebin Planning Scheme.

Preston Market heritage report

The Executive Director of Heritage Victoria has today released a recommendation about whether the Preston […]

Supporting Documentation

Preston Market Planning Review (VPA) - October 2018
PDF  Version
Remit of the Community Reference Group
PDF  Version
CRG meeting 1 summary notes
PDF  Version
Architectus urban design presentation to CRG 2
PDF  Version
Capire presentation to CRG meeting 1
PDF  Version
Cardno presentation to CRG meeting 2
PDF  Version
City of Darebin presentation to CRG 2
PDF  Version
CRG meeting 2 summary notes
PDF  Version
CRG meeting 3 summary notes
PDF  Version
CRG meeting 4 summary notes
PDF  Version
Community Reference Group Report (Capire) - September 2018
PDF  Version
Preston Market Review Phase One Engagement Findings
PDF  Version
Phase 2 Engagement Findings report (Capire) - September 2018
PDF  Version
Community Reference Group Report (Capire) - September 2018
PDF  Version