Precinct Structure Planning Guidelines

Guidelines for Precinct Structure Planning in Melbourne’s Greenfields 2020

The Guidelines for Precinct Structure Planning in Melbourne’s Greenfields (PDF) (the Guidelines) provide the framework for preparing Precinct Structure Plans (PSPs) that guarantee quality outcomes while also being flexible, responsive and supportive of innovation.

The practice of planning for new communities has matured since the Guidelines were first introduced in 2009. Planning authorities now need to plan communities that respond to new and emerging global and urban challenges to deliver the level of liveability for which Melbourne is renowned.

In response to Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 Action 20, the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) has led the development of the updated Guidelines with the Department of Environment Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to incorporate learnings and current policy and ensure best practice standards are being met.

Throughout the review of the Guidelines, the VPA has sought feedback from stakeholders within government and industry to determine key policy updates and areas of improvement for PSP outcomes. The VPA held an 8 week consultation process on a draft version of the Guidelines which concluded on 11 November 2020. Feedback from this phase of consultation is being reviewed and will be incorporated into the the final iteration of the Guidelines and associated guidance notes.

The PSP Reform agenda

The VPA works closely with councils and local communities, government agencies, landowners and developers to prepare Precinct Structure Plans (PSPs) for new communities on Melbourne’s fringe.

Melbourne’s growth corridors were created in 2005 and the area within the Urban Growth Boundary was rezoned as the Urban Growth Zone (UGZ) to facilitate the transition to urban land. The PSP process was introduced in 2006 to better coordinate the various organisations and decisions involved in strategic planning for land zoned UGZ.

The VPA is working with stakeholders on a PSP reform agenda to introduce the next generation of PSPs that will shape the future of Victoria.

The reform agenda has two parts:

  • Guidelines for Precinct Structure Planning for greenfield areas review. The guidelines are being updated to apply lessons learnt, incorporate Victorian government and international best practice policy updates (including the ‘20-Minute Neighbourhoods’ principle and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals), and to create pathways for innovation in PSPs.
  • PSP 2.o reforms of the process for preparing PSPs and to the PSP product. For further information, refer to PSP 2.o.

Purpose

The main purpose of the reformed guidelines is to provide a clear purpose, pathway and practical toolbox for preparing a successful PSP.

The Guidelines now:

  • Reflect current and updated state government planning policy
  • Have elevated performance targets
  • Set out two planning pathways to ensure robust and flexible processes
  • Provide opportunity to innovate above the new standard pathway.

Key ideas

Explore the key ideas in the Guidelines by selecting a topic from the list below:

Precinct Structure Planning Guidelines

The practice of planning for new communities is maturing. Planning authorities need to plan communities that respond to new and emerging global and urban challenges to deliver the level of liveability for which Melbourne is renowned.

Action 20 of Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 is to “Update the Precinct Structure Planning Guidelines to incorporate learnings from previous Precincts Structure Plans (PSPs) in growth areas…”. These Guidelines are a direct response to this action.

The updated guidelines provide a clear purpose, pathway and practical toolbox for preparing a successful PSP.

The new Guidelines aim to guarantee quality outcomes while also being more flexible, responsive and supportive of innovation. They include new pathways for developing a PSP to better support collaboration and innovation in precinct structure planning.

The Guidelines are now based on Plan Melbourne’s 20-Minute Neighbourhood principle. They include updated principles and performance targets to ensure new communities in Victoria incorporate contemporary Victorian Government policy and best practice.

The new Guidelines cover:

  • The context for preparing a PSP, including where PSPs sit within the planning hierarchy, how they provide for 20-Minute Neighbourhoods and how they respond to state planning policy and international best practice.
  • The pathways and processes for developing a PSP, including how to use the new PSP 2.o approach.
  • Specific guidelines for how to structure a PSP, including what the PSP should cover and elevated targets a PSP should meet.
  • A Practitioners Toolbox with guidance on the more detailed aspects of planning for Melbourne’s greenfield areas (this will be developed and updated over time).

The Guidelines use principles and performance targets to guide preparation of best practice PSPs that “lift the bar” in planning outcomes in the Greenfields. The Guidelines are complemented by other planning and building mechanisms and implemented with support of State planning policy and statutory measures. They are used to assess PSP performance throughout planning processes including by Planning Panels Victoria.

The focus for the Guidelines is on what PSPs can control. PSPs are not expected to anticipate or resolve every eventuality, but to ensure a robust policy framework that can be used to resolve issues once more detailed investigation is undertaken through the permit stage.

The Guidelines complement the new PSP 2.o process for developing PSPs as outlined in Part 2.

The PSP 2.o process sets aspirational targets for PSP development including co-design, streamlining preparation and optimising the PSP product to embrace innovation and deliver government policy.

The new Guidelines build off this approach and include detailed PSP 2.o Practitioner Guidelines within the Practitioners Toolbox.

The Practitioners Toolbox (Part 4 of the Guidelines) provides guidance on the more detailed aspects of planning for Melbourne’s greenfield areas. To enable flexibility and the ability to respond to evolving State government policy, the toolbox will be updated and added to over time.

At the time of launching these Guidelines, some existing practice notes and guidance will be available to support practitioners. As new needs are identified, practitioner tools will be updated and added accordingly. A consultative process for developing new tools will be undertaken.

The COVID-19 pandemic will have far-reaching effects for where and how Victorians live and work. As we work through the future impacts and opportunities, it will be important to get the fundamentals right and keep planning options open to address this change. The 20-Minute Neighbourhood – living locally in accessible walkable medium-density mixed use communities – is a robust framework that is adaptive and enabling in the face of change. Industry and Councils can more readily respond to change through the flexible pathways outlined in the Guidelines, allowing for innovation into the PSP process.

As part of the consultation process, the VPA is seeking your feedback on post COVID planning considerations. See the Get Involved tab for more information.

It is intended that the revised Guidelines will be easily applied by all greenfields planning practitioners. However, the VPA acknowledges that some of the performance targets outlined in the Guidelines will need to be adapted for greenfields planning in peri-urban towns and regional Victoria.

As part of the consultation process, the VPA is asking peri-urban and regional stakeholders how the principles and performance targets identified in the Guidelines can be adapted for regional settings. See the Get Involved tab for more information.

Further work will be required to develop ‘Volume 2’ of the Guidelines to address planning for urban renewal, including renewal in established regional Victorian centres.

The Guidelines currently on public consultation form the first volume of the Guidelines, intended to cover greenfield areas in outer Melbourne and regional Victoria. Further work will be required to develop Volume two to address urban renewal, following the finalisation of Volume one.

The VPA is seeking feedback on the Guidelines until 11 November 2020.

Individuals can provide feedback via one of our industry surveys. Organisations can participate in a stakeholder interview, virtual workshops or provide a written submission.

For more information, refer to the Get Involved tab.

Please note, in acknowledgement of the varying local needs of greenfields planning across the State, the avenues for providing feedback on the Guidelines are customised by planning area. Please ensure you select the appropriate option for providing feedback.

Supporting Documentation

How to read the PSP Guidelines - September 2020
How to read the PSP Guidelines - September 2020 PDF  Version
Guidelines for Precinct Structure Planning in Melbourne's Greenfields - Draft for Public Engagement - September 2020
Guidelines for Precinct Structure Planning in Melbourne's Greenfields - Draft for Public Engagement - September 2020 PDF  Version
PSP Guidelines 2020 - Guidelines for PSP in Melbourne's Greenfield - Stakeholder Consultation Report - June 2021
PSP Guidelines 2020 - Guidelines for PSP in Melbourne's Greenfield - Stakeholder Consultation Report - June 2021 PDF  Version
Regional and peri-urban stakeholder workshop - Summary report (March 2021)
Regional and peri-urban stakeholder workshop - Summary report (March 2021) PDF  Version
Summary Brochure - Guidelines for Precinct Structure Planning in Melbourne's Greenfields - September 2020
Summary Brochure - Guidelines for Precinct Structure Planning in Melbourne's Greenfields - September 2020 PDF  Version