5 June 2013

At last night’s Future Melbourne Committee, the Greens successfully changed planning scheme amendment C190 Arden Macaulay to insert incentives to build a new government school, make discretionary height limits work harder for the community, and provide for a more sympathetic streetscape along Macaulay Road.

And in a separate motion, Council agreed to the Greens’ proposal to find a new public park in the area!


C190 is the detailed planning scheme amendment (pdf) (one of many Arden Macaulay-related planning scheme amendments) which changes the height, setback and land use provisions for the area. Council received overwhelming community concerns on many issues during the public exhibition of C190: population, community infrastructure, transport stress, open space, heritage and character are just some of the strong themes that came through the public submissions.

Whilst the Structure Plan’s goals are clear and justified – areas are identified for urban renewal in a mostly industrial precinct in the inner city, and this is far preferable to concentrating population growth on the edges of greater Melbourne – the details of the changes have been controversial.

Greens Cr Rohan Leppert successfully moved three amendments to C190 which addressed many of the concerns raised:

  1. The height of development along Macaulay Road at the streetfront has been reduced from 20 metres to 10.5 metres, with development above 10.5 metres not being able to be seen from the other side of the road (10.5 metres is roughly the height of the apartment block in the below image of Macaulay Road – C190 proposed a streetfront height double this). This amendment protects the character of Kensington without materially affecting the density potential of the Arden Macaulay area – after all, Macaulay Road takes one into the heart of Kensington which remains predominately a 1- and 2-storey suburb. (Amendment passed 6 votes to 3)
  2. Incentives for a new government school have been inserted, so that in the area of North Melbourne west of Boundary Road but north of Canning Street, the Council can enter into negotiations with private developers to trade off additional height in return for construction of a new government school of 200 places or more (which must have the support of the Department of Education). This will provide a big incentive to developers to help Council and the State Government plan for a new much-needed school in an area proposed to increase in population by 20,000 residents. (Amendment passed unanimously)
  3. The discretionary height limits now need to work harder for the community, so that any development above the preferred maximum height limit (which most commonly is set at 20 metres) and up to a maximum of 30 per cent must demonstrate new community benefits above and beyond the other provisions of the Melbourne Planning Scheme. (Amendment passed unanimously)

The detailed amendments are here.

The amendment C190, with these Greens changes, have now been sent to an independent panel for further assessment. Council will receive the panel’s report in future and will have one last opportunity to consider the details of the amendment before sending it to the Minister for sign-off. The process isn’t complete yet!

The most overwhelming theme of the public submissions, however, was that of open space. Council hasn’t clearly explained how it plans to acquire specific open space in the Arden Macaulay area even though it identifies the area as being the neediest of any suburb in the City of Melbourne for more public parks.

A separate motion (pdf) moved by Cr Rohan Leppert was again supported unanimously. Among other things, it indicates Council’s intention to make a significant purchase of “first available” land in the Arden Macaulay area so that we can secure a new park for current and future generations. The Structure Plan identifies a few potential sites already:

arden mac parks

The Age covered this story online last night: “New park proposed for inner North.”

Lots of hard work based on overwhelming community submissions paid off last night!