On 4 September 2015, the Minister for Planning gazetted Amendment C262 (Amendment) which results in a number of key changes to the Melbourne Planning Scheme (Planning Scheme) that affect development in Melbourne’s CBD area.

What land is affected?

The Amendment affects the land generally within the Hoddle Grid, Southbank and the Shrine of Remembrance (Central City).

According to the Minister, the dramatic increase in the quantity and scale of development within the Central City has created infrastructure capacity and amenity issues which have the potential to damage investment attraction to Central City and irreversibly damage the liveability of Melbourne.

What are the changes?

The Amendment introduces mandatory built form controls to the Central City by making the following changes to the Planning Scheme:

  • for certain areas where a Design and Development Overlay  previously imposed discretionary height controls (i.e. areas covered byDDO2, 7, 40, 60, and 62), these are now mandatory height controls;
  • for the rest of the Central City, applying (subject to specified exemptions) mandatory podium height and setback requirements with a discretionary site plot ratio control including requirements that:
  1. the maximum site plot ratio is not to exceed 24:1;
  2. the maximum plot ratio for blocks should generally not exceed 12:1; and
  3. towers above podiums must be setback a minimum of 5 metres to the street.
  • previously discretionary controls to limit overshadowing to identified public spaces, such as Federation Square and the north bank of the Yarra River, have been made mandatory and new mandatory controls prohibiting overshadowing of the Shrine of Remembrance and its northern forecourt have been introduced;
  • introducing wind analysis application requirements;
  • making City of Melbourne a recommending referral authority for planning applications for developments with a gross floor area exceeding 25,000 square metres, for which the Minister for Planning is the Responsible Authority, within Schedules 1, 2 and 3 of the Capital City Zone.

These changes have been introduced on an interim basis for a period of 12 months to allow sufficient time for permanent built form controls to be developed and subsequently introduced through the normal planning scheme amendment process.

Until then, the interim changes will apply to new development applications lodged after the introduction of the Amendment.