Planning law update – Central built city form review – Amendment C270

Commercial Directions

The Victorian Minister for Planning announced the Government’s Built City Form Review in September 2015. At the same time, it introduced Interim Planning Controls to the Melbourne Planning Scheme on 4 September 2015 by Amendment C262, effective for 12 months. This amendment was not exhibited for public comment. Permit applications lodged before 4 September are not affected by the interim controls.

Status of Amendment and development concerns

The Review process is now complete and Amendment C270 (Amendment) has been prepared to implement permanent changes to planning controls affecting development in the central business area. The changes propose new floor area ratios, the potential to request a floor area uplift offset by the provision of public benefits, as well as new restrictions regarding street wall height, tower setback and tower separation. The purpose of the Review is to update controls, last reviewed in the 1990’s to improve liveability and public amenity in the central city, and provide consistency and certainty in the development process.

The Review proposes further changes to the interim controls by further reducing plot ratio from 24:1 under the interim controls to 18:1 under the Amendment. It seeks to follow planning trends in other major capital cities internationally. This is referred to as the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Department) and is described as being the total gross building floor area of a building in proportion to the site area.

The Review and Amendment were announced end April 2016 and resulted in recent publicity in particular regarding the impacts for developers of high rise apartment towers and the viability and economic impact for development in the central city.

Key dates for the progress and proposed Introduction of Amendment C270

  • May 2016 – Exhibition of Amendment and public consultation
  • Monday 30 May, 5pm – Submissions due to the Minister for Planning
  • Amendment referred to an independent Planning Panel for Review
  • June 2016 – Planning Panels Victoria considers submissions
  • 15 June 2016 – Panel Directions Hearing
  • 11 July 2016 – Panel hearing commences
  • Panel Report delivered
  • September 2016 – Amendment C270 introduced in the Melbourne Planning Scheme (proposed introduction date).

The Affected Study Area

The boundary of the Study Area of the Review is the boundary which covers areas of highest intensity development in the city in the Hoddle Street Grid north of the river and Southbank south of the river.

The boundary of the Central City Area produced by the Department can be downloaded here.

Moray & Agnew will be providing a submission to the Minister for Planning.

If you seek clarification, detail or advice on the potential impacts of Amendment C270, please contact our planning lawyer, Annabel Viner, Special Counsel, Melbourne.


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