Tories outline planning system reforms (UK)

THE Conservatives have outlined reforms of the planning system, causing a "battle between property business giants and the Conservatives", with developers fearing the changes could create a "NIMBY's charter", according to

It has been reported by that the Conservative Party is set to launch its policy paper on the future of the planning system, which will replace regional development plans and targets with a localised system.

Proposed changes include third party right of appeal, allowing residents to object to a decision to allow developers to build.

The proposed planning system reforms are part of a localism agenda driven by the Conservative Party.

Source: Chris Smith, 'Developers attack Torry planning reforms', 1 February 2010,, <>.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: World

$25.6m Swanston Street redevelopment plan unveiled

A $25.6 million plan to upgrade and enhance Swanston Street has been unveiled by Melbourne City Council today, with Council due to consider and decide on the plan next Tuesday 2nd February.

A report on the Swanston Street redevelopment was released today, with the following recommendations:

  • $25.6 million plan to create a world-class promenade;
  • By 2012, private cars and taxis would be banned;
  • Creation of a seamless civic space created with dedicated bike lanes;
  • Construction of four new public spaces incorporating tram stops, new street furniture including public seating, ceremonial lighting, additional trees and planter boxes and public artworks;
  • Service delivery vehicles would continue to have restricted access, with a further review in 2012; and
  • Encouragement of additional pavement-based activity including outdoor cafes and innovative retail.
  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

The population debate: to grow, or not to grow?

THE population of Australia is expected to grow rapidly in the next 50 years. There are competing arguments for and against such growth occurring.

This article attempts to provide an outline of some of the arguments and opinions regarding population growth in Australia. Please check back periodically as new ideas and opinions are added.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Australia

$100m Gold Coast Airport redevelopment officially opened

THE Gold Coast Airport $100 million passenger terminal redevelopment was officially opened yesterday by Federal Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese and Queensland Deputy Premier Paul Lucas.

The new 30,000 square metre terminal – double the size of the previous terminal – was completed two months ahead of schedule.

Mr Lucas said that the Gold Coast airport was the sixth busiest in the nation and 35 per cent of all domestic tourists arrived by air compared to 29 per cent in Queensland. The top 5 busiest airports are all capital city airports.

"Gold Coast Airport contributes more than $1 billion to the region's economy every year and employs more than 1,200 people on an ongoing basis," Mr Albanese said. "It is one of the fastest growing airports in Australia and is a vital gateway to some of Australia's most popular tourist destinations in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales," he said.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Queensland

Trains impounded in Melbourne: services may be affected

THE braking issues with Siemens trains and Melbourne's rail network have continued this year, with up to nine trains having been impounded and taken out of service recently. It has been reported that one Comeng train has also been impounded.

It is the first major issue to face new Minister for Public Transport Martin Pakula, who was sworn in last week after Lynne Kosky's sudden and unexpected resignation.

Mr Pakula has been unable to specify a date when the trains will be able to resume regular service, instead saying "I think it is important that the vehicles undergo proper safety checking and so I think it is unhelpful to put artificial timelines on it."

However, Mr Pakula has admitted that the impounded trains may have an adverse impact on Melbourne's train services. "We know that this is going to be a bigger problem as school kids go back and particularly if the weather heats up, so we are very keen that the trains are back on the network as soon as possible," he said.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

Earthquake leaves devastation in Haiti: what role does planning have?

On 12 January 2010, Haiti was struck by a magnitude-7.0 earthquake, causing widespread damage and destruction, killing tens – maybe hundreds – of thousands of people and affecting some 3 million, according to the United Nations.

This article brings together articles and multimedia that illustrate some of the planning and development implications of the Haiti earthquake.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: World

Yarra Council objects to proposed Richmond Dimmeys redevelopment

YARRA City Council has lodged an objection on heritage grounds against the proposed redevelopment of the historic Dimmeys site on Swan Street, Cremorne.

Mayor Cr Jane Garrett said Yarra Council's submission to Heritage Victoria raised concerns about the scale and proportions of the proposal from applicant Richmond Icon Pty Ltd stating that the building "which tells us so much about Melbourne’s cultural history deserves protection" and that the applicant is not "safeguarding that legacy."

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

Vic Govt announces $363m Melbourne Park upgrade

VICTORIAN Premier John Brumby announced on Tuesday a major $363 million upgrade and redevelopment of Melbourne Park, the current home of the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis event, securing the event in Melbourne until 2036.

As part of the plan, Melbourne Park will have a third enclosed, all-weather stadium, with Margaret Court Arena receiving a new retractable roof and an additional 1500 seats, boosting its seating capacity from 6,000  to 7,500.  Margaret Court Arena joins Hisense Arena (10,000 seats) and Rod Laver Arena (15,000 seats) in being the third enclosed tennis court.

In addition, the upgrade will include:

  • A new Eastern Plaza, incorporating eight new indoor courts and 13 outdoor courts for elite training and general public use as well as change room facilities and a gymnasium;
  • Refurbishments to Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena;
  • Additional parking; and
  • A footbridge linking Melbourne Park to the Rectangular Stadium.
  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

NSW Metro project pauses; final decision late February

THE NSW Government announced on Tuesday that it has stopped the acquisition of properties for the Sydney Metro in the Rozelle area, until the NSW Government makes a final decision on the project late next month.

Premier Kristina Keneally said this is about providing clarity and certainty for the businesses in the area and that the Metro is being considered as part of an overall and broader approach to integrated land use and transport planning. "We are committed to a Metro network for Sydney, but the plan that we put to the people has to meet the needs of where commuters live and work by combining land use and transport planning," Ms Keneally said.

The announcement triggered speculation that the seven kilometre metro project from Rozelle to Central would not proceed.

VPP Review: Proposed changes to Clause 52.11 (Home Occupation)

THE Department of Planning and Community Development is inviting comments on proposed changes to Clause 52.11 (Home Occupation) of the Victorian Planning Provisions.  Changes are being made to make the provisions consistent with the Small Business Ministerial Council's (SBMC) national guidelines for facilitating home-based business.

Home-based business accounts for a large proportion of small businesses in Australia, with nearly one million people operating a business at, or from, home (SBMC 2004).  According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, as at June 2007, there were approximately 483,000 small businesses in Victoria and over 60% of those businesses were home-based.

Planning has been recognised by the SBMC as an important tool that can facilitate and foster the growth of home-based businesses.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

$286m Springvale homemaker centre development fast-tracked

THE Government has cleared the path for the development of a $286 million homemaker centre development on Princes Highway and Westall Road, Springvale.

Visiting the site on Friday, Mr Madden announced the fast-tracking of plans to increase the number of tenancies in the centre, which will create the largest restricted retail precinct in Australia.  It is expected that around 1500 jobs will be created when the retail centre opens.

The news was welcomed by Greater Dandenong Mayor Jim Memeti, who said that "the decision to build a development of this scale in our city not only shows confidence in our local economy and our future, but also expands on Greater Dandenong's retail diversity."

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

38 storey Box Hill development fast-tracked

DAYS after announcing the fast-tracking of an industrial project at Truganina, west of Melbourne, Planning Minister Justin Madden on Friday announced the fast-tracking of a $100 million, 38 storey development for Box Hill.  If built, the Box Hill development will be the tallest building outside of the CBD and St Kilda Rd precinct.

Originally refused by Whitehorse Council in August last year, the proposed development consists of a 38 storey building and 6 level basement car park (342 spaces).  The subject site, zoned Business 1 and located on the corner of Carrington Road and Station Street, has been vacant for many years and is currently used as a public car park.  The proposed development is to feature a range of uses including 176 serviced apartments and 232 apartments, gymnasium, food and drink premises, offices, restaurants and retail premises.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

Melbourne 2030: Disadvantaged, disaffected and disillusioned? Report highlights social challenges

MELBOURNE risks losing its status as one of the world's most liveable cities due to massive population growth, a lack of affordable housing, increasing poverty and lack of access to public transport, services and job opportunities according to a report released last month by the Melbourne Community Foundation (MCF).

The report, prepared by the McCaughey Centre at the University of Melbourne, warns that Melbourne is in danger of becoming a city of disadvantaged, disaffected and disillusioned citizens in 20 years if we do not act now.  The report was commissioned to review, refresh and provide input into the 2009 update of MCF's 2006 publication MacroMelbourne Initiative: developing strategic responses to disadvantage in Melbourne today and towards 2030.

The report argues that the most significant trends and challenges causing disadvantage and inequality in metropolitan Melbourne are:

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

November 2009 building approvals increase

THE Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released data for building approvals for the month of November 2009. 

The data shows seasonally adjusted growth in national residential building approvals in November 2009 increased by 5.9 per cent compared to figures for October 2009.  In the year to November, residential building approvals achieved growth of 33.3 per cent.

The number of dwelling approvals rose in New South Wales (+6.0%), Victoria (+10.2%), Queensland (+12.4%) and South Australia (+1.6%).  Western Australia and Tasmania experienced a decrease in dwelling approvals (-10.3% and -20.1% respectively).  There was no seasonally adjusted data available for Northern Territory and ACT.

While the number of houses approved decreased for November (-2.0%), this was offset by a rise in approvals for dwellings other than houses (+31.7%).

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Australia

Truganina industrial development fast-tracked

IT has been announced that an industrial development at Truganina has been fast-tracked by the Victorian government.  The site, approximately 662 hectares in size and on the north-western boundary of the City of Wyndham, will feature a new $60 million Kmart distribution centre, to be developed by Goodman Group.

Planning Minister Justin Madden yesterday visited the new industrial area to turn the first sod of the industrial area's development and stated that "the Brumby Labor Government is standing up for Victorian families by speeding up the planning process to create jobs, manage growth and help families secure their lifestyle".

It was stated that the fast-tracking of projects is one reason why Victoria is mitigating the impact of the global financial crisis better than other places in the world. "We are using planning provisions to fast-track proposals to release land for industrial use in areas of most need to create local jobs," Mr Madden said.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

2008-09 Planning permit activity in Victoria: volume down, value up

PLANNING Permit Activity in Victoria 2008-09 has been released by the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) in association with the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV).  It is the second report to be published from data submitted to the DPCD's automated Planning Permit Activity Reporting System (PPARS), where all Victorian councils submit a standardised monthly transfer of data to enable the collection of planning data.

There were a total of 54,162 planning applications lodged in Victoria between 1 July 2008 and 30 June 2009 consisting of:
•    45,936 new planning applications (85% of total applications lodged);
•    8,103 applications to amend an existing permit (15% of total); and
•    123 combined permit applications.

This equates to a decrease of 5,069 or 9% of the total number of planning applications lodged in the previous reporting period (2007-08).

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

10/30 Right to Clear Vegetation Becomes Law

[Victorian Government Media Release]

THE Brumby Labor Government's '10/30 right' was gazetted today allowing landowners in bushfire prone areas to prepare their properties as part of their preparations for the upcoming bushfire season.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings said the amendments to the Victorian Planning Provision were now law and ready for landowners to use.

"The aim of the Brumby Labor Government's '10/30 right' is to make it simpler for residents to clear vegetation around their properties to reduce risks posed by bushfires," Mr Jennings said.

"In less than 45 days Victoria will face a bushfire season that looms as potentially worse than the season we have just experienced."

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

Melbourne Metro Tunnel shows future of transport

[Victorian Government Media Release]

SOIL and engineering testing works on the Melbourne Metro project could start before the end of the year with the Premier John Brumby today revealing concept designs of stations and opportunities for urban renewal.

Mr Brumby said Stage 1 of the Melbourne Metro project, at a cost of more than $4.5 billion, announced in the $38 billion Victorian Transport Plan, would add capacity for thousands more passengers on the suburban rail network and shape the future growth of the CBD and inner Melbourne.

"Stage 1 of the Melbourne Metro will run from Dynon to Domain (St Kilda Road) and today I am announcing that we are seeking engineers and technical designers to examine the possible alignment of the new rail tunnel," Mr Brumby said.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

New city rail tunnel to be announced

MELBOURNE is set to receive a new rail tunnel, with the Herald Sun reporting today that Premier John Brumby will unveil plans for the new line as part of the $38 billion Victorian Transport Plan.

The new train line will link Flinders St station with Melbourne Central and Parkville where it will then join up with the Footscray line, allowing access to the Parkville university and health precinct and reducing congestion on Melbourne's north and west railway lines.

Source: ''Under-city rail plan to cut Melbourne congestion'', Herald Sun, 9 September 2009, <>.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

Mildura Planning Taskforce to resolve land issues

[Victorian Government Media Release]

PLANNING Minister Justin Madden has appointed a taskforce to investigate the planning issues for the Mildura Older Irrigation Area and to resolve a long term position for landowners.

Mr Madden met yesterday with Mildura Rural City Council which presented him with a newly adopted position which will be provided to the Mildura Planning Taskforce for consideration.

"There is a need for long term strategies to be in place to maintain options for rural land use and to provide support for agriculture and rural production in Victoria," Mr Madden said.

"Agriculture, and in particular horticulture and the associated manufacturing, packaging and processing of local produce, underpins the economy of Mildura and is an important contributor to the State and national economies.

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

Planning improvements provide certainty for Activity Centres

[Victorian Government Media Release]

THE approval of the boundaries of five 'market-ready' activity centres in Melbourne and Geelong by the Brumby Labor Government will ensure the planning and management of growth is simpler and more effective.

Planning Minister Justin Madden today announced the new planning initiatives today at the Victorian Planning and Environmental Law Association's People Transforming Places conference in Creswick.

"The Brumby Labor Government is taking action to maintain Melbourne's liveability," Mr Madden said.

"This is a significant next step in our planning reforms as flagged in the government's response to the Melbourne 2030 audit, which will benefit Camberwell Junction, Coburg, Doncaster Hill, Central Geelong and Preston (High Street).

  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

Connex name replaced with Metro

MELBOURNE'S train contract with Metro Trains Melbourne has been finalised, with the Herald Sun reporting today that the Connex name is to be replaced in favour of the name 'Metro'.

The new operator, Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM), a joint venture between Hong Kong's MTM Corporation, John Holland and United Group, will begin on Monday 30 November.

According to the Victorian Government, the new 8 year contract will deliver:

  • A 24 per cent reduction in cancellations in the first year of operation;
  • A 10 per cent increase in punctuality;
  • 100 more customer service staff and 100 more maintenance workers;
  • A 10 per cent reduction in crime across the network;
  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

Tram contract finalised

MELBOURNE'S tram contract has been finalised.  Keolis Downer EDI (KDR) will run the tram network for 8 years with a further 7 year option from November 30 this year.  The 'Yarra Trams' brand will be retained.

According to the Victorian Government, the new eight year operating contract with KDR will deliver:

  • Cleaner and safer trams;
  • Improved maintenance procedures to maximise fleet availability and reduce cancellations;
  • Increased activity to remove litter and graffiti on and around the network;
  • Better customer information at tram stops, focusing on route details and fares;
  • Improve tram punctuality from 78 per cent of services on time to 82 per cent through the duration of the contract;
  • Major works to upgrade tram tracks to improve passenger comfort and reduce maintenance; and
  • Oversee the procurement and introduction of 50 new low floor trams from 2012.
  • Written by Urbanalyst
  • Category: Victoria

Urbanalyst Banner