THE Victorian Government last week unveiled a new plan for Melbourne's Fishermans Bend urban renewal area, which will double in size and be home to a new business precinct.
In a statement last week, Planning Minister Richard Wynne said the new plan for Fishermans Bend – to be focused on people and jobs – will underpin the site's development over the next 30 years.
Under the plan, the size of the urban renewal area will increase from 250 hectares to 455 hectares and it will now be planned as five distinct neighbourhoods, based on best planning practice to find the right locations for new housing, public transport, schools and community services.
The Minister will be responsible for determining applications for projects 25,000 square metres and above, in line with the rest of the Capital City Zone. A 40-storey interim height limit will be mandated for the Montague and Lorimer areas.
"The Liberals had a plan for a soulless skyline with no services and no standard of living. We have a plan that puts people first – providing the space and comfort residents will want and the jobs and services residents will need," Mr Wynne said.
"By getting on with our promise for five distinct neighbourhoods in Fishermans Bend, we're developing a blueprint for overhauling industrial land and creating places close to the city where people actually want to work and live.
"A community can only be as tall as it is deep. We're not interested in simply rubber-stamping skyscrapers. Smart development thinks about residents and their quality of life."
The City of Port Phillip described the announcement as an important and very positive step forward that allows far greater community involvement in Australia's biggest urban renewal project.
"This is a fresh start for our community, who have rightly wanted to have their say about how to give the Fishermans Bend Urban Renewal Area (FBURA) the best possible chance of success," said Mayor Amanda Stevens.
"We are looking forward to working together, at every stage of the review, with our community, the City of Melbourne, the State Government and developers in an inclusive, consistent and considered approach to community engagement over the next 18 months."
The Property Council of Australia's Victorian Executive Director Jennifer Cunich said the new plan clearly articulates the long-term development intentions for each of the five CBD expansion precincts.
"The announced changes will undoubtedly cause short term heartache for local property owners, but will ensure that there is greater certainty for investors, developers, planners and the community over the long term," Ms Cunich said.
"The Property Council believes that mandating height limits will have a negative impact on density development. Consequently, we support a 'preferred height limit' in the area thereby allowing local design innovation and development to better flourish.
"The trade-off on increased height has the potential to create a better value proposition for the community as well as a stronger local community benefit. By mandating height and being too prescriptive however, design innovation will suffer, meaning the community will ultimately be a greater loser."