September 14, 2014 – 5:26PM
City Editor, The Age
Planning Minister Matthew Guy.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy ignored advice from his own specially commissioned expert committee on the roll-out of new rules blocking high-rise development across Melbourne’s richest suburbs.
Reports by the committee established by Mr Guy to advise him on new planning zones introduced in June appear to have been unintentionally released by his department.
One “Overarching Issues Report” completed by Mr Guy’s specially formed advisory committee, looked at the proposed roll-out of new planning zones for Melbourne.
The report, which Mr Guy considered when signing off on new planning rules for several Melbourne councils in June, voiced concerns by its authors – 19 senior planners – over how extensively some councils wanted restrictive new rules stopping new housing over two storeys.
It warned that applying the most conservative “neighbourhood residential zone” – which some councils wanted across most of their suburbs – could compromise Melbourne’s ability to create enough new housing.
Despite this, Mr Guy in June signed off on new planning rules for Bayside and Boroondara councils – which cover wealthy areas including Kew, Hawthorn, Camberwell, Brighton, Sandringham and Black Rock.
Across these two areas, Mr Guy gave the councils new mandatory height limits restricting new development to two stories or below across around 80 per cent of their residential areas.
Several other councils – Moreland, Moonee Valley and Kingston councils, among others – wanted similar rulings from the minister, but missed out and are now going through a more extended process to finish by next July.
The Napthine government’s Plan Melbourne strategy, released in May, says the city will need 1.6 million new homes in the next four decades to accommodate population growth.
Developers, social housing groups and planners have warned the restrictive new zones will stop many new residential projects going ahead.
The committee advising Mr Guy said it shared these concerns, that many councils had proposed blocking major development “without sound justification”.
This was, the committee said, “very likely to compromise the ability to meet the projected growth in households in a way that also addresses choice, affordability and diversity in housing supply”.
“Many municipalities appear to have used the introduction of the new zones to adopt mandatory provisions without a clear rationale for these provisions or an understanding of their potential impacts,” the report says.
A spokesman for Mr Guy confirmed the minister did consider the report from his expert advisory committee when changing the zoning rules.
Source : The Age