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April 2, 2019

Amendment C126 what this means for planning permit applications

Bayside City Council have agreed to omit mandatory height controls for future planning applications and instead use its height restriction powers discretionary. Read more about Amendment C126 and what it means for Bayside Council planning applications.

Bayside City Council have announced that they will adopt the Planning Panel’s recommendations on C126 Amendment which will ensure building height controls are discretionary rather than mandatory controls in certain designated areas. This comes after several changes and delays to the amendment which included two public exhibitions following concerns from the public over its lack of justification and non-consistency with planning policy and the Victoria Planning Provisions.

The new amendment was bought in to implement the Bayside Small Activity Centre Strategy 2014 into the Bayside Planning Scheme by introducing new planning scheme policies, rezoning specific areas and replacing Design and Development Overlays in 31 small shopping centres. Bayside City Council introduced the amendment to ensure that development of what the council identified as ‘Small Activity Centres’ was kept minimal to moderate and protected against building heights over a certain storey.

In a statement Bayside City Council said the reason for Amendment C126 was ‘to ensure these small shopping strips continue to thrive into the future” as they ‘provide daily conveniences, local employment and services.’ and to ensure Bayside Council Planning Applications consider the terms of this amendment.

However, the amendment has not been without controversy. In 2017 the amendment was exhibited to the public who were invited to make submissions. There were numerous submissions made to Bayside regarding the amendment and previous complaints have objected to DDO schedules including proposed mandatory building height controls where Practice Note 59 regarding these controls recommended use in exceptional circumstance only. As is the required statutory process, an independent planning panel was then appointed to consider the submissions and issued their report and recommendations which can be read in full here.

Mandatory building height restriction

Many of the public submissions that were made were critical of the amendment, bringing into question the strategic planning behind it. The most contentious part are the mandatory building height restrictions in the Small Activity Centres that were proposed in the changes to the Design and Development Overlays. This meant that for Bayside Council Planning. Applications that planning permits would not be issued to buildings over a certain height which included 9 metres (2 storeys) in Design and Development Overlay (DDO) Schedule 13 and 11 metres (3 storeys) in Design and Development Overlay Schedule 14. This was seen by most critics to be unwarranted and too restrictive.

Bayside Council’s Planning Department defended the amendment regarding preferred heights, stating it had “sound strategic justification, being grounded in studies examining the economic, town planning, high density housing, and urban design aspects of activity centres at the lower end of its hierarchy…”

However due to the high number of submissions from the public following the initial exhibition, the council commissioned further studies in 2017. These informed additional changes to the amendment which was then re-exhibited. 170 submissions were made to the council overall.

Bayside City Council Planning Department held a meeting on the 19 March 2019 where they discussed the newest recommendations from the Panel. It was concluded from the meeting that the Bayside would adopt the Panel’s recommendations which ensured discretionary rather than mandatory height controls in the majority of Smaller Activity Centres. Along with revisions to the Bayside Small Activity Centre Strategy 2014.

The council suggested in that mandatory controls needed to consider direct coastal sensitivity or the heritage significance of adjacent properties.

In a statement issued on 25 March 2019 Bayside Council said that the amendment will bring ‘more certainty around height controls’ and ‘create more vibrant small activity centres through introducing design requirements which will protect local commercial uses and ensure access for local communities.’

However, in their meeting the Bayside council concluded to ‘immediately commence’ a further study that would support the mandatory building height requirements in Small Neighbourhood Activity Centres which have not been supported by the Planning Panel.

Planning permit applications & the Planning permit register

So, what does this mean for planning permit applications?

The new amendment does not officially come into effect until it has been submitted and approved by the Minister of Planning which will most likely take some time. Therefore, planning applications that are already on Bayside City Council’s planning register or are going to be lodged soon should not, in theory, be restricted by these amendments.

However, as council planning committee are the ones deciding on applications, they usually will adopt the amendments before they have been approved by the Minister of Planning. It is assumed that the amendments will be approved and so council want to adopt the new planning controls as soon as possible to stop permits being issued that are inconsistent with the new planning regulations.

A summary of the height controls in Amendments C126 are:

Centre NameHeight recommended by PanelPanel recommendation for height control
Balcombe Park, Beaumaris3 storeysDiscretionary
Balcombe Road and Charman Road, Beaumaris3 storeysDiscretionary
Bay Road and Avoca Street, Cheltenham3 storeysDiscretionary
Bay Road and Jack Road, Cheltenham3 storeysDiscretionary
Beach Road and Georgiana Street, Sandringham3 storeysDiscretionary
Bluff Road & Arranmore Avenue, Black Rock3 storeysDiscretionary
Bluff Road & Bay Road, Sandringham3 storeysDiscretionary
Bluff Road & Edward Street, Black Rock/Sandringham2-3 storeysDiscretionary
Bluff Road & Highett Road Centre, Hampton3-4 storeysDiscretionary
Bluff Road and Love Street, Black Rock3 storeysDiscretionary
Bluff Road and Spring Street, Sandringham3 storeysDiscretionary
Brighton Beach (Were Street) Centre, Brighton3 storeysDiscretionary
Dendy Village, Brighton3 storeysDiscretionary
East Brighton Shopping Centre, Brighton East2-3 storeysDiscretionary / Mandatory
Esplanade & Grosvenor Street, Middle Brighton3 storeysMandatory
Hampton Street & Durrant Street, Brightonremoved from amendment
Hawthorn Road Shopping Centre, Brighton East3 storeysDiscretionary
Highett & Spring Road (Little Highett Village), Highett2 storeysDiscretionary
Keith Street & Widdop Crescent, Hampton East2 storeysDiscretionary
Keys Street Shopping Centre, Beaumaris3 storeysMandatory
Ludstone Street, Hampton2 storeysDiscretionary
Nepean Highway and Centre Road, Brighton East4 storeysDiscretionary
Nepean Highway and Milroy Street, Brighton East4 storeysDiscretionary
Nepean Highway and North Road, Brightonremoved from amendment
Nepean Highway and Union Street, Brighton East4 storeysDiscretionary
New Street & Bay Street, Brighton4 storeysDiscretionary
New Street & Martin Street, Brighton3 storeysDiscretionary
Seaview Shopping Centre, Beaumaris3 storeysDiscretionary
South Road & Esplanade Avenue, Brighton3-4 storeysMandatory
South Road Plaza, Hampton4 storeysDiscretionary
Thomas and Egan Street, Brighton East3 storeysDiscretionary
Weatherall Road & Morey Road, Beaumaris2 storeysDiscretionary