City of Boroondara has formally rejected an Infrastructure Victoria recommendation that local council planning schemes be changed to further increase densities in established areas.

Infrastructure Victoria called for submissions in October 2016 on its draft 30-year Infrastructure Strategy, which included the recommendation for local government planning schemes to be amended over the next 5 years, increasing densities to make better use of existing infrastructure.

The draft strategy proposes that densification should initially focus on Melbourne’s eastern and southern suburbs, including suburbs within and neighbouring Boroondara.

Cr Phillip Healey, Mayor of Boroondara, said Council did not support any change to the Boroondara Planning Scheme to further increase densities.

“Boroondara is already experiencing significant residential development and building activity,” he said.

“According to Victorian Building Authority statistics, at $1.2 billion, Boroondara had the second highest value of total building approvals in Victoria behind the City of Melbourne in 2015.

“We are clearly meeting and exceeding targets within our current planning scheme, while managing population growth and increased demand in a responsible way. An independent assessment of Boroondara’s housing capacity has concluded that current planning controls already provide for significantly more new dwellings than the expected demand.

“Increased densification beyond what’s already permitted in our planning scheme is not compatible with adequate open space and green infrastructure for community enjoyment. Our scheme carefully balances conservation of valued neighbourhood character and the natural process of change in a suburban location.”

Cr Healey said increases in density would also impose further pressures on drainage systems and community infrastructure including maternal and child health centres, primary schools and indoor recreational opportunities.

“Infrastructure Victoria needs to provide the analysis which demonstrates that established areas have the capacity to accommodate this additional demand,” he said.

In its submission, Council also:

  • expressed disappointment that the draft strategy specifically recommended against a new heavy rail line to Doncaster
  • stated the consultation timeframe for the draft strategy was unreasonable, given it was released on 4 October and submissions closed on 31 October with no possible extensions. It also coincided with the local government election period
  • expressed approval that an option to transfer planning decision-making and infrastructure coordination from relevant local government authorities to a central authority has not been recommended in the draft strategy.

To view Boroondara’s full submission, see [Council Special Services Committee, 14 November 2016].

To view Infrastructure Victoria’s 30-year draft strategy, visit Infrastructure Victoria.