Fishermans Bend draft framework released, uplift controls to drive affordable housing

A combination of mandatory and discretionary height limits, setbacks, floor area ratios, floor area uplift controls and detailed precinct plans will guide density and uses within new buildings in Fishermans Bend over the coming decades as the urban renewal area undergoes development.

The draft Fishermans Bend framework released today adds more meat to the bones of the vision document which was released in September 2016. 

There's still a fair way to go before amendments are made to planning schemes - today marks the start of another consultation round and detailed precinct plans will take into account the feedback received in this round - however one thing is clear: Fishermans Bend's ultimate built form will be diverse.

Simply referring to height limits in specific areas is fairly useless when attempting to convey - in text - how Fishermans Bend will develop, it's a lot more complex than that. 

It starts with open space. We’ve already pressed ahead with plans for the Montague Community Park – and now we’re going further. The Framework earmarks the equivalent of two thirds the size of Docklands for open space, or 50 MCGs.

Four new AFL-sized ovals, six soccer pitches and eight outdoor courts will give local kids badly-needed space to blow off steam and embrace healthy and active lifestyles.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne - in his own words on Urban Melbourne today

A closer look at the new planning controls

The 480-hectare urban renewal area straddles both the City of Melbourne and City of Port Phillip local government areas (LGAs).  Lorimer and the Employment precinct are located with the City of Melbourne LGA and Wirraway, Sandridge and Montague's precincts are located within the City of Port Phillip LGA.

Across all four non-employment precincts (to be known as the Capital City Zoned precincts) height limits weigh in as follows: mandatory 4 levels in the interface zones along Williamstown Road.  Elsewhere discretionary height limits of 4, 6, 8, 12, 24 and unlimited levels will apply in different areas.

Both Sandridge and Lorimer will see the most generous height limits. On either side of the West Gate Freeway - to the east of the Bolte Bridge - the unlimited height limit control has been proposed with multiple steps down through both 24 and 12 level limits the further a development site is located from the West Gate Freeway.

Proposed height limits across Fishermans Bend

Setback rules that currently govern planning over the area will be maintained with developments that have 20 or more levels requiring mandatory tower separation of 20 metres and 10 metres from all boundaries. 

Other setback requirements are set to be introduced for developments at other height levels as well.

Height limits and setbacks - the current controls over Fishermans Bend - will have the added dimension of floor area ratio (FAR) and floor area uplift (FAU) controls and the draft framework provides some numbers.

The example provided in the draft Fishermans Bend framework and seen below assumes a floor area ratio (FAR) of 3:1 on a developable site area of 600m2.

A floor area ratio (FAR) and floor area uplift (FAU) example

Sandridge will be the epicentre of the most intensive development and one of the two new metro stations with what the framework calls 'Sandridge Core' having the highest proposed FAR at 8.1:1.  The non-core area of Sandridge will be 3.3:1 which has predominantly been applied to the areas which interface with other precincts to the east (Montague) and west (Wirraway).

Montague, the precinct that is the nextdoor neighbour to Southbank, sees the second highest core FAR proposed at 6.1:1 and its non-core FAR will be set at 3.0:1.  There is no distinction between core and non-core areas of Lorimer with the precinct proposed to have a FAR of 5.4:1

Wirraway will be the precinct which sees the least density with core FAR set at 4.1:1 and non-core FAR set at 2.1:1.

Each precinct also has a minimum FAR in activity centres for employment floor area 'to ensure that job targets are met' according to the draft framework.

Proposed floor area ratio (FAR) controls in Fishermans Bend

Crucially, the framework proposes to introduce a floor area uplift (FAU) control that focuses on providing public benefits as Fishermans Bend is redeveloped.  The framework applies the following priorities.

1. Affordable housing: developers can seek to apply a FAU on their site which is transferred to registered housing associations.  For every one affordable housing unit delivered, the developer is able to construct an additional eight dwellings for private sale.

2. Community infrastructure: developers can seek to apply a FAU on their site to deliver identified community hubs.  For every 100m2 of community infrastructure delivered, developers are able to deliver an equivalent value of residential floor area.

3. Additional public open space: developers can seek to apply a FAU on their site to deliver public open space that is in addition to the identified open spaces within the draft Framework and the required 8% public open space contribution.  This public open space must be transferred across to the relevant authority.  For every 26m2 of public open space delivered, developers are able to deliver an equivalent value of residential floor areas.

Each precinct will also have targets for family-sized (3+ bedroom) dwellings and as the Planning Minister states "a target of 6% affordable housing is a cornerstone of the Framework".

Today marks the start of another consultation round and the draft framework's release is a precursor to the individual precinct plans for the four capital city zoned precincts in Fishermans Bend.

All precincts will have their own plan that will reflect the finegraind detail of what has been oulined in this draft Framework.  The Employment Precinct, however, will follow a separate timeframe and planning process.

Precinct plans aim to:

  • elaborate the unique and distinct character and vision of each precinct.
  • undertake a place making approach that spatially integrates the objectives and strategies in this draft Framework through a set of detailed design responses
  • identify a range of priority detailed actions and initiatives to guide the deliver of key projects identified in this draft Framework
Draft Fishermans Bend Framework

The framework is available to read here.  Fishermans Bend now also has an online document library located here.

Read more: Walking, bikes and public transport the focus in Fishermans Bend's integrated transport plan.

The Planning Minister in his own words: We have to get urban renewal projects right.

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