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    New sunlight access control for Melbourne’s parks puts development in the shade

    The City of Melbourne is planning to introduce new controls that will protect sunlight access to the city’s public parks. City authorities seek to extend the Sunlight to Public Spaces policy to the Municipality’s extensive parkland, located outside of the Hoddle Grid and Southbank. However, this proposal can potentially impact the redevelopment of land located in proximity to existing public parks.

    Amendment C278 will impose a new mandatory winter solstice overshadowing test aimed at protecting sunlight access to Melbourne’s public parks. The Council proposes a mandatory ‘no additional overshadowing’ control from 10am to 3pm. The proposed controls specify various requirements for built form on land located within close proximity to the three different types of parks in the Municipality.

    At the Future Melbourne Committee last month, it was unanimously decided that the Council would seek authorisation from the minister for Planning to prepare and exhibit Amendment C278 to the Melbourne Planning Scheme.

    The minister for Planning has also been requested to prepare and approve Amendment C340 that will impose the new mandatory overshadowing controls on an interim basis, without the usual public exhibition process. The proposed permanent controls will be subject to a separate formal public exhibition process. In the event the Minister approves Amendment C340, all existing and new planning permit applications will be required to comply with the new control.

    Accoriding to achitectural firm SJB, while the Council’s proposal has its benefits including maintaining and enhancing the City’s liveability through appropriate access to sunlight, there is also increasing pressure to house and employ the growing population within the existing Metropolitan boundaries in a more sustainable way.

    It remains to be seen whether the minister of Planning will provide the community with an opportunity to fully test the implications of the Council’s proposal.

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