Twenty-six project applications for the Fishermans Bend urban renewal project in Victoria have been stalled until they can be assessed by new permanent planning controls. 

The Victorian Government made the decision to call in permit applications on a number of projects when it was decided that interim controls introduced by planning minister Richard Wynne in 2015 would be enforced. The controls were put in place to correct lax zoning rules set by his predecessor Matthew Guy in 2012.   

There are a vast number of projects underway in Fishermans Bend, with plans for the area to consist of five precincts across the City of Melbourne and the City of Port Phillip, and to connect Melbourne’s CBD to the bay. It is expected that by 2050 the area will be home to approximately 80,000 residents and provide around 80,000 jobs. 

Fishermans Bend will consist of five precincts across two Local Government Areas in Melbourne. Image: Draft Fishermans Bend Framework 2017

The Australian Institute of Architects supports the decision to enforce the new planning controls. According to incoming Victorian chapter president Amy Muir, the Government has made the right decision for the long-term sustainable development of the area.

“The rezoning of Fishermans Bend prior to the implementation of planning controls or a holistic masterplan sets a dangerous precedent for providing imbalanced developments and ill-conceived built environments leading to long-term detrimental effects upon immediate and surrounding communities,” she says.

“We now have an opportunity to rectify this error and properly plan for what will be a construction project that spans some four decades. This is not about quick-fix solutions but rather considered, holistic design solutions that acknowledge the significance and legacy of the project.

“The Fishermans Bend draft framework includes eight sustainability goals, which we firmly support and want to see realised as part of a masterplan for the area. Moving forward we strongly support and recommend the engagement of a design review panel represented by the Australian Institute of Architects, the Planning Institute of Australia, the Urban Design Institute of Australia and the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects.”

Muir also expressed the need for balance between commercial intent and quality design in the precincts.

2017 Draft Plan describes the “vision” for each of the precincts:

Montague: “A diverse and well-connected mixed-use precinct celebrating its significant cultural and built heritage, and network of gritty streets and laneways.” Projected dwellings: 9,244 

Lorimer: “A vibrant, mixed-use precinct close to the Yarra River and connected to Melbourne’s CBD, Docklands and emerging renewal areas.” Projected dwellings: 5,882

Sandridge: “One of Melbourne’s premium office and commercial centres, balanced with diverse housing and retail.” Projected dwellings: 14,949

Wirraway: “A predominantly family-friendly inner-city neighbourhood close to the bay and Westgate Park.” Projected dwellings: 6,822 

Employment Precinct: “Australia’s leading design, engineering and advanced manufacturing precinct.”