What is a structure plan?
A structure plan is a plan for place. It sets a long-term vision for how an area will develop , and includes guidance on things like building types and heights, aspirations for open space, new or improved transport connections, heritage, infrastructure, and parking.
Structure plans are important ways to direct growth, and provide certainty for community members and developers about what change is expected in an area. The documents are implemented into the Planning Scheme through a formal planning scheme amendment, and this gives them a formal role in guiding development of the areas which they cover.
Why do we need structure plans?
Structure plans are important ways that Council can direct, manage and plan for the outcomes of, population growth. This growth is occurring right across Greater Melbourne, in every local government area, directed by State Government Policy.
Plan Melbourne is the Victorian Government strategy that sets out how Melbourne will grow and change until 2050. It says there will be 1.5 million more residents, needing 584,705 additional homes between 2017 and 2031. For Glen Eira this means around 40,000 new residents, 18,000 additional homes, 22,000 more jobs, and potentially up to 29,000 extra cars (between 2016-2036).
Our forecast population for 2020 is currently 157,311, and is expected to grow to 180,626 by 2036: https://forecast.id.com.au/glen-eira.
For Council, State Government directions mean we have a role in managing growth, whilst at the same time, responding to community aspirations for liveable, vibrant local places that retain and reflect history and identity.
Structure plans are an important way to bring these roles together. Plans help to ensure that homes are built close to amenities, transport and jobs, and that we look ahead to the necessary infrastructure and open space to support local needs.
Through the process of developing a structure plan, we can identify what people like about where they live, and ensure these views and ideas are translated into the future shape of local places.
Why do we need a structure plan for Glen Huntly?
Council has a program of structure planning that will roll out over all our activity centres over time. Glen Huntly is a current focus of the program in part because the area has been identified by State Government policy (Plan Melbourne 2017-2050) as a strategically significant place, a Major Activity Centre.
It’s also a focus because of upcoming opportunities for the area arising from the Victorian Government’s planned removal of the two Glen Huntly level crossings (on Neerim and Glenhuntly roads). In late 2018, State Government announced that removals would be undertaken by 2025, and that the project will include the construction of a new Glenhuntly Station.
The level crossing removal project will change Glen Huntly, and while Council is not able to direct the project, we have an opportunity to provide input shaped by the community.
The Structure Plan outlines the community vision and priorities which help to guide Council’s discussions with State government as the level crossing removal projects proceed.
How has the draft Structure Plan been developed?
The draft Structure Plan has been developed in multiple steps and stages. The first step occurred in 2017, when Council launched a wide consultation process to ask the Glen Eira community what they loved about their local shopping strip. This consultation was conducted in all activity centres, including Glen Huntly, where we received lots of initial views.
From this process, Council developed an Activity Centre, Housing and Local Economy Strategy (which has now been renamed as the 'City Plan')
In 2018, the Victorian Government committed to provide funding for Level Crossing Removals at Neerim Road and Glen Huntly Road in Glen Huntly. The projects been scheduled to occur before 2025. This provided an opportunity to progress with planning work for Glen Huntly.
Between May and June 2019, we went back to the community, to develop key directions for Glen Huntly. In October and November 2019, we sought your feedback on these Key Directions as well as design ideas for the planned two Glen Huntly level crossing removals.
What area is covered by the draft Structure Plan?
The draft Structure Plan covers the commercial core of Glen Huntly, in and around the main shopping strip and railway station, as well as the Neerim Road intersection. This area sits at the centre of the current activity centre, comprising the commercial core and all surrounding land zoned General Residential (GRZ).
The map below shows the Structure Plan area (shaded dark green) in the wider Study Area (dark green outline).
Alongside the draft Structure Plan work, Council is undertaking a housing analysis, including a heritage assessment, of the wider Study Area. This extends about 800m from the commercial centre, or a 20-minute walk. This will include a review of the current activity centre boundary to determine the scope for residential change within this wider study area.
What happens to the draft Plan from here?
Council is seeking your feedback on the draft. Following the consultation period, all feedback will be put together, and drawn on to review and refine the document. A final Structure Plan will then go to Council for consideration. If it is adopted, Council will begin to take the steps needed to implement it.
For the land use and development aspects of the Plan, this involves making an amendment to the Glen Eira Planning Scheme in order to give these aspects formal expression.
What is the Planning Scheme? The Planning Scheme is the 'rule book' or the guide for planning applications within Glen Eira. It sets out when a planning permit is required in order to utilise, develop or subdivide a parcel of land - and it sets out what can and can't be taken into consideration.
An Amendment changes the town planning controls which determine how land can be used or developed. For privately-owned land, development will occur over time under these newly-implemented controls.
The level crossing removals at Neerim and Glen Huntly roads are State Government projects. Council will advocate for the vision for these areas as expressed in this Structure Plan. The level crossings are estimated to be removed and the project completed by 2025.
For major projects proposed on Council-owned land such as new public spaces, a more detailed implementation plan will be developed upon adoption of the final Glen Huntly Structure Plan by Council which will include non-statutory implementation and advocacy strategies.
Why are specific building heights proposed?
Most of the Plan proposes not to increase heights but to restrict them.
Currently there are no height limits on the commercially-zoned land in Glen Huntly. The proposal is to introduce discretionary height limits that are based on detailed urban design analysis which considers street wall height, building height and street relationship, setbacks, visual bulk impacts, and overshadowing. These heights can be defended at a panel or VCAT hearing with good evidence if challenged by a developer aiming to construct a taller building.
For the centre of the commercial strip where old shop fronts are intact, height limits are proposed to be mandatory, to better ensure the village character is protected.
The exception is to residential land in the Western Mixed Use Precinct. Current planning controls limit heights to three storeys. The Plan proposes a mandatory limit of four storeys, also based on urban design analysis.
What makes Glen Huntly unique?
Glen Huntly is a dense, multicultural suburb, anchored by the train station and shopping strip running east-west on Glenhuntly Road. The Glen Huntly Structure Plan study area is focused around this core.
The surrounding residential area contains a wide variety of housing styles, from four-storey apartment buildings to single-storey detached houses. While the housing stock is good quality and well-occupied, the ageing shopping strip is starting to lose tenancy. However, the strong character of the area remains intact, as reflected in the diversity of businesses, the heritage qualities of buildings and unique features such as the anchor at Grange Road.
Glen Huntly is well-connected to neighbouring suburbs and the CBD through the rail line, tram line and bus network. As the suburb is already quite densely developed, there are not significant prospects for urban renewal, but there are key development opportunity sites that will contribute to a revitalisation of the shopping strip along with the level crossing removals at Neerim and Glenhuntly roads.
How has Glen Huntly's unique local identity been defined?
This is captured on page 6 of the draft Structure Plan – Finding Glen Huntly’s Local Identity.
Is it possible to retain the character of Glen Huntly whilst also accommodating growth?
A structure plan helps to achieve this challenge. By retaining the shop fronts, maintaining a consistent street wall height and applying appropriate setbacks above, new development can be accommodated without dominating the existing street view. Identifying a few opportunity sites with fewer constraints where development can be concentrated, such as the Eastern and Western Precincts, and the Central Development Opportunity Precinct, means that other areas can remain as they are. Transitioning between new taller buildings and existing lower residential areas is a way to develop that is sensitive to the context. An activity centre needs to accommodate a variety of land uses and activities and structure plans also help with this as they explore what uses can be accommodated for future needs and where.
How are local residents being considered?
This is the third phase of consultation on Glen Huntly since May 2019. Residents have been invited to be engaged at each phase. The draft Structure Plan balances community feedback and the need to plan for the long term to achieve a vision for the whole centre. The draft can be revised based on public feedback.
What type of development will be built in the future?
The type of development is controlled by the zone. The commercial zone on Glen Huntly Road allows for all types of retail activity such as is currently there (restaurants, laundromats, shops, etc.) It also allows residential development above.
If a proposed use fits the zone, the development can occur. Council can influence the type of development with community and public interest in mind. Additional and more diverse housing for a growing and changing population, or office space to accommodate local jobs, can be encouraged.
Why is a 10 storey height limit being proposed?
The draft Structure Plan proposes accommodating up to 10 storeys on one site only to accommodate some of the anticipated housing and employment demand. The size of the site, its location and railway interface, and the orientation of the building make it a good candidate for a taller built form. With a street wall height of two storeys and appropriate setbacks for upper levels, the visual impact and shadows cast would be minimised.
How were proposed building heights arrived at?
Heights proposed were developed by looking at the context of each precinct (heights and setbacks of existing buildings, interface, lot size, existing built character) and impact on amenity such as overshadowing which was tested with 3D modelling.
Can proposed building heights be reduced?
Currently, there are no height limits on the commercial properties along Glen Huntly Road. The built form framework in the draft structure plan provides justification to limit heights with specified upper-level setbacks. To limit heights further, Council must clearly demonstrate that long-term housing and employment needs will be able to be met even with height restrictions.
Are the proposed heights mandatory or discretionary?
Proposed height restrictions are mandatory along Glen Huntly Road between Grange Road and Manchester Grove, where the old shop fronts are retained. Heights in the rest of the centre are proposed to be discretionary. The final decision on whether height restrictions are mandatory or discretionary will be with the Minister.
How does the draft Plan relate to Council's City Plan?
The City Plan has been adopted by Council as general city-wide policy guidance. As activity centres such as Glen Huntly are studied more closely, urban design analysis may show that taller buildings can be reasonably accommodated in some areas. These are considered and shared with the community for response.
How is overshadowing in residential areas minimised?
Buildings on the south side of Glen Huntly Road may cast a shadow on neighbouring properties to the south. To minimise this, buildings must be setback behind the sun angle at the September equinox measured from the top of the backyard fence of the adjacent residential property to the top of the proposed building. This standard is in the Planning Scheme.
Is there going to be any increase in affordable housing?
Affordable housing is an objective in the draft Plan. Council can negotiate with developers for affordable housing or other community benefits as part of the rezoning or planning permit processes. Affordable housing could also include social housing, which is affordable housing that is owned differently (i.e. publically or not-for-profit owned and/or managed). The draft Plan does not identify a site specifically, but we can seek opportunities to contribute to social housing when possible, as outlined in our Social and Affordable Housing Strategy.
How is the draft Plan being coordinated with the level crossing removal project and the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust Land Management Plan?
Plans for the level crossings have not been released yet. Council will use the Structure Plan to advocate to State government for high quality design and good public realm outcomes. The Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust Land Management Plan was recently released, and Council will refer to it to further inform the final Structure Plan
Where will the cycle path option on Queens avenue be located and why can't we have routes on both Queens avenue and Derby crescent?
This route is intended as a commuter path linking up the Frankston rail trail to the Djerring trail at Caulfield, and to encourage and promote local trips by bike. The location of the cycling path along Queens Ave is yet to be determined. The nature strip running along the outside of Caulfield Racecourse will be investigated as an option. The intention is for this to be a high-quality separated facility that can serve both cyclists and pedestrians (shared path). Both routes will serve the same function so building two would be unnecessary.