The Springvale Activity Centre Structure Plan 2017 has helped facilitate the continued growth of central Springvale as a major commercial hub within greater Melbourne. The Activity Centre is also increasing and expanding the number of significant organisations and facilities it is home to, including numerous Asian community associations and the new Springvale Community Hub, designed by Lyons Architects and opened in 2020.
The sheer number and scale of planning approvals and development in central Springvale has raised concerns regarding whether appropriate levels of amenity will continue to be afforded to residents and workers within the precinct.
A review of the effects of the planning controls set in 2017 has been undertaken and we note that as a result, an Amendment has been gazetted (C203gdan) on 23 April which will implement new building height and setback controls within the Activity Centre.
There is now a greater emphasis within the Planning Scheme on active frontages, maintaining solar access to public areas and emphasising the importance of design excellence in development.
Design and Development Overlay, Schedule 6 is perhaps the most important part of the Amendment and seeks to concentrate high density development in a smaller area of the centre. Some sections of Springvale will be allowed to be developed with 12 storey buildings however there are tight controls on the maximum numbers of storeys moving towards the edges of the Activity Centre.
We note that this Overlay exempts buildings and works not within 30 metres of a residential zone from notice and review rights. This limits the capacity for the community to comment on (and for VCAT to review) Planning Permit applications, putting the onus entirely on Council to make appropriate decisions on the vast majority of applications.
We hope Council continues to monitor the effects of these planning controls to ensure that they are effective in continuing to support increased development density whilst maintaining the unique characteristics of Springvale.