Strathfieldsaye Urban Design Framework
Council budget was unanimously approved at the June 2018 Ordinary meeting, with some great outcomes for the Eppalock Ward and our rural townships and communities. Check out the budget detail
This month it great to see places like Strathfieldsaye moving ahead in planning matters with strong community input.
At our Ordinary meeting on the 20th of June, I moved that the Greater Bendigo City Council request the Minister for Planning to authorise council to prepare the Strathfieldsaye Urban Design Framework Planning Scheme Amendment C232 and when authorised, exhibit the amendment to the Greater Bendigo Planning Scheme.
Strathfieldsaye is growing rapidly with its population expected to grow from 5500 to 13,000 by 2036. A lot of changes have occurred in the township over the last two decades. An Urban Design Framework provides guidance for development in the Strathfieldsaye Town Centre and adjoining residential areas and town entrances. It aims to enable the town to develop to support and meet the needs of the community, but at the same time protect what is unique and attractive about Strathfieldsaye to ensure that it presents as a well-designed, vibrant, safe and attractive place.
The amendment proposes to implement the Strathfieldsaye UDF (2016) into the Greater Bendigo Planning Scheme and make some other changes to further implement the Strathfieldsaye Township Plan 2012 as recommended by the Greater Bendigo Residential Strategy Planning Panel.
It introduces a Local Area Plan to the Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) for Strathfieldsaye; removes the Strathfieldsaye Neighbourhood Character Policy; rezones land from Commercial 1 into Mixed Use Zone; applies a suite of Design and Development Overlays and makes some other minor changes.
This Amendment will implement Strathfieldsaye Urban Design Framework which has good community support. It brings together a number of strategic pieces of work undertaking in Strathfieldsaye over the years, into an easy to interpret Local Area Plan to put the township in a good position for the next two decades.
A lot of strategic planning has occurred in Strathfieldsaye over the last 10 years with varying levels of Planning Scheme implementation. Currently the Township Plan is only formally implemented through the Development Plan Overlay (DPO) 26 which only covers the town centre and the new development areas. This means the Plan has little weight in planning decisions outside of these areas leading to ambiguity and uncertainty for landowners, developers, planning permit applicants and City Statutory Planners.
Originally, Planning Scheme Amendment C137 to apply the DPO26 over the whole the the town to implement the Township Plan and replace a suite of existing development plan overlays, however this was not supported by the planning panel, which recommended that Council consider applying a Design and Development Overlay to these other areas instead. However, this left large areas of the town without planning direction, which is particularly problematic in the residential areas without reticulated sewerage that requires careful and coordinated planning.
In preparing this amendment, the City has considered the Planning Panel recommendations, the numerous studies, the existing Planning Scheme and have determined that a Local Area Plan should be prepared for Strathfieldsaye with seven distinct precincts based on the UDF and Township Plan objectives, which outline what type of development is appropriate in which areas.
The seven precincts are:
The review of neighbourhood character policies found that many areas have now been developed into traditional suburban densities with very little remaining bushland character, and that character objectives were similar between different character areas and very broad, eg. use earthy tones and retain canopy trees where possible. These broad objectives will be included in the Local Area Plan.
The review also recommends that Five Design and Development Plan Overlays are proposed to be applied to Strathfieldsaye: 3 to implement the UDF, 1 for the urban forest interface and 1 for the non-sewered residential areas. The community may note that one rezoning recommendation from the UDF is not included in this amendment, which is to rezone part of Coliban Water owned land at 528 Taylors Lane from Public Use Zone 1 to General Residential Zone. This is because Coliban Water is still undertaking planning for the remainder of the site for use as a water treatment basin and have not yet determined the exact area required.
Extensive consultation has occurred with the community and referral agencies during the preparation of the UDF and Township Plan, including a community reference group and open drop in sessions. Members of the community reference group were consulted during preparation of this Amendment with some changes being made to the Planning Scheme tools in response to comments and the identification of the need to rezone the former town hall to Public Use.
This amendment will be publicly exhibited to all affected parties as per the standard process, with those affected by an overlay or zoning change being directly notified. A communications plan will be prepared that will include a community bulletin and public information sessions.
Approval of Development Plan, use and development of Land for Childcare centre, 2 Lot subdivision and display of advertising signage at 11-15 Apsley Street, Strathfieldsaye.
I also moved and supported the application to construct a childcare centre and subdivide land into two lots and the approval of a development plan on Apsley Street, Strathfieldsaye.
Two pre-application meetings were carried out between applicant and Planning officers to discuss concept plans for a childcare centre at the subject site prior to lodgement of the application. The need for a Cultural Heritage Management Plan and for the proposal to reflect the Strathfieldsaye Urban Design Framework (UDF) was recorded in the meeting report. The applicant was agreeable to altering the building position and design to better reflect the objectives of the UDF in the revised set of plans submitted in January 2018.
The subject site is located eight kms to the south-east of the Bendigo CBD and is less than 50 meters north-west of the Strathfieldsaye shopping centre. It is a rectangular shaped lot of 5451 square metres and a maximum depth of 90 metres, relatively flat site. Other than post and wire boundary fence in average condition, the land has no buildings or structures.
A 30 metre unmade road (known as Wellesley Street) adjoins the western boundary and connects Strathfieldsaye Rd and Apsley Street. The future role for this section of land is outlined in the UDF.
Within a one kilometre radius, there are two preschools and two early learning centres which include Strathfieldsaye preschool, Assissi Kindergarten, Good Start Early Learning Centre and Jenny’s ELC. The Strathfieldsaye Primary School is located 260 metres due west and St Francis of the Fields Primary School is located 380 metres to the east.
I attended a consultation meeting on the 5 March 2018 at the Strathfieldsaye Shire Hall, with Mayor O’Rourke and Planning officers to address matters raised by objectors. The meeting did not resolve concerns and the applicant elected to respond via a written letter to address matters raised by objectors. No objections have been withdrawn.
Notice of application included seven letters to surrounding properties and two A3 signs placed on the property. To date, eight written objections were received. Out of the eight objections, five had identical submissions that raised the following key concerns:
The application has been assessed against the State Planning Policy Framework, Municipal Strategic Statement, Local Planning Policies and the Commercial 1 Zone and in considering the supporting information provided by the applicant and the nature of the proposed business, it is considered that the use and development of land for a childcare centre aligns well with the purpose of the zone. Developing this site will contribute towards mixed use, commercial centre that the Strathfieldsaye community desires.
Furthermore, the proposal will not have a detrimental impact on the amenity of the neighbourhood and the only material, goods or commodities to be transported from the land will be directly related to supporting the function of the business. The applicant has also agreed to change the colour of the cladding to better integrate with the natural environment and there is no evidence to suggest that childcare centres produce larage amounts of emissions, waste or noise.
Development Plan Overlay and Schedule 26 applies to this land and site. Schedule 26 identifies the site as being located in the Town Centre area. The officer concluded that that in relation to:
Whether Strathfieldsaye area requires another childcare centre is not a factor that can be given substantial weight in the consideration of the Planning application.
The proposal meets car parking requirements, advertising signage requirements and a Cultural Heritage Management Plan was approved by the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation.
Whether Strathfieldsaye area requires another childcare centre is not a factor that can be given substantial weight in the consideration of the Planning application. This is not a matter for discretion, rather it is guided by the zone and overlay provisions. Nonetheless, the applicant has carried out their own due diligence in determining the economic viability of such a venture.
In conclusion, the development plan demonstrates genuine effort from the applicant to align the proposal closely as practicable to both the Strathfieldsaye Township Plan and the recently adopted UDF. The use and development of the site for a childcare centre will help support one of the fastest growing urban areas of Greater Bendigo by providing additional employment opportunities and a service to benefit the local community.
The next Council meeting is on Wednesday July 18, 2018 at 6pm at the Bendigo Town Hall, perhaps I might see you there? Or you can tune in via the live broadcast on Phoenix FM 106.7
Yvonne Wrigglesworth is a Councillor in the Eppalock Ward, City of Greater Bendigo Council.