Activity Centre Planning

Our activity centres – generally our retail streets - host a vibrant and constantly evolving range of retail, entertainment, hospitality and commercial services. 

Our major activity centres: 

  • Swan Street – Richmond 
  • Bridge Road – Richmond 
  • Victoria Street – Richmond 
  • Smith Street – Collingwood/Fitzroy 
  • Brunswick Street – Fitzroy

Our neighbourhood centres: 

  • Johnston Street – Collingwood/Abbotsford 
  • Queens Parade – Fitzroy North/ Clifton Hill 
  • Gertrude Street - Fitzroy 
  • Heidelberg Road – Alphington
  • St Georges Road – Fitzroy North
  • Nicholson Street – Carlton North and Fitzroy North

We also have smaller, local centres which serve the local community. They are also appropriate locations for employment growth however this growth will be modest.

Our local centres:

  • Berry Street/Ramsden Street – Clifton Hill
  • Lygon Street – Carlton North/Princes Hill
  • Nicholson Street – Carlton North
  • Rathdowne Street – Carlton North
  • Spensley Street – Clifton Hill 

What is activity centre planning?

Our major and neighbourhood centres are likely to accommodate growth in retail and commercial floor space, as well as in housing.  We need to plan for this growth and introduce controls into the Yarra Planning Scheme which will determine an appropriate scale of new development.  

We need to undertake a thorough review of our activity centres in order to justify the introduction of new controls into the planning scheme.  We have to consider, among other things, how the centres look now – the types and heights of buildings and their heritage significance.  We have to consider what scale of future growth is reasonable and we have to balance this against state planning policy which directs growth to activity centres.

Why are you doing this work?

Future employment and housing growth will bring new development.

We want to ensure that development in our activity centres is appropriate so that the character of the centre is maintained.

What sort of planning controls are you developing?

The planning controls we will introduce are Design and Development Overlays (DDOs) which are a tool in the planning scheme that allows us to set specific requirements that relate to design and form of new development, such as (among other things):

  • Set height limits for new buildings
  • Set the street wall height limit
  • Determine how far the building should be set back above the street wall and from neighbouring properties at the rear.

We are making sure that the heritage character of the centres is one of the key issues that help determine the appropriate heights and setbacks. 

How do you get these controls into the planning scheme?

We introduce these controls through a planning scheme amendment which is a statutory process set out in the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

How much progress are you making?

A number of projects have reached the planning scheme amendment stage. You can read the details on our current amendments.

We are currently preparing the strategic work that underpins the new planning controls in Bridge Road, Victoria Street, Brunswick Street and Smith Street, and Heidelberg Road. We will prepare planning scheme amendments for these centres throughout the year. 

We have prepared interim DDOs to provide temporary guidance. These will assist in providing future directions for activity centres and to better manage changes