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Government approves planning agenda for Suburban Rail Loop Stage 1

Property & Development
Melbourne trains
Last week, the Victorian Minister for Environment and Climate Change, the Hon Lily D ’Ambrosio MP, approved amendment GC197 to the Bayside, Kingston, Monash and Whitehorse Planning Schemes. This is a significant amendment that sets out the planning agenda for stage 1 of the Suburban Rail Loop, and follows the release of the Environmental Effects Statement in late 2021.

What land does the amendment affect?

The amendment affects land within the municipalities of Bayside, Kingston, Monash and Whitehorse in and around the proposed route for the Suburban Rail Loop (stage 1).

What has been approved?

The amendment makes a number of changes to the Bayside, Kingston, Monash and Whitehorse Planning Schemes. The changes include:

  1. The application of the Special Controls Overlay 14 to land proposed for the Suburban Rail Loop East project.
  2. The application of the Special Controls Overlay 15 to land surrounding the proposed for the Suburban Rail Loop East project.
  3. The introduction of two incorporated documents into the Kingston, Monash and Whitehorse Planning Schemes:

a.   Suburban Rail Loop East Incorporated Document, August 2022.

b.   Suburban Rail Loop East Infrastructure Protection Incorporated Document, August 2022.

This second document will ensure that future development in the vicinity of the project does not adversely affect the project infrastructure. It introduces new permit triggers on a range of buildings and works, including demolition and earthworks. Importantly, if a permit application is solely triggered by this Incorporated document, it will be exempt from the notice requirements of section 52(1)(a), (b) and (d), the decision requirements of section 64(1), (2) and (3) and the review rights of section 82(1) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic).

For applications that trigger a permit under the SCO15, the Suburban Rail Loop Authority is the determining referral authority.

The Minister for Planning will now be the responsible authority for administering and enforcing the provisions of the Bayside Planning Scheme, Kingston Planning Scheme, Monash Planning Scheme and Whitehorse planning scheme as they relate to the use and development of land for the project under the SCO14.

How will this amendment affect landowners?

The changes may mean that a planning permit is required for buildings and works that did not previously require planning permission. For example:

  • Demolition of a building.
  • Internal and external alterations of an existing building if it increases the height or footprint of the building.
  • A domestic swimming pool or spay which has the capacity to hold water at a depth greater than 2.5 metres.
  • Installation of a water tank if the tank or bulk storage liquid depth could exceed 2.5 metres, the total storage exceeds 50,000 litres or the associated works would be more than 1m below the Surface Level.

These permit triggers are not exhaustive and will vary from site-to-site.

The major political parties are divided on the timing for the delivery of the Suburban Rail Loop. Depending on the outcome of the State election in November, we expect further changes will be made to facilitate the delivery of the project. These may include the acquisition of land in and around the project to facilitate its delivery.

To understand how you or your land may be affected by this amendment, please contact Lucy Eastoe in our Property and Development Team.

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