On Saturday 5 September 2015, the Planning Minister Richard Wynne announced new regulations for high rise development in Melbourne’s CBD.

An interim policy is in place for the next 12 months which will regulate height and plot ratios, with an emphasis on increased open space areas as a trade off for an increase in floors.

The Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has said that “there hasn’t been a significant update of the central city planning rules since 1999, and it is our duty and obligation to bring plans in line with our evolving CBD.”

The interim policy will be replaced following an extensive consultation period over the early months of 2016, before permanent controls are put in place in September 2016.

Mr. Wynne stated:

Melbourne’s planning scheme needs to balance scale and density occurring in our city, protecting heritage and character while preparing the city for more growth.”

This is a significant departure from the previous governments liberal approach to allowing developers push the limits, and is sure to ruffle the feathers of those with plans to develop high rise in the city in the future.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has said the “Memorandum of Understanding strikes a balance and continues the economic development of the city, so important for the prosperity of Melbourne and Victoria.

Equally, Melbourne is special and we need to pay attention to the built form in order to maintain the liveability of the city that we love so much”.

It’s a brave move by the Planning Minister, but this move needs to be backed by strong policy and regulation when implemented. It’ll be interesting to see the input and influence developers and lobbyists will have on the final controls to be adopted late next year.