Property Council calls for review of CBD planning controls; changes must support future pipeline

The Property Council of Australia is calling for both major parties to commit to the establishment of a City Planning Advisory Group to review the existing C270 planning controls.

It is critical to re-set the balance of planning policies in the CBD to support investment and jobs.

According to the Property Council’s Office Market Report, released today, vacancy rates in Melbourne’s CBD have dropped to 3.6 per cent and are the lowest of any Australian CBD.

Victorian Executive Director (Acting), Matthew Kandelaars, said that commercial office development approvals have ground to a halt over the past two years and there is concern for the pipeline of future commercial office supply beyond 2020 to meet medium and long-term demand.

“Although there are still cranes across Melbourne’s skyline, if industry’s concerns are not immediately addressed, when those cranes come down they won’t be replaced and nor will the jobs they support,” said Mr Kandelaars.

Beyond the construction phase of new developments, commercial rents will rise without a continued pipeline of supply and erode Melbourne’s historic competitive advantage against interstate and overseas competitors.

“Strong supply is crucial to support our growing population and smart jobs of the future and to allow Victoria to remain internationally competitive,” said Mr Kandelaars.

Background

Planning Scheme Amendment C270 commenced in November 2016, with the intention of improving the public amenity of built form in the central city.

The Property Council’s submission to the State Government prior to the introduction of the C270 planning controls was that proposed setbacks, building separation, plot ratios and podium heights would jeopardise commercial development.

Commercial developments require large floor plates to attract anchor tenants, which underpin the viability of any proposed project. The setbacks and building separations required under C270 have the effect of diminishing possible floor plates to the point where viable commercial development is only possible on exceptionally large sites or through significant site amalgamation.

Since the commencement of Planning Scheme Amendment C270 in November 2016, only two new commercial developments (the Victoria Police Centre on Spencer Street; and Wesley Place on Lonsdale Street) and one new residential development have been approved, as assessed against those controls.

Media contact: Matthew Kandelaars | M 0416 443 555 |  E mkandelaars@propertycouncil.com.au