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Where is growth of our city really going to occur?

Planning - Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ).

Planning – Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ).

By Tom Harringon
Director / Senior Principal

Planning is in the news here in Victoria, in particular the use of the Neighbourhood Residential Zone (NRZ).

Both sides of Government have tinkered with, or propose to tinker with the NRZ post State election in November.

If you are wondering what all of the fuss is about, here’s a little snapshot…


The NRZ is one of a number of residential zones. It has been applied to established residential areas where Councils are seeking minimal change to occur.

Land zoned NRZ generally comprises conventional density residential lots containing single dwellings. Some areas have heritage, environmental, or neighbourhood character values.

Critics of the zone identify with three main issues:

  1. There is too much NRZ.
  2. The zone itself doesn’t allow for enough growth (and by extension does nothing contribute to Melbourne’s overall housing supply).
  3. The zone has been applied disproportionately across Melbourne.

Proponents of the zone would argue that a ‘one size fits all” approach to planning of the city is inappropriate and that some established areas warrant a greater level of protection.

At this point, both sides of Government have elected to retain the Neighbourhood Residential Zone. This could be because each knows that NRZ areas offer very little opportunity to provide for growth (regardless of the zoning). Conventional density residential lots and fragmented land ownership are not where significant growth and development is likely to occur. Growth in these areas will be minimal making little contribution to Melbourne’s overall housing supply.

For this reason the NRZ is not a meaningful election battleground. Surely the planning debate about where to grow and house our future population should focused on where growth and positive city building can be practically achieved? This includes:

  • Large parcels of land in single ownership / strategic redevelopment sites
  • Urban renewal precincts
  • Activity centres
  • Regional centres
  • Former industrial or commercial areas
  • Land with proximity to reliable modes of transport
  • Land adjacent to main roads
  • Designated growth areas

PLC has some terrific city shaping projects underway in the above locations.

To find out more, please contact:

Tom Harrington

+61 0419 006 014

(03) 9978 7823

Message from the Managing Director

This Christmas we celebrate the end of our first full calendar year.  As we reflect on a year that exceeded all of our expectations, we are humbled by the faith that our clients have shown us and proud of the success that we have helped them achieve.  We made a decision when we started PLC that we wanted to attract a team of experienced consultants so that we could provide expertise across the full Project Lifecycle.  That goal continues to be met. In the last 6 months we have engaged an incredibly talented and experienced group of Planners including Tom Harrington, Paul McAleer and George Ward to complement our initial Environmental and Advisory capabilities. The seniority of our team has given confidence to our clients to entrust us with some truly inspiring projects.

Our offering to the market is unique to a boutique firm in that we provide an integrated Planning, Environmental and Advisory capability.

We are immensely proud of the success of a team that has grown rapidly to 12 consultants with key achievements including:

  • City defining Commercial, Health and Residential Planning projects in Melbourne’s CBD
  • Inspiring Sustainability projects such as the ‘Fishermans Bend Sustainability Hub’
  • Technical leadership in Renewable Energy and Waste to Energy projects
  • Business review and change management advisory services for private sector clients and an ASX200 project services company
  • Navigating the changing approvals requirements for Environmental Infrastructure and Resources projects.

Our success this year comes from collaboration with our clients, our staff and our stakeholders. We wish everyone a happy and relaxing festive season and look forward to sharing our excitement for 2018 with you!

Bah Humbug

Planning for your project over the Christmas Break

Christmas is coming. Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end… however there are implications for the timing and scheduling of projects which may be under consideration for town planning approval.

While many Council’s stay open over the Christmas break, each Council employs slightly different practices over this time. These include:

– Using an extra week of advertising for planning applications (14 days up to 21 days).
– Deferring advertising planning applications until the new year (From mid-January).
– Not undertaking community consultation on strategic projects through January.
– Council meetings are generally not held mid-December through until late January to decide on planning applications.
– The last Council meeting for the year is usually “chock full”. Matters can be deferred or pushed until the next meeting in January.

As such, we recommend:

1. Checking as to what special arrangements your individual Council uses over Christmas period.
2. Where possible, submitting applications, amendments, or further information responses in November to avoid disappointment.
3. Checking as to when your officer report or Council meeting is timetabled. A conversation with the Council officer assessing the application now can assist in “booking in” the consideration of your application.

Should you have any questions or need assistance with your planning project, please don’t hesitate to contact Tom, Paul or the team at PLC Consulting.