What is the Designing Our Neighbourhoods Project?

We are reviewing our planning policy on the features and design of residential areas. Our aim is to provide planning direction that helps to achieve safe, pleasant, and inviting neighbourhoods.

The Designing Our Neighbourhoods project will look into:

  • Existing planning policy in the Merri-bek Planning Scheme on housing, design, and neighbourhood character.
  • Developing new planning direction for the design of neighbourhoods, with a focus on medium density housing.
  • Developing a revised residential development framework that reflects State Planning Policy and expected population and housing growth.
  • What you told us

    In July-August 2022 we asked our community what they valued about their street or neighbourhood and where they think new housing should go.

    We heard from 257 people through community pop-ups, online activities, written submissions and industry submissions. We heard that vegetation, built form and streetscapes are the most highly valued characteristics in neighbourhood design.

    To find out more about what we heard, including reports from specific suburbs read the Engagement summary report.

    What happens next?

    We will use the feedback you gave us to guide the review of existing planning policy and what a future Merri-bek could look like.

    The next step of the project will be to draft new planning direction. To do this we will review the information we received during consultation, conduct our own investigation, and incorporate any changes proposed by the State Government.

    Why are we undertaking this review?

    In 2018, Council adopted the Planning Scheme Review Report 2018. This report recommended Council review its Neighbourhood Character local policy. It also recommended that Council review the location of its 'housing change areas'. These identify areas in the municipality for significant, incremental, or minimal housing change.

    The Council Plan 2021-2025 looks to design our neighbourhoods to be safe, pleasant, inviting places for all to visit and live. This includes an action to review neighbourhood character.

    How can the community influence this project?

    What is not changing?

    • Rezoning of non-residential land
    • Heights in non-residential areas
    • The heights of buildings allowed under the residential zones
    • Car parking provisions
    • Design of development in activity centres and industrial areas
    • Design of development over four storeys
    • Prohibiting new development

    What can be influenced?

    • Neighbourhood character
    • Design and housing objectives and strategies,

    and how these might be expressed in the planning scheme.

    More information and frequently asked questions

    How we engaged in stage 1

    Need more information?

    If you have questions or need more information about this project, you can contact us.

    Name Strategic Planning Unit
    Phone 9240 1111
    Email strategicplanning@merri-bek.vic.gov.au