Precinct Structure Planning

Who creates a Precinct Structure Plan?

The Metropolitan Planning Authority (MPA) is the statutory authority that oversees the development of Precinct Structure Plans (PSPs) for Melbourne's growth areas.

PSPs lay out roads, shopping centres, schools, parks, housing, facilities, employment, natural open space and connections to transport for new communities of between 10,000 and 30,000 people.

Before planning begins

Councils, state government agencies and service providers are notified of the MPA's intent to prepare a PSP, which triggers an information exchange to inform the plan. This exchange is usually data and evidence to support decisions.

Developing the plan for the new community

The MPA is generally responsible for preparing the PSP, with stakeholders being consulted to varying degrees. Firstly, investigations are commissioned to provide a technical basis for planning in new growth areas.

The investigations usually include a ‘community infrastructure needs assessment’, which determines the nature and size of community facilities. These facilities typically include schools, early years facilities, public open spaces, sporting facilities, community centres and libraries.

As these assessments determine land allocation, it is important that the technical specialist making the assessment applies robust methodology and that the relevant councils have a current needs analysis/evidence base to inform the process.

A vision for the new community is drafted that also considers character and identity, general planning parameters, environmental, social, economic and physical infrastructure concerns.

Once all relevant investigations have been finalised, the PSP itself is prepared.

Turning a plan into a community

The new Precinct Structure Plan is now approved by the Minister for Planning and incorporated into the local planning scheme.

A significant proportion of infrastructure for a new community is funded through the Development Contributions Scheme. These contributions include payments or in-kind works, facilities or services provided by developers toward the identified needs of a community.

Infrastructure funded through these contributions generally includes roads, public transport, open space and community facilities. Items not included in a DCP are funded either directly by councils, state government departments (for example the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development funds schools) and other providers.

A Development Contributions Plan (DCP) is typically prepared by the MPA in consultation with councils and developers, and sits alongside each Precinct Structure Plan.

With the PSP approved, the relevant council/s take responsibility for coordinating its implementation. In order to start developing their land, landowners must apply through the relevant council for planning permits. Development commences once building permits are issued.

How are growth areas planned?