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Amendment C149 - Knox Central Structure Plan

Draft Knox Central Structure Plan and Planning Scheme Amendment C149

Council received a copy of the Planning Panel report in August 2017. The recommendations will be presented to Council at the 9 October 2017 Strategic Planning Meeting.

The Planning Panel report is available along with Council’s submission to the panel hearing here:
Amendment C149 Knox Central - Panel Hearing (including Council's Part A submission)

Current Status

At the Strategic Planning Committee Meeting of Council, held on 9 October 2017, Council resolved to adopt the amendment, and to submit the amendment to the Department of Environment, Land, Water, and Planning (DEWLP) for approval.

The amendment has been submitted to DEWLP for the Minister of Planning to approve the amendment.

The Council report and appendices, including officer recommendations to Council presented at the 9 October 2017 meeting can be accessed here, or via the link below.

What is Knox Central?

Knox Central is essentially Knox’s ‘CBD’. The boundaries of the Knox Central Activity Centre are shown in the map below. Knox Central serves a broad cross-section of the community within Knox and across the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Anchored by the shopping centre it includes retail, residential, industrial, commercial, educational uses, along with significant areas of open space.

Map of Knox Central
Map of Knox Central – activity centre boundary shown in heavy black line (green shading shows open space, reserves and landscaped roadways).

What is the Knox Central Structure Plan and ‘Planning Scheme Amendment C149’?

The Knox Central Structure Plan is a strategic plan that provides a vision, objectives and actions for the future of the Knox Central Activity Centre. The Structure Plan includes guidance for changes to land use, built form including building heights, transport networks and public spaces that together can achieve positive economic, social and environmental outcomes. It will provide the direction for public and private investment and development over the next 20 years. Access the draft Structure Plan (PDF)

In order to facilitate the changes proposed in the draft Structure Plan, changes to the Knox Planning Scheme are required. The proposed planning scheme changes relating to Knox Central (known as ‘Amendment C149’) are provided in draft form alongside the draft Structure Plan, so that landowners and the community can provide feedback on the proposed planning controls as well as the higher level direction provided in the Structure Plan itself.

View the amendment documents on the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website.

What is Council’s proposed future for Knox Central?

The draft Knox Central Structure Plan proposes the following vision for the future of Knox Central:

“Knox Central will be a vibrant modern mixed-use activity centre that attracts residents, workers and visitors from across Melbourne’s east. It will be the most well known and popular destination in the east of Melbourne.

It will be a busy and attractive urban centre which has a strong connection to the natural environment. It will provide a focus for public life, connecting people and communities, and will be an attractive place to live, work, and play.

Knox Central’s physical form, encompassing a distinctive boulevard presence along Burwood Highway alongside the well-activated Blind Creek Corridor and Lewis Park, will provide a unique Activity Centre presence in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.”

Burwood Highway Conditions Entering Knox Central
Artist’s Impression: Possible future Burwood Highway conditions, entering Knox Central from the city.

To achieve this vision, the draft Structure Plan has the following seven areas of focus:

  • 1. Enhancing Knox Central’s role as the civic and public heart of the municipality – the draft Structure Plan identifies the location for a future civic/community precinct adjacent to Lewis Park.
  • 2. Enabling the development of high quality medium and higher density housing - the Structure Plan identifies existing and additional locations that could be suitable for medium and higher density residential development.
  • 3. Establishing Knox Central as a focal point of activity including employment, retail, community, entertainment and leisure activity – the draft Structure Plan provides a framework to support a variety of activities.
  • 4. Capitalising on Knox Central’s natural and environmental features – the draft Structure Plan identifies actions to enhance the natural environment in Knox including a detailed master plan for Lewis Park and the Blind Creek corridor.
  • 5. Facilitating an accessible and safe active and public transport network – the draft Structure Plan identifies areas of focus for improving public transport and walking/cycling to and within Knox Central.
  • 6. Providing an efficient street network - the draft Structure Plan identifies locations for future new road connections within Knox Central and improvements to existing roads.
  • 7. Achieving high quality built form and public realm - the draft Structure Plan provides detailed guidance for building and development, and includes discretionary height controls for buildings to support more intensive development in Knox Central (ranging up to approximately 13 storeys in some locations along Burwood Highway).

Why is this happening now?

This is the first time in over a decade that Council has spoken with the community about the future of Knox Central. The time is right for Council and the community to focus on Knox Central for a number of reasons:

  • In 2015, Council adopted the Knox Housing Strategy which designates Knox Central as an area that will accommodate higher density housing. Focusing higher density residential development in locations such as Knox Central supports Council’s and the community’s desire to maintain the low scale character of Knox’s suburban streets.
  • The approval of a significant expansion of Westfield Knox and recent developments such as Kubix, Knoxia and the redevelopment at Villa Maria signal increased investment and development in the area.
  • Demand for higher density housing across outer suburban Melbourne has grown and this is increasingly the case in Knox. Knox Central is well-placed to respond to this shift, with large areas of underutilised land.
  • Recent infrastructure improvements - most notably, Eastlink which provides improved connections between Knox and the broader Melbourne metropolitan area.
Burwood Highway Conditions
Artist’s Impression – Possible future Burwood Highway conditions

Is all of this set in stone? Can I have a say?

The draft Knox Central Structure Plan and proposed changes to the Knox Planning Scheme were on public exhibition from 10 November 2016 to 16 December 2016. The exhibition period for Amendment C149 has now closed.

Directions and Panel Hearing

Directions Hearing

The Directions Hearing was held on 27 April 2017. The purpose of the directions hearing was to:

  • Consider any preliminary or procedural issues and give directions about the conduct of the Panel Hearing including the exchange of any expert witness reports;
  • Make arrangements for the Panel Hearing, including the Timetable and Panel Hearing venue; and
  • Answer any questions submitters may have about the Panel Hearing.

Panel Hearing

The purpose of the Panel Hearing (held from Friday 2 to Wednesday 7 June 2017) was to give submitters an opportunity to speak in support of their written submission and to hear from the Planning Authority (Knox City Council).

What happens next?

The amendment has been lodged with DELWP for approval by the Minister for Planning. The amendment only becomes part of the Knox Planning Scheme if and when it is approved by the Minister for Planning.

Where can I get more information?

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