Overview

Geelong is growing! As one of Australia’s fastest growing cities, we’re expecting many more people to choose to live and work in Geelong by 2050 and we need to plan for a vibrant, lively and livable city centre to support that growth.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has developed a draft Central Geelong Framework Plan and proposed planning controls for central Geelong to help guide the city as it grows.

These documents give a practical refresh to our existing planning framework to allow more people, businesses and opportunities to flourish in our city centre, without negatively impacting what we already love about it.

A view down Moorabool Street, central Geelong in the early evening. The road is wet and the light from Westpac and the Market Square shops is reflecting on the tarmac.

Revitalising Central Geelong (RCG) has been working to create a central Geelong that achieves the aims set out in the RCG Action Plan. The draft Framework Plan and proposed planning controls are fundamental to making that revitalisation happen.

By making sure there’s guidance for how and where central Geelong changes, we’ll be able to continue to build the city centre into an attractive hub of activities and destinations.

What does this mean?

The draft Framework Plan and proposed planning controls will work together to guide development in the city centre.

In the next 30 years, central Geelong is expected to have a population of over 12,000 people and provide employment and services for more than 35,000 people.

To make sure central Geelong is an attractive and functional place for all this to happen, the draft Framework Plan and proposed planning controls aim to direct development in a sustainable, appealing, and efficient way.

How does it work?

This video shows how the proposed planning controls have been developed and will be implemented. The proposed planning controls will work to support developments that respect and improve the amenity and appeal of the city centre.

These include guidance on built form such as preferred maximum building heights, maximum street wall heights, building setback and separation requirements, overshadowing requirements, urban design and heritage guidelines, urban greening, wind considerations, land use directions and specific precinct directions.

All the directions will work to support central Geelong’s character and function as it grows over time.

Why this approach?

This video shows how the proposed changes will manage growth in the city. The updated planning controls work towards protecting open spaces and the liveability of Geelong as the city centre accommodates new development and population growth.

To determine the proposed controls, independent analysis of the city centre’s future capacity was undertaken. This analysis determines the amount of floor space required for the city to meet future demand for employment and housing.

The video explains growth demand and capacity in more detail and shows that without the proposed changes, a few very large developments could quickly soak up that demand, and this may negatively impact other development opportunities and property values elsewhere in the city.

Frequently Asked Questions

The draft CGFP is a document that will guide the future use and development of land in the central Geelong area. It will also provide specific directions for the urban design of the area.

The draft CGFP contains two main components:

  • a Structure Plan for central Geelong
  • an Urban Design Framework for central Geelong

The Structure Plan provides the vision and specific land use and development directions in the themes of Land Use, Built form and Design, Residential Growth and Housing Choice, Transport and Movement and Public Realm and Open Space.

The Urban Design Framework provides specific design and development guidance for future developments within central Geelong.

Once the draft CGFP is approved it will be operational immediately and form part of the Victoria Planning Provisions. The Greater Geelong planning scheme will be updated, and it will be enforced through the Planning and Environment Act 1987.

The draft CGFP will guide decision making for land use and development, achieving integrated management, infrastructure and development outcomes for central Geelong that supports the vision for the city centre.

It does this by setting targeted policy and planning directions for the city centre. These will direct building height and density to appropriate areas, protect the existing character of central Geelong, and ensure new developments complement or deliver benefits to the community at street level.

It will:

  • update land use and built form guidelines that have not changed for 10 years,
  • contribute to a more creative, sustainable and liveable city,
  • respond to development demand and evolving community expectations,
  • identify how the city can grow while keeping its best features, and
  • integrate visions and related strategies for how the city functions and looks.

The draft CGFP will result in updated planning controls that inform development proposals and approvals. It will also help government make decisions about the management and improvement of public streets and spaces.

Once implemented, this package will provide guidance for the land use and development of central Geelong.

It will also support economic recovery and growth by providing certainty to guide future public and private investment in the city centre.

Central Geelong sits at the heart of the regional centre of Geelong. Providing essential services and acting as a hub for regional and metropolitan travel and economic activity, the city centre is expecting to see a rapid rise in residents and visitors in the next 30 years.

To plan for this and to support regional Victoria’s recovery from the pandemic, the Victorian Government is reforming the Central Geelong Planning Framework.

Doing so will promote investment in central Geelong, giving certainty for land use and development in the area and guiding the growth of a liveable and attractive city centre.

The interim controls, and proposed permanent planning controls, are required to respond to the increase in quantity and scale of development proposed and approved within central Geelong in recent years.

Central Geelong is predominantly covered by the Activity Centre Zone – Schedule 1 (ACZ1), which was introduced in 2013. The ACZ1 is now outdated. The lack of planning guidance has resulted in a number of applications and development approvals that have resulted in overdevelopment of particular sites and threatening the public realm.

This includes developments overshadowing key public spaces and corridors, no assessment of wind impacts despite the city’s proximity to the bay, and development proposals exceeding referred building heights being considered as part of the CGFP.

Central Geelong is expected to have a population of over 12,000 residents by 2050. This will bring both opportunities and challenges, but Geelong is well placed to ensure those changes lead to a liveable city that supports jobs and economic investment. By planning for that growth now, central Geelong will become a lifestyle city with excellent services and facilities, green open spaces, an iconic waterfront precinct and a thriving streetscape comprising retail, hospitality and laneways.

We know the Geelong region is growing, so we’re doing the work now to ensure the city has a clear role to support that growth and protecting what makes it such a unique and liveable city already.

This is an exciting opportunity for central Geelong to guide its own future and have a plan that reflects what makes it great as well as future opportunities and challenges. It’s about looking ahead to what type of city we want Geelong to be in the future and doing something about it now.

DELWP has prepared the draft CGFP and proposed planning controls in collaboration with the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, the City of Greater Geelong, the Revitalising Central Geelong Partnership, MGS Architects, key stakeholders and community groups, and other government agencies.

Both documents have been informed by community consultation, the Greater Geelong planning scheme and strategic planning work, and further technical studies by DELWP.

The success of similar reforms in the Melbourne CBD, such as Project 3000 and Amendment C270 to the Melbourne Planning Scheme, are proof reforms like this can work. These projects put people and their experience of central Geelong at the heart of the changes. By planning for people, we’re focusing on reforms that support a livable, healthy and vibrant city.

The draft CGFP brings together many aspirations for central Geelong as a city of business and jobs, a city of design and accessibility, a city of health and education, a city for arts, heritage, culture and events and a city for people to work, live and play.

Perhaps the greatest change for central Geelong will be to increase its residential population from about 2,000 to over 12,000 people. These residents will support existing shops and businesses, while also creating new opportunities and activity.

With a greater emphasis on people, design will need to protect people’s amenity while doing more to respect existing heritage, character and reduce environmental impacts. Central Geelong will be a destination of choice, where attractions, services, open spaces, and design excellence attracts investment and people.

New guidelines for the city’s skyline will direct taller buildings away from the waterfront, the retail core and the residential edges of the city. New precincts will have their unique mix of land uses and a preferred character to guide future development while protecting the elements that are important to central Geelong.

By updating planning controls and implementing clear design guidelines, we can facilitate growth in central Geelong to ensure the city changes in a way that means it continues to be somewhere people want to live, work and visit.

The changes are not about restricting growth or economic investment, they are about providing certainty to the development industry on the direction for growth in the Geelong CBD. The proposed updates to the draft CGFP and the proposed changes seeks to ensure that the growth and development in the central city does not negatively impact what makes it such a great place already and that change reflects community expectations.

The reforms will build on the success of existing projects already happening across the city centre, including those being delivered through the Revitalising Central Geelong Action Plan (including the next stages of the Malop Street Green Spine, the Arts and Culture precinct creating laneway breakthroughs, and improving accessibility in the CBD) and the $382.48 million Geelong City Deal.

Stronger, clearer planning controls support the implementation of those vital projects and will mean they are embedded in future planning and decision making.

Yes, the draft CGFP includes an Urban Design Framework, which details guidelines and requirements for future urban designs. These will ensure new developments in central Geelong are built with respect to the existing character and heritage of their siting, as well as the surrounding public realm.

The guidelines include preferred and maximum building heights, streetwall heights, building setbacks and separation, and are determined by the location of the development. These directions will provide protection for existing public open space, improve street frontages, reduce adverse wind affects and contribute to an improved pedestrian experience.

These guidelines will work to support Geelong’s UNESCO City of Design designation.

Any new buildings within the city centre will be required to comply with the directions in the draft CGFP and proposed planning controls, in addition to any other applicable guidelines, policies or requirements. This includes the Victorian Government’s Better Apartments Design Standards.

These reforms will play an important role in supporting Geelong and the region recover from the impacts of the pandemic by driving investment and supporting local jobs.

These reforms will guide development to produce a well-designed, attractive and lively city centre, which will draw residents and visitors in to drive economic recovery.

The proposed planning controls will help guide development in the central city and support a vision for Geelong as:

  • a lifestyle city, with open green spaces, a thriving waterfront precinct, an exciting laneways network and vibrant retail and hospitality scene
  • a city for education, innovation and design
  • a national, state and regional centre for services
  • a health and wellness, injury prevention and recovery city
  • a sports and events city
  • a lived city with housing choice

DELWP is leading a comprehensive review and update of the planning framework that applies to Central Geelong, in line with a key action of the State Government’s Revitalising Central Geelong Action Plan (2016).

DELWP has prepared a draft Structure Plan and draft Urban Design Framework for central Geelong to ensure planning controls facilitate a thriving activity centre and provide greater certainty to the community about the future development of central Geelong.

Changes will include amended planning controls, that inform development proposals and approvals.

They will direct density and height to appropriate areas while protecting the character of what makes Geelong unique, ensure new builds are well designed - liveable, sustainable and sit well within the skyline, protect and enhance Geelong’s heritage sites and ensure new developments complement or deliver benefits for the community.

The CGFP has been identified by the Minister for Planning as a key COVID-19 recovery project. The reforms in the draft CGFP will play an important role supporting Geelong and the region recover from the impacts of the pandemic by driving investment and supporting local jobs.

The Minister has referred the draft framework plan and design guidelines to an independent Advisory Committee. The committee will assess the proposed changes and undertake community consultation.

The CGFP and proposed planning controls are available for viewing on the Victorian Government’s Engage Victoria engagement website at engage.vic.gov.au/CGFPAC.

The draft CGFP identifies several opportunities and proposes strategies to manage the movement of traffic, pedestrians and public transit options including, but not limited to, improving public transport connections from central Geelong to the Melbourne CBD and regional centres, including Ballarat and Warrnambool, improving cycling connections within central Geelong and maximising economic activity by reducing and discouraging at grade car parking.

The draft CGFP also includes an action recommending the City of Greater Geelong develop a Central Geelong Parking Strategy to investigate and address current and future parking issues.

The draft Amendment C431ggee to the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme seeks to implement the findings of the draft CGFP.

Specifically, the proposed amendment seeks to:

  • Amend Clause 21.09 Central Geelong of the Local Planning Policy Framework (LPPF) to update the policy consistent with the CGFP 2021, delete redundant provisions and correct drafting anomalies.
  • Amend Clause 21.10 Geelong Western Wedge by renaming the clause to the ‘Latrobe Terrace and Western Beach Areas’, remove reference to Inner Wedge Precinct, delete redundant provisions and correct drafting anomalies.
  • Replace Schedule 1 to Clause 37.08 Activity Centre Zone (ACZ1) with a new clause to introduce revised land use and built form controls consistent with the directions of the CGFP 2021.
  • Rezone Residential Growth Zone 1 (RGZ1), Mixed Use Zone (MUZ) and Commercial 1 Zone (C1Z) land within the CGFP boundary to the ACZ1.
  • Amend Schedule 17 to Clause 43.02 Design and Development Overlay (DDO17) to remove reference to the Inner Wedge Precinct, delete redundant provisions and correct drafting anomalies.
  • Insert Schedule 46 to Clause 43.02 Design and Development Overlay (DDO46) to introduce built form controls consistent with the directions of the CGFP and apply it to land zoned Public Use Zone 2 (PUZ2) within the CGFP boundary.
  • Amend Schedule to Clause 72.08 Background Documents to insert the CGFP 2021, which comprises the Central Geelong Structure Plan and Revitalising Central Geelong Urban Design Framework

The proposed amendment will build on Amendment C24ggee (interim planning controls) by holistically reviewing the ACZ1 as well as other local planning policies and other applicable planning provisions to improve central Geelong in accordance with the draft CGFP.

The interim controls (Amendment C424ggee to the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme) apply to land within the ACZ1 and introduces interim planning controls that will include mandatory overshadowing controls to protect key public spaces, mandatory wind impact assessment for new developments, updated setback and building separation requirements and preferred maximum building heights in specified areas of central Geelong without current height controls. Specifically, the amendment:

  • Applies mandatory shadowing controls for key public spaces and discretionary shadowing controls for north-south, east-west corridors and key laneways within the Geelong CBD.
  • Applies wind effect requirements for future developments to ensure it does not result in an unsafe wind condition around its vicinity at the ground floor level. The requirement prohibits developments over 40 metres that would result in an unsafe wind condition at the ground floor level.
  • Applies preferred maximum building height controls in ten sub precincts, which currently do not have preferred maximum building height such as the Mercer Street and Station precincts, in sub precinct 5e of the Inner Western Wedge precinct, the Civil and Cultural Precinct and sub precincts 2e and 2f of the Commercial Living and Medical precinct.
  • Updated setback and building separation requirements are updated to distinguish different requirements for developments that are 20-45 metres and developments that are 45 metres and above. The amendment now requires that developments at 45 metres and above, should be setback a minimum of 10 metres from side and rear boundaries, or setback a minimum of 10 metres from the centre line of an adjoining laneway and be separated by a minimum of 20 metres from other buildings within the site.

The proposed Amendment C431ggee refreshes preferred maximum building heights for sites located within the CGFP study area.

  • The preferred maximum heights proposed as part of the draft amendment are informed by land use capacity and floor area space assessment, shadow analysis and built form context (including heritage) response for central Geelong.

The Advisory Committee will provide the Minister for Planning with advice on the draft CGFP and draft Amendment C431ggee. The draft documentation will then be finalised for a decision by the Minister for Planning by the end of 2021.

Amendment C431ggee to the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme does not come into effect until its gazettal, which occurs when a decision by the Minister for Planning is made.

No, the draft CGFP and proposed planning controls do not have any immediate impact on landowners/occupiers, local communities, industry groups and/or businesses.

There are interim planning controls already in force for the area that apply to a number of live applications and any future applications made, prior to the implementation of the finalised permanent controls.

Once the draft CGFP and the draft Amendment C431ggee are approved, all new permit applications will be required to comply with the conditions set out in the documents.

The Minister for Planning is the planning authority to deliver and implement the CGFP.

The Minister for Planning is the responsible authority for determining planning permit applications in central Geelong that propose developments of five or more storeys, 50 dwellings or 5,000 square metres.

DELWP has prepared the draft CGFP in consultation with officers from the City of Greater Geelong. Council officers were part of a number of stakeholder workshops held by DELWP between August and October 2020.  A councillor briefing was undertaken in early 2021 to provide an overview of the draft CGFP and go through the next steps of the project.

The Victorian Government and the City of Greater Geelong Council recognise the Traditional Owners of Geelong (Djilang), the Wadawurrung, and their continuing connection to Country.

The Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, the Registered Aboriginal Party for the Traditional Owners of the area, have been consulted with in the development of directions which guide the built form in Geelong (Djilang) to recognise Wadawurrung Traditional Owner values and their continuing connection to Country.

Yes. DELWP will make the documents available for public viewing until 4:00pm Wednesday 7 July, 2021. Submissions will be invited during this time. The submission process is independently managed by Planning Panels Victoria.

In addition to the current consultation period, the draft documents have been informed by consultations undertaken by the Revitalising Central Geelong Partnership. This includes extensive feedback from workshops held in December 2019 that included key stakeholders from local business, infrastructure management, arts and culture practitioners, community development organisations and all levels of government.

Submissions must be made in writing. Online submissions are preferred and can be lodged via the Victorian Government’s engagement website at engage.vic.gov.au/CGFPAC. Hard copy submissions must be accompanied by a cover sheet, which is available by calling the DELWP Customer Service Centre on 136 186. Each written submission must have its own cover sheet and they cannot be copied. Submissions cannot be accepted by email.

All submissions must state the name and address of the person making the submission.

Submissions will be treated as public documents and published on the Victorian Government’s engagement website.

While online submissions are preferred, in the event you do not have access to the internet, written submissions may be made via mail. Hard copy submissions must be accompanied by a cover sheet, available by calling the DELWP Customer Service Centre on 136 186. Each written submission must have its own cover sheet and they cannot be copied. Submissions cannot be accepted by email.

The Minister for Planning has referred the draft CGFP and draft Amendment C431ggee to the Geelong Planning Scheme to an independent Advisory Committee (Committee) for review. The Committee will consider the content of submissions in relation to the draft CGFP and the proposed planning controls through a series of public hearings.

Members of the public and any other parties seeking to be heard at the public hearing are required to submit a written submission and indicate that they would like to be heard at the hearing. The Committee will consider all written submissions, regardless of whether the submitter requests to be heard at the public hearing.

After the consultation period, the Committee will hold a directions hearing, expected to occur in the week of 26 July 2021, where the necessary arrangements and timetable for the public hearing will be made. The public hearing will commence six weeks later, which is expected to be in the week of 6 September 2021 and run for a month afterwards.

If hearings are held in person, they are likely to be convened in Geelong at a venue to be determined, or by video conference if COVID-19 restrictions remain in place. Some sessions may also be held in Melbourne. Submitters who have requested to be heard or kept informed will be advised of the venue in advance of hearings.

The Committee is required to provide a report with recommendations to the Minister within 40 business days from the completion of hearings.

The Minister for Planning has referred the Draft Central Geelong Planning Framework Plan and draft Amendment C431ggee to the Geelong Planning Scheme to an independent Advisory Committee (Committee) for review.

The Advisory Committee will provide the Minister for Planning with advice on the draft Framework Plan and proposed planning controls.

The Advisory Committee process will be run by Planning Panels Victoria, similarly to a planning panel, in accordance with its Terms of Reference.The Terms of Reference for the Committee are available on the Engage Victoria website at engage.vic.gov.au/CGFPAC.

The submission process is independently managed by Planning Panels Victoria.

If you would like any further information about making a submission or the Advisory Committee process, please call the information line on 136 186 (open 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday) or email Planning Panels Victoria at planning.panels@delwp.vic.gov.au.

The Committee is required to provide a report with recommendations to the Minister within 40 business days from the completion of hearings.

Upon receipt of the Committee report, the Minister for Planning may seek the advice of DELWP on its recommendations and for the draft CGFPand proposed planning controls to be updated and finalised.

Once approved by the Minister, the CGFP will become operational and form part of the standard provisions of the Victoria Planning Provisions, with immediate effect. A planning scheme amendment (Amendment C431ggee to the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme) will also be progressed to implement it into the Greater Geelong planning scheme.

View the CGFP webinar

Hosted by Diana Taylor, Chair of the Geelong Authority, watch an expert panel discuss the draft CGFP and what it means for central Geelong.

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Page last updated: 21/06/21