How can we better utilise government owned land?

Last Wednesday a Victorian Planning and Environment Law Association (VPELA) seminar on Government land, had presenters from both State (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and VicTrack) and Local (City of Banyule) Government departments.

Part of the evening focused on the introduction in 2016 of the Fast Track Government Land Service, which is an initiative that charges DELWP with the responsibility of rezoning disused government land sites for suitable reuse.

As explained on the night, State departments have had a history of banking land for long periods however, a policy change in August 2015 now requires that non-used land be declared.

It was interesting to hear that a number of the sites that have been sitting idle for years are still school sites – having in mind population growth and the perception that there have been considerable sales of disused school sites over many years. We realise of course, the existing sites may be in the ‘wrong’ areas.

The aim of the fast track service is to rezone land within six to seven months. If the land is to be rezoned for private redevelopment, the rezoning process can be drawn out compared with a rezoning for a Council purpose such as public open space.

Windsor Station's proposed new look. Image: SMA Projects

Notwithstanding this, the principle of forcing departments to dispose of non-used land will have economic benefits. An example of this was the former Elsternwick rifle range owned by VicTrack being vandalised and costing money on security and maintenance before it was redeveloped.

Another interesting example raised was the proposed development of an apartment building adjacent to the Windsor train station and above the railway line utilising land and air rights owned by VicTrack.

The proposed building has been in the press and will get people thinking about how we can more efficiently use underutilised land.

Michael Collie is Director at Collie Pty Ltd, a multi-disciplinary Southbank-based firm with interests in strategic planning, development planning, urban design and landscape architecture. This article appeared on Collie's website.


Development & Planning

Monday, January 22, 2018 - 00:00
Hot on the heels of news that Holiday Inn will anchor Werribee's tallest proposed development, the application for 22-26 Synnot Street has gone to advertising. At over 42 metres in height and spread across a 2,567 square metre site the project is Werribee's largest, and accounts for the last of a trio of catalyst sites earmarked by Wyndham City Council as perfect for urban renewal.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.

Transport & Design

Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 07:00
Late last year Urban Melbourne was invited for a tour of the new offices of CAPI in Windsor and a chat with its founder Pitzy Folk. The 1930’s building now known as '151 Albert' had previously housed Telstra and has been refurbished by renowned interior designer and family friend of the Folk family, Tamsin Johnson into 1,400 sqm of office and break out space across two floors and a basement.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 00:00
Likened in some quarters as a miniature Federation Square, construction works began last week on a Prahran project that will rank as one of 2018's most progressive and important. Kane Constructions has the job of transforming 30-40 Izett Street under a $60+ million urban renewal initiative prompted by Stonnington City Council.