Push for better apartments draws voices

Victorian minister for planning Richard Wynne chaired a local government and industry forum on the Andrews Labor Government’s Better Apartments discussion paper, recently.

Mayors, council chief executives, planning and policy experts and representatives from industry groups gathered at the Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre in Preston for robust talks about apartment design.

Mr Wynne, who launched the discussion paper for consultation in May, said all the participants shared a common goal: the desire to encourage innovation and best-practice design in the apartment industry so future buildings offer decades of liveability.

He said: “This forum was about listening to local government, industry and planning experts on issues impacting apartment design and amenity. Today was not about pre-empting outcomes, but instead making sure we continue to consult with experts in this field.”

Issues raised at the ministerial forum included:

  • Apartment sizes, ceiling heights and whether a minimum size should be set
  • Daylight and borrowed light in bedrooms
  • Separation between buildings, privacy
  • Noise
  • Car and bicycle parking
  • The government’s Better Apartments discussion paper continues to generate healthy debate on housing needs, market demands, affordability and building standards.

The discussion paper has already received more than 500 responses, with the community encouraged to have its say before submissions close 31 July.

Mr Wynne added: “The Better Apartments discussion paper has stimulated a broad debate about residential needs and market drivers. The level of engagement is encouraging, and I welcome all views as we shape apartment guidelines.”

Further practitioner and industry workshops are scheduled over the next few months before an options paper is prepared in late 2015. Guidelines are expected to be in place mid-2016.

The discussion paper, an online survey and information about submissions is available via the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning website

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