Greater Bendigo Planning Scheme review progresses

The most significant update to the Greater Bendigo Planning Scheme ever undertaken is now in the final stages, after Greater Bendigo City Council voted to begin the formal process to amend the Planning Scheme.

The Planning Scheme is the overarching legal document that states how land can be used and developed across the municipality. In 2018, the City started a formal review of the entire Planning Scheme, to bring it in line with Council’s strategic direction.

The proposed Planning Scheme amendment endorsed by Council last night includes the policy recommendations from the review and significant format changes recently introduced by the Victorian Government.  Greater Bendigo is one of the first Councils in the state to make all these changes at the same time.  

The amendment replaces the existing Municipal Strategic Statement and Local Planning Policies with a Municipal Planning Strategy and local policies in the state framework. The new Municipal Planning Strategy describes regional context, the vision, strategic direction and opportunities and challenges.

The amendment includes policy recommendations from the Rural Areas Strategy 2009; Greater Bendigo Public Space Plan 2019 and Walk, Cycle Greater Bendigo Strategy 2019, as well as other recently adopted Council plans and strategies.

The result is a refined and modernised Planning Scheme that has been reduced from approximately 77,000 words to 20,000 words, by removing unnecessary content and including clear and simple plans and maps.

Mayor Cr Margaret O’Rourke said the revised Planning Scheme document included a modern and consistent strategic framework and policy plans.

“This review has made the Planning Scheme document much easier for the community to use and will lead to more efficient and consistent decision making,” Cr O’Rourke said

“The review also identified further strategic planning work that the Council needs to undertake, including a Settlement Strategy, a new Industrial Strategy, an Environmental Study and finishing our heritage studies.”

To implement the full revised Planning Scheme, three separate Planning Scheme amendments will eventually be introduced, due to the size and complexity of the changes, with zone and overlay correction changes currently being prepared.

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