An overhaul of how new suburbs are built and precincts redeveloped in the ACT is on the table as part of the ACT Government’s review of the planning system.
Multinational consultant Hatch has been hired to advise the planning directorate on how greenfield subdivision, estate plans and redevelopment projects could be improved, and what changes in the planning system and rules would be required to achieve better outcomes.
Part of the work will be to examine what successes other jurisdictions – in Australia and overseas – are having in creating neighbourhoods and developments with better amenity, connections, servicers and social cohesion.
The three-stage project will first identify what Canberra is already doing well and why it is considered to be best-practice, and examine areas such as estate layout; public transport, walking and cycling; street networks; the public realm; environmental protection; services and physical infrastructure; social infrastructure; and block diversity, layout and orientation.
It will then look at what a minimum of five other national and international jurisdictions do through their planning systems to achieve high-quality outcomes, and compare that to the ACT’s current approach.
This includes how they embed consideration of high-quality, contemporary best-practice approaches in their planning systems, including policies, guidelines, and statutory codes, as well as any specific measures.
It will also look at the roles and responsibilities of relevant agencies.
In the final stage, the ACT Government is seeking a range of recommendations on a framework and ways to guide the planning and delivery of greenfield subdivision, and redevelopment of precincts and estates in the ACT, and how these can be implemented.
It wants to know what trade-offs there might be, such as short-term against long-term outcomes, revenue or long-term wellbeing and liveability, lifetime benefits versus financial savings, and the costs of maintenance.
This includes the financial impact of any proposed design quality measures on development costs.
The outcomes will guide the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) in reforms to the ACT planning system, including the Planning and Development Act 2007, and the ACT Territory Plan, particularly the Estate Development Code.
The planning system is considered to be too complex and cumbersome, and its rules-based, tick-the-box approach is getting in the way of good development outcomes and hindering innovation.
The ACT Government recently confirmed the Planning and Development Act will be scrapped and rewritten as part of the review.
Hatch is expected to provide a final report by 31 August, 2021.
The company is being paid $152,981.