Let the sunshine in

With the inner city growing
 at a rapid rate, City of
 Melbourne councillors 
have initiated a review of
 “sunlight to public spaces”
 planning policy.

Proposed by Greens councillors Cathy
 Oke and Rohan Leppert, the review will 
look at the adequacy of a 16-year-old
 policy which is less concerned with overshadowing
 of parks and gardens than 
significant public plazas.

Specifically, the current planning 
regime precludes over-shadowing of the
 Yarra, Federation Square, City Square,
 Queensbridge Square or the State 
Library forecourt between 11am and 2pm
 on June 22.

The test for over-shadowing of public
 parks and gardens, public squares, major 
pedestrian routes including streets and 
lanes, however, is taken at September 22.

Councillors voted on February 10 
to instruct their officers to report
back on “findings and associated
 recommendations” in April.

Cr Oke said the objectives of the planning
 regime were impossible to achieve.
“There is an inconsistently between the
 perception of what we do with overshadowing 
and what we can actually
 achieve within the planning scheme,” she 
said. “And that, unfortunately, has been
 seen in some of the decisions that we
 have had to support.”

Cr Oke noted that the Queen Victoria
 Market was not protected against overshadowing
 and she encouraged officers
 to look more broadly at other important
 spaces to be included in the review.

“Let’s see what we can do within the
 planning mechanisms to ensure that our
 parks and gardens as well as our public
 open spaces are protected,” she said.
 Cr Leppert told the meeting that prior 
to 1999, Flagstaff Gardens, Parliament 
Gardens, Treasury Gardens and Batman 
Park enjoyed the June 22-level of overshadowing 
protection.

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