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Warragul and Drouin precinct structure plans review adopted by Baw Baw Shire Council
Baw Baw Shire Council has adopted a review into key high-level masterplans for managing growth and development in Warragul and Drouin.
Precinct Structure Plans (PSPs) provide strategic direction for issues like housing, township character, open space, transport and more. Warragul and Drouin current PSPs were approved in 2014. Since then, the region's exceptional growth has revealed issues with the PSPs' effectiveness for managing development.
The current Warragul and Drouin PSPs were prepared by the former Metropolitan Planning Authority (MPA) in consultation with Council, State agencies and other stakeholders
Efficiency while providing outcomes
The Warragul and Drouin PSP Review 2021 has identified and documented specific issues with the PSPs, and recommends changes aimed at improving their efficiency while providing outcomes that better preserve the towns' rural character and align with community expectation.
The PSP Review was prepared by Council and reviewed by external consultants Echelon Planning before going on exhibition for community consultation for six weeks from 11 June 2020 to 22 July 2020. As a result of this consultation, Council received 42 submissions from a mix of residents, landowners, consultants, and Government Agencies.
Informed by this public and expert input, the recommendations to improve the PSPs include but are not limited to:
The development of preferred character design guidelines to preserve the rural character of the Shire.
- Clearer requirements for lot sizes and types
- Clearer direction on design principles for neighbourhood centres to provide local retail opportunities and village convenience centres
- A review of the location of planned sporting reserves
- Greater emphasis on biodiversity and the preservation and enhancement of areas with high environmental value
With the PSP Review and its recommendations now adopted, Council will develop planning scheme amendment documentation and begin the next steps towards implementation - first through Council and ultimately through their submission to the Victorian Minister for Planning.
As the implementation process progresses, there will be several further opportunities for community members and stakeholders to provide further input on key issues.
Balance the demand
Mayor Cr Danny Goss said, "It's obvious to anyone who lives in Drouin or Warragul that the current PSPs just aren't up to scratch. That's why we undertook this review. This is one of the fastest growing local government areas in the state. We need PSPs that can manage that level of growth efficiently and sensibly. We need to balance the demand for development against the community's expectation that the rural character of Drouin and Warragul be maintained. This Review is a very important step towards making some real improvements. I welcome its adoption and look forward to pushing on with the next steps."
Getting reviews from community
Cr Joe Gauci said, "This is the first time since 2014 that the PSPs have been reviewed. There have definitely been some issues identified over the years. There have been things within the PSP which are messy. The purpose of the review is to find solutions and to try to find positive outcomes.
"The review is the result of some very thorough and commendable work by our planning team and includes a lot of public consultation and stakeholder input, going back as far as 2019. They've identified issues to resolve and have made useful recommendations to resolve them.
"The next step is the amendment documents. When they come back to Council we'll have another opportunity to review them again, get the views of the community and stakeholders to make sure we've got it right and move it forward that way."
Going through piece by piece
Cr Keith Cook said, "The first PSPs in 2014 were pushed by the State Government and they had good intentions. However, as we moved forward we found the PSP documents were ambiguous in some areas, there were anomalies and some contradictions. It was also focused on development and not so much on lifestyle.
"This review has a tremendous amount of work put into it, not only by the community but by the officers. They've gone through it piece by piece and sorted out a lot of those issues. The intentions are now much clearer. It's about making sure these areas are places where people want to live and raise their families."
Pictures from Baw Baw Shire Council website.
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