All quiet on the Arden front but major issues to be determined by independent committee

All quiet on the Arden front but major issues to be determined by independent committee
Spencer Fowler Steen

There have been no updates since last year from the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) or the Department of Transport (DoT) on major issues plaguing the Arden Renewal Precinct.

North West City News posed six questions about Arden to the VPA which have remained unanswered since the City of Melbourne (CoM) released a scathing submission on the plan in October last year.

But the VPA provided the same response it gave last year, leaving the public in the dark over key issues including affordable housing, built form controls and a new school.

Despite confirmation last year from the DoT - one of the major stakeholders for Arden - that the percentage of affordable housing would exceed 10 per cent, a VPA spokesperson relayed the same response it gave to this publication last year.

“The Arden Structure Plan commits state and local government to:

Support and encourage the provision of 6% affordable housing in new developments to be delivered at 50% discount to a registered housing association.  

Encourage additional affordable and social housing provision on all types of land to achieve goals.

Require that at least 5% of all private housing be universally accessible, to encourage assisted living and help residents age in place.

Government is exploring opportunities for delivering key worker housing in Arden.”

Asked whether the DoT would cover a whopping $47 million shortfall identified in the Arden Development Contributions Plan, a DoT spokesperson had this to say:

“Works continue to finalise the Arden Structure Plan - which will support the urban renewal of the area around the new Arden Station when it opens in 2025, as part of the Metro Tunnel project,” the spokesperson said.

On background, the DoT said the Minister for Planning had asked an independent Standing Advisory Committee to review the Structure Plan with a public hearing currently underway.

 “Following the conclusion of the hearing, the Victorian Government will consider the Committee’s recommendations, and funding requirements for the precinct will be considered,” the DoT said.

Asked how the Arden Structure Plan will be refined in light of community concern about excessive density and scale flowing from the VPA's built form controls, the VPA spokesperson said the Standing Advisory Committee process would determine this.

Asked where a secondary school for Arden would be located, the spokesperson gave the same response as last year.

“The Department of Education is currently considering a Government High School for the Arden-Macaulay area which is immediately adjacent to the Arden precinct,” they said.
Asked whether the VPA had finalised the details of developments along the Moonee Ponds Creek, the spokesperson said the VPA was finalising a draft within government, including working with the key agencies which will be responsible for delivering components of the structure plan that interact with the creek corridor.

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