Almost three months have passed since Planning Minister Richard Wynne gazetted (Amendment C262) a series of changes to the Melbourne Planning Scheme, which introduced interim design and development controls for parts of the CBD and Southbank.

Very generally, the changes brought in new rules (such as a plot ratio provision – remember them) to reduce the amenity impacts of tower buildings built too high and / or too close together.

During the three months since, the reactions from the development industry have been varied.

Many of those that support the changes believe that tighter controls were needed to stem the flow of overly high density and inappropriate CBD development, which in some locations was said to be denser than that of Hong Kong, New York and Tokyo.  Others have stated, that by introducing these changes it allows the development and industry and State Government to give more weight to the conversation about to introducing appropriate long term apartment building design and siting controls.

Others have been critical of the changes, believing they will limit development and investor confidence and may even cost jobs or will make apartments less affordable.  Others have suggested the changes would restrict housing supply within the CBD due to drastically reduced apartment yields.  One developer has suggested that it will turn its attention to hotels rather than residential apartment buildings in the hope of better returns – good luck in all but the short term perhaps.

The new controls are interim and a twelve months process of consultation is now underway to develop a more permanent set of provisions.  It will be interesting to see the outcomes of this process and how it impacts the future built form of the CBD.