Why do we need a housing strategy?

Growth and change is being driven by a number of factors. These include longer life expectancy, Stonnington’s desirability as a place to live and broader federal and state government policies that encourage population growth and housing development. One of the key directions of state government’s plan for Melbourne is that housing choice is provided in locations close to jobs and services. While the Council has limited ability to change the broader issues, it can work with the community to manage how and where this growth occurs in Stonnington.

Like the rest of Melbourne, Stonnington’s population is growing and changing. Forecasts suggest that Stonnington will grow by 27,000 people by 2036, bringing the population to 143,000 residents. On average, this will require between 800 to 1000 additional dwellings each year. This is about the same level of housing growth experienced in Stonnington for the last 10 years.

If planned well, growth can also provide opportunities for a range of benefits, such as greater choice of dwellings and more inclusive and vibrant neighbourhoods. The role of the housing strategy will be more than just managing growth; it will also explore possibilities for capturing these benefits.

Why is this important to me?

The strategy is not just about houses and apartments, it’s also about transport links, community services and infrastructure that support our community.

Families, singles, home-owners, renters, share-households, business owners, future residents, people who live here and work somewhere else and people who work in Stonnington and live somewhere else - the housing strategy will affect everyone in the Stonnington community.

Engaging our community to better understand what you want and need is an essential part of developing the strategy.

What’s in the housing strategy?

We need to carefully consider where additional housing growth can best be accommodated to protect Stonnington’s existing liveability, affordability, community diversity, equity and to achieve greater sustainability for the future. The housing strategy will:

·  identify current and future housing needs and be an important tool to respond to changing community needs.

·  identify the best locations to accommodate future housing growth, considering public transport and services accessibility, as well as development constraints (i.e. heritage and special character)

·  identify the housing types needed by current and future residents

·  identify the ways that the Council can direct and influence housing growth and change to benefit the community

·  link the expected housing growth with increased community infrastructure needs – thereby enabling council to plan and advocate for those needs

·  consider affordability, adaptability and environmental sustainability, providing policies and actions for council to manage these issues.

What won’t be in the strategy?

While Council cannot directly influence population growth, we have a clear role to plan for our current and future community. The housing strategy will not:

·  stop population growth from occurring in Stonnington

·  prevent higher density development from occurring in some locations

·  immediately rezone land or change current planning controls (any changes will be subject to further, more detailed work involving additional community engagement), or

·  force people to move house or develop their land. 

Can we stop Stonnington’s population growth and residential developments?

No. The strategy will not stop housing growth and change, but it will direct it to areas where there are better services and transport access, and fewer constraints (such as heritage or other planning controls relating to the height and character of buildings).

What type of housing is needed?

New homes should cater for a diverse community, including families, low income earners, people living alone, young people, the elderly and people with disabilities.

New dwellings should be of high quality and designed for the long term.

The housing strategy will consider the projected demographic changes and respond to the diversity of the community’s housing needs.

What future community services and other infrastructure will residents need?

An increase in population will place pressure on infrastructure, such as parks, open spaces, schools, child care, youth and aged services.

Through the housing strategy, Council will seek to make sure that increases in population and housing are met with new or improved infrastructure to serve the needs of the existing and future community.

Council has a strong record of advocacy to other levels of government to ensure that infrastructure and services keep up with our community’s needs and expectations, this advocacy program will be strengthened by a housing strategy that reflects a growing Stonnington. 

How can new housing fit into the character and amenity that is highly valued by the Stonnington community?

A key challenge in planning for new housing is to make sure that Stonnington’s valued heritage and character is maintained and enhanced. The housing strategy will identify the most appropriate locations for more intensive growth.

How will the strategy guide residential development and planning decisions?

The strategy will respond to predicted population growth by providing greater housing choice and ensuring future housing development occurs in appropriate locations and in a sustainable manner. Central to the housing strategy will be identifying locations for ‘change areas’ to guide the location and form of new housing in a way that balances the supply needs with the desire to protect the neighbourhood character and amenity across Stonnington. 

Change areas identify the appropriate level of change in a given area, including the intensity and type of residential development supported under the Planning Scheme. This will also give the community and the development sector greater certainty about the level of residential change to expect in different parts of Stonnington.

Housing change areas identify the locations suitable for substantial, incremental and minimal change.

·  Minimal change areas can be described as areas that accommodate a low level of housing development that is in keeping with the surrounding area and/or responds to the particular constraints of the locality. Examples are attached houses, townhouses, detached houses and dual occupancies.

·  Incremental change areas can be described as areas that can accommodate some housing growth but generally units, townhouses and small-scale apartment developments that respond to any constraints of the area.

·  Substantial change areas are areas identified for more change to accommodate a large proportion of the City's future housing needs, including medium and higher density development.

The housing strategy is an important tool for setting out a plan for responding to population growth and changing housing needs. Understanding what our community wants and needs is essential. We want to hear your ideas. What do you think is important for future housing provisions?

What should council prioritise in the next 20 years to achieve this?

The range of engagement activities with our community will help council identify housing priorities for the next twenty years and these will be outlined in a draft Housing Strategy, which we will be asking for community feedback on in early 2020.

What role can the Housing Strategy and Council play in owners corporation related issues?

The Owners Corporations Act 2006 sets out the requirements for the management, powers and functions of owners corporations, previously known as ‘body corporates’.  The Owners Corporation Act 2006  is State Government legislation and Consumer Affairs Victoria is the governing body for all owners corporation matters, including insurance and disputes (a register of owners corporations is managed by Land Use Victoria).  Council has no authority or role in owners corporations and no powers to resolve owner corporation disputes or issues.