Amendment GC197 – Suburban Rail Loop

Suburban Rail Loop

Changes have been made to the planning schemes of Bayside, Kingston, Monash and Whitehorse to accommodate the proposed Suburban Rail Loop. The Suburban Rail Loop is the planned extension of the metropolitan rail network between Cheltenham Station at the southern end and Box Hill Station at the northern end. The Suburban Rail Loop is planned to be part of a 90km orbital rail loop to connect every major metropolitan train line from Cheltenham to Werribee and to link priority growth precincts.

The Planning Scheme Amendment GC197 has been approved and gazetted by the Minister for Environment and Climate Change and incorporates the Suburban Rail Loop East Incorporated Document, August 2022 and the Suburban Rail Loop East Infrastructure Protection Incorporated Document, August 2022 into the above mentioned Councils’ planning schemes. The Amendment also introduced Specific Controls Overlays (SCO14 and SCO15) to allow the use and development of the land for the project and to ensure future development in the vicinity of the project does not affect the project’s infrastructure.

Development proposals affected by these new Specific Control Overlays will be referred to a new referral authority, the Suburban Rail Loop Authority. The Amendment also makes the Minister for Planning the responsible authority for administering and enforcing the provisions of the Bayside Planning Scheme, Kingston Planning Scheme, Monash Planning Scheme and Whitehorse Planning Scheme as they relate to the use and development of land for the project under the SCO14.

The Overlay Controls specify at Clause 45.12 that:

Land affected by this overlay may be used or developed in accordance with a specific control contained in the incorporated document corresponding to the notation on the planning scheme map (as specified in the schedule to this overlay). The specific control may:

  • Allow the land to be used or developed in a manner that would otherwise be prohibited or restricted.
  • Prohibit or restrict the use or development of the land beyond the controls that may otherwise apply.
  • Exclude any other control in this scheme.

The Suburban Rail Loop East Incorporated Document, August 2022 includes planning permit triggers for building demolition, removal, relocation and construction or to construct or carry out works in specified areas. This includes earthworks, poles/signs/retaining wall if footings are founded more than 2 metres below Surface Level, internal and external alterations to buildings, among other works. The document also sets out the application information requirements. An application triggered only by these controls is except from notice (advertising) and review (appeal). The Suburban Rail Loop East Infrastructure Protection Incorporated Document, August 2022 has similar controls.

For practitioners, this Amendment adds an additional set of planning permit triggers and works requirements or standards. It appears to catch a wider scope of development buildings and works than the planning schemes did previously. For any proposals within the SCO areas practitioners will need to review the Incorporated documents to understand if and what planning permits are required.

No transitional provisions are provided in the new controls and any current or approved planning permit applications which are not commenced or other projects not yet commenced will be subject to any relevant planning permit requirements within the Overlays.

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