Greens fear government is setting new 'Arden' precinct up to fail


The Victorian Government today released the final Arden Structure Plan, for a new precinct in inner-city Melbourne that the government says will be home to 15,000 residents and 34,000 employees by 2050.

The Arden area is wholly within the state electorate of Melbourne.

Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens and Member for Melbourne, Ellen Sandell, said the Arden Structure Plan was deeply flawed, with no public or affordable housing, only one primary school and bulky, dense buildings that would dominate the public realm, but that it wasn’t too late to avoid failure.

The Victorian Greens welcome:

  • The strong public and active transport, such as the Arden train station, new bike lanes and potential of having trams on several of the major streets.

  • Good proposed flood management for the suburb and decent amount of open space.

  • The identification of a specific parcel of land for a new government primary school.

The Victorian Greens oppose:

  • The absence of any public or affordable housing in a new suburb of 15,000 people. The structure plan has no investment in public or social housing in Arden as part of the Big Housing Build, despite it being the perfect location for new government housing. The government has set a target for 6 per cent ‘affordable housing’ on private land that is completely voluntary and meaningless.

  • The absence of any new government high school, and provision for only one primary school in a suburb expected to house as many people as Bairnsdale.

  • Built form controls that will result in overly bulky buildings that will overwhelm the public realm, particularly where density controls are uncapped in the Arden Central and Lorimer sub-precincts. On current plans, Arden will become almost as dense as the CBD, with bulky apartment towers the dominant building type in ‘Arden Central’. This is a missed opportunity for good quality design and liveability, and buildings that frame sunny, walkable, and pleasant streets.

  • The lack of clear planning controls to require environmentally sustainable design for the benefit of workers and residents in the long term.

  • The Arden precinct turning its back on the Moonee Ponds Creek, and the absence of the long-awaited Moonee Ponds Creek implementation plan by the Victorian Planning Authority.

  • The bad faith consultation process to come, with the Structure Plan and proposed planning controls being exhibited and consulted on together, suggesting that the government is not interested in genuine community feedback.

Quotes attributable to Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:

“It is outrageous that the Victorian Labor Government has released a plan for a new suburb of 15,000 people that doesn’t propose any public or affordable housing. 

“The suburb will be home to as many people as Bairnsdale but will only have one primary school and no high school, despite schools around it already being full to the brim.

“If the government actually did this properly, this new suburb could be designed well, with environmentally sustainable design, proper limits on density and heights, and affordable housing and schools. We don’t want to see another development where property developers make a mint at the expense of the community.

“The government should withdraw these plans until it has fixed these critical errors.”