Maybe – Just Maybe – something important has taken place to protect the Mornington Peninsula for the future

Maybe – Just Maybe – something important has taken place to protect the Mornington Peninsula for the future

Planning Minister Matthew Guy has announced details of a new Mornington Peninsula Planning statement (MPPS). This has now been gazetted and is therefore in effect.

 

It follows on recommendations of a committee chaired by Member for Mornington (David Morris MP) building on the continuing efforts of the council, its planners and others. The MPS approved its content and it has just been given support by the Minister and the State Government.

 

The central thesis is that the existing “special” character of the peninsula should be maintained, the urban boundaries to remain as they are now and the Green Wedge recognised as a vital community asset.

 

Below is an analysis of the MPPS by Ranald Macdonald who was a member of David Morris’ Committee:

 

Analysis of the Mornington Peninsula Localised Planning Statement which has just been approved by the Minister for Planning as new State Government policy for our region.

 

“Obviously, the wording of any new or revised planning policy is one thing, the real question is how it works out in practice.

But I have great hopes for this new piece of planning policy as the Government has had to make tough and (to many) unpopular decisions about the growth of Melbourne to accommodate the predicted population increase. Much of this is being handled through greater height and density in the Metropolitan areas and in specified growth areas (on the Peninsula they are Rosebud, Mornington and Hastings)

 

But Melbournians and tourists need to be able to get away from the city and it is a big appeal to visit the Mornington Peninsula – so any breaking of the green wedge and allowing unchecked, unsightly or obtrusive development would therefore be counter-productive. It would kill the ‘golden goose’, quite apart from impacting on the considerable agricultural worth of the Peninsula’s output.

So the Mornington Peninsula Planning statement according to Minister Matthew Guy puts a clear policy into place that:-

 

  • appreciates the diversity and delicate balance of land use which has been carefully planned over a long period

 

  • provides for a clear separation of the Mornington Peninsula from Metropolitan Melbourne, preventing expansion of the metropolitan area onto the Peninsula and maintaining the current settlement patterns

 

  • expresses the planning priorities for the Mornington Peninsula

 

  • integrates environmental, social and economic considerations

 

  • supports a strong land-use planning framework, providing certainty for landowners and the community over time

 

The detailed report has 47 different and very clearly expressed statements of policy and objectives.

The headings include – Integrated Planning; Protecting the Character and Role of the Settlements, Towns and Villages; Conservation of Natural Systems and Biodiversity; Protecting Landscape and Cultural Values; Providing for Sustainable Agriculture; Provision for Recreation and Tourism, and Planning for the (Hastings) Port Area.

 

I am not going to be Pollyanna-erish about the report BUT it does look good as it stands. It is the result of an enormous effort put into its preparation by Allan Cowley of the MPS and his crew, negotiations which took place between the CEO Dr. Michael Kennedy and Spring Street and then the final wording, which was subject to scrutiny and review of a five-person panel of which I was one.

The Planning Policy document was then put to the Mornington Shire Councillors for their approval.

 

After checking the final statement released and endorsed by the Minister word-by-word, I can assure you it has maintained its original integrity.

The simple issue is how it will impact on council policy decisions and the lower levels of planning on the peninsula – and how it is interpreted.”

Ranald Macdonald (FCA VP)