The Heart Foundation Victoria is delighted to welcome a significant amendment to the Victorian State Policy Planning Framework. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) has gazetted Planning Scheme Amendment VC139, to include Clause 15.01-6: Healthy Neighbourhoods State Planning Policy within Built Environment and Heritage.
We are very supportive of the amendment to the Victorian State Policy Planning Framework. This planning scheme amendment is a great step forward for planning in Victoria. Not only does it signal the Government’s commitment to achieving healthier communities, it also gives Local Government planners a policy mechanism to demand better health and wellbeing outcomes for new developments.
The objective of this amendment is to “achieve neighbourhoods that foster healthy and active living and community well-being.” This aligns closely with the Heart Foundations Healthy Active by Design (HAbD) objectives, which aim to “assist with the development of healthy neighbourhoods that promote walking, cycling and public life”.
The strategies for the amendment to achieve Healthy Neighbourhoods are: “Design neighbourhoods that foster community interaction and make it easy for people of all ages and abilities to live healthy lifestyles and engage in regular physical activity by providing:
- Connected walking networks and cycling networks.
- Streets with direct, safe and convenient access to destinations.
- Conveniently located public spaces for active recreation and leisure.
- Accessibly located public transport stops.
- Amenities and protection to support physical activity in all weathers.”
In order to successfully implement these guidelines at a Local Government level, the Urban Design Guidelines for Victoria, 2017 have also been released. The Guidelines are divided into six sections, and provide suggestions on how each of the following elements can be implemented. All of the HAbD Design Features align with the elements of the Urban Design Guidelines.
This planning scheme amendment is the outcome of the collaboration between the State Government and the Heart Foundation over the last three years and closely aligns with the Healthy Active by Design Design Features.