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A New Policy Update by the City of Melbourne Will Help Protect the CBD's Laneway Culture

The City of Melbourne's new laneway policy deters low-quality development applications while also boosting heritage protections.
By Libby Curran
July 11, 2022
By Libby Curran
July 11, 2022

Melbourne is as famous for its laneways as it is for its world-class coffee scene and undying footy obsession. And yesterday, that laneway culture scored a huge win, with an extra layer of protection courtesy of a new policy update implemented by the City of Melbourne.

The policy outlines a suite of new controls and measures in an effort to protect the city's iconic laneways, putting a stop to any low-quality development projects and boosting heritage protection.

"Heritage laneways are a much-loved part of the fabric of Melbourne and something that is really unique and distinctive about our city," Acting Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece said. "We have already seen too many laneways seriously degraded, so we have introduced these tough new controls to protect against inappropriate development."

Hardware Lane, Robert Blackburn for Visit Victoria

The update aims to give developers guidelines when it comes to potential laneway projects, as well as keeping the bar set high for future developments. The policy focuses on creative activations, high-quality architecture and retaining heritage elements, ensuring the city's laneways will remain interesting, vibrant precincts for generations to come.

The council also revealed its bumped-up support for heritage work in recent years, having increased protection to 126 heritage sites and five new precincts inside the Hoddle grid. Councillor Rohan Leppert also said the recent work and updates to policy had already led to an improvement in the kinds of development applications being submitted in relation to laneway precincts.

The policy update gave a thumbs up to the new HER precinct in particular, citing it as a primo example of the kind of heritage protection and good design outcomes it hopes to achieve. The multi-level venue sits at the corner of Lonsdale Street and Drewery Lane.

You can read more about the City of Melbourne's laneway policy update via the City of Melbourne website.

Published on July 11, 2022 by Libby Curran
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