Why do we need planning controls in the Ballarat CBD?

    The City of Ballarat’s population is expected to grow by approximately 50,000 residents by 2040. Given its central location, the Ballarat CBD is strategically positioned to grow as a self-sufficient 10-minute neighbourhood. A future residential population in the CBD will also further support the growth and development of commercial activity across the precinct and ultimately contribute to a more active, safe and liveable Ballarat.  


    By preparing new planning controls that address the evolution of the CBD, the City of Ballarat will apply a design standard for new development. This is to ensure that the housing and commercial needs of our growing and changing community are met in a way which is sustainable, equitable, and retains the significant heritage of the city centre.

    What is an Urban Design Framework?

    An Urban Design Framework (UDF) is a planning and urban design document which sets a long-term integrated design vision to guide the future land use and development of an area. The UDF will have a number of different outcomes, including guiding future planning controls, infrastructure and public realm investment and more general design decisions to rejuvenate the city centre.

    The approach of this UDF is:

    • To put people and place first, identifying opportunities for how these can be integrated into the short, medium and longer-term design and renewal process
    • Acknowledging that city shaping is not just about one place or building, but rather a network of well-connected places with an active and safe street life
    • Providing a spatial framework to inform decision-making to be better coordinated and integrate public and private sector projects to best leverage their potential. For example, leveraging public sector projects such as the Victorian Government GovHub and Railway Station precinct projects, to further stimulate private sector investment
    • Create opportunities where clusters of projects might collectively have a catalyst effect and attract further investment in the longer term
    • Provide a framework as a basis with which planning controls can be written to achieve the underlying objectives and principles

    What is the Skyline and Views Study?

    The Skyline and Views Study recognises the significance of Ballarat’s historic streetscape and landscape setting, particularly the natural and built landmarks such as the Town Hall and the many towers and spires which help define the collective and distinctive skyline.   

    The study, which builds on international and national best practice, provides a robust methodology with which to identify the special qualities of the Ballarat skyline, the key views, how they are experienced and how this can help inform future development.

    How will the UDF inform planning controls in the future?

    The CBD UDF and subsequent Built Form Controls will form the basis of new planning controls in the Ballarat Planning Scheme. To ensure that the principles of the UDF are given proper consideration as part of planning applications, the document will also become an incorporated document within the Ballarat Planning Scheme. This will mean applicants are required to address the intentions of the UDF when proposing development in the CBD.

    How will higher density developments fit into the significant heritage character of the Ballarat CBD?

    The intention of the CBD UDF and subsequent Built Form Controls is to provide clear guidance for the design of future development, to ensure that future development is consistent and that they accommodate a suitable design response, including for proposed height, setbacks and visual bulk outcomes for new buildings.

    Best practice urban design for contexts that seek to balance urban renewal and existing heritage buildings is to ensure that newer development does not detract from the visual prominence of the existing heritage fabric as viewed from the street. The UDF and future Built Form Controls will respond to this, and make use of a range of urban design objectives and principles – including street setbacks, considered building heights and clearly distinguishable architectural materials – to ensure that the existing and valued heritage character of Ballarat’s CBD remains primary, valued and protected.