Last updated 18/11/2022

The Standing Advisory Committee - next steps

The Preston Market Standing Advisory Committee (SAC) Panel Hearing commenced October 3rd and concluded November 10th, 2022. Council made submissions to the panel, together with its experts, in a bid to protect the Preston Market. The SAC now has 20 business days to prepare its recommendations to the Victorian Planning Authority. It is anticipated that the report will be made public by December 22nd, 2022.

Newsflash - Council’s proposed plan to protect the market

In response to the Victorian Planning Authority’s draft plans for the Preston Market site (draft Planning Scheme Amendment C182), we have developed our own plan for the Preston Market precinct that involves keeping the market where it is, while also allowing well designed development on the site.

We submitted our proposed alternate plan to the Standing Advisory Committee (SAC) during the October-November panel hearing and asked that it is adopted.

Advantages of Council’s Alternate Plan
  • The current heritage market is retained and upgraded – with the same traders and spaces that the community knows and loves.
  • The same number of apartments as in the VPA's plan are provided around the market, at a scale appropriate for this well-serviced location.
  • Building controls to deliver development outcomes that are responsive to their location on the site and minimise negative impacts like overshadowing and poor design.
  • Pedestrian and cycling connectivity are enhanced, including between the station and market through to High Street.
  • More new, quality public open spaces are provided in the precinct.
  • More affordable housing is provided in the precinct.
  • Continued servicing of the market is provided throughout redevelopment stages.

The following renders are an artist’s interpretation of what development could look like on the site, while keeping the market we love.

Looking westward over High Street:

Looking eastward, on approach to the Market from the Station:

*Artist impression only – the buildings shown in the renders vary slightly to Council’s latest plan and are subject to change

The Victorian Planning Authority (VPA's) draft Framework Plan - market redeveloped

Under the VPA's plans (draft Amendment C182) the market is redeveloped, leaving only the current fruit and vegetable stall section in place.

Council's Proposed Framework Plan - the market is retained

Under Council's proposed alternate plan, the existing market we know and love remains in place.

Updates to Council's 2021 position

The VPA released revised plans for the market site in March and April 2022 (draft Amendment C182), involving changes such as reduced residential density, reduced and mandatory building heights, and subsequent changes to affordable housing requirements and development contributions. We have considered these changes and refined our own plan.

Updates to our 2021 submission include preparing a strong case for the upcoming SAC panel hearing, and adding more detail to our plan to demonstrate the same yield of development and continued servicing of the market throughout redevelopment, can happen while the market is retained in situ.

Refinements include updated built form controls, consideration of sustainable car parking rates, and locations for new development in the precinct. We have also considered how the development can be staged to allow continued servicing and operation of the market. See our revised position here.

Join the Fight to Protect the Preston Market

Now is the time to act:

The Planning Process

On 17 March 2022, the Victorian Planning Authority released a new version of its proposed planning controls for the Preston Market site. The revisions are in response to the 386 submissions received regarding the May 2021 consultation version. Whilst some changes made in response to Council and community concerns are welcome (such as a reduction to building heights and density limits, and better overshadowing protections) we remain seriously concerned with the lack of protections for the Preston Market. The new plans still demonstrate that:

  • 80% of the market could be demolished.
  • There is weak protection for the heritage values of the market.
  • No protection of the social and cultural functions or ongoing use of the market.
  • Existing traders are not guaranteed a future in the market.

The updated plans can be viewed here (under Supporting Documentation, 'Updates: April 2022').

The Standing Advisory Committee Process

The VPA's revised plans and previous community submissions (from VPA’s 2021 consultation process) will be considered by a Standing Advisory Committee (SAC) - a panel of experts appointed by the Minister for Planning.

The SAC panel hearing is currently underway (from October 3rd to November 10th 2022), during which Council has presented its alternate plan. The hearing has been open to the public (video conference link at top of this page).

Council will continue to fight for our beloved market to remain where it is, to keep it as the great community hub we all know and love.

A copy of Council’s Summary Position Statement to the SAC:

Background to Draft Amendment C182

For more than 50 years Preston Market has been the heart of the Preston community. But now the Market’s unique values are under threat from future development of the site.

From mid-June until mid-July, the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) consulted the public on planning controls which set the rules for how future redevelopment of the Preston Market and the surrounding site should occur (Planning Scheme Amendment C182).

These planning controls will have a significant impact on our community, surrounding businesses, housing, transport, and the look and feel of development in the area.

You can find out more about the draft plans and the planning process at https://vpa.vic.gov.au/project/preston/

Darebin Council does not own the Market and has no formal power to influence the planning controls for future development. That’s why Darebin Council has been calling for the planning process to be changed to make sure the Developer protects the Market in any future development of the site.

What's happened so far?

Council’s objectives for the Preston Market Precinct were set out in our Heart of Preston report, after extensive community engagement. This report has been shared with the VPA and the Developer of the Market site. Our objectives include:

  • Retaining the market in its current site and current form
  • Retaining the use of the market, as a place for affordable fresh and diverse food that serves the northern metropolitan community
  • Protecting the existing traders so they can continue to operate through the redevelopment and in the future.

Council has considered the VPA’s draft planning controls against our Heart of Preston vision for the Market precinct, and it falls drastically short of what we want. Council’s view is that the proposed planning rules are insensitive to the local context and the market’s heritage.

Council’s June 2021 Submission

At the Council Meeting on 28 June, Council resolved to make a detailed submission to the VPA that is highly critical of the Victorian Planning Authority’s draft planning controls for Preston Market. Council’s submission measured the VPA's public consultation plans (May 2021) against the asks in the Heart of Preston report.

Council was very concerned about the draft planning rules for Preston Market, proposed by the VPA. We’re worried that:

  • 80% of the market could be demolished.
  • There is weak protection for the heritage values of the market.
  • No protection of the social and cultural functions or ongoing use of the market.
  • Existing traders are not guaranteed a future in the market.
  • The overall development proposed for this site will be too dense for this location, far too many people, and cars, for this location.
Council’s review of submissions

Council has reviewed the 386 public submissions received by the VPA, of which 93% object to the VPA’s proposed planning controls. The most common community concerns echo the concerns raised in Council’s submission to the VPA. They include:

  • The market losing its special identity, heritage, and ceasing to operate.
  • Vehicle movement and parking issues.
  • Unreasonable building heights and housing density.
  • Inadequate requirements for environmentally sustainable development and waste.
  • Too much overshadowing, poor public space, and poor urban design.

See further analysis in Darebin Review of Submissions to VPA's Preston Market Proposal 2021

Council’s Advocacy

Darebin has been strongly advocating to protect the Market in line with the wishes of the community.

We will continue our advocacy and communication campaign to protect the Market and to maximise participation in the planning process. We will:

  • Clearly articulate, what is special about the market, that the market must not be demolished, and must remain in its current location - central to the site; and,
  • Demonstrate that there is a better way to allow appropriate development within the Precinct while protecting the market, in line with Council’s adopted submission and Heart of Preston.
  • Demonstrate the high level of community support for protecting the market, including by working with community and helping community members to also share their views with the VPA.

To date we have received over 14,500 signatures to our petition to Protect the Preston Market, which you can still sign here: https://www.change.org/p/minister-for-planning-pro. We are aiming for 15,000 signatures before presenting the petition to Members of Parliament.

To stay up to date with the latest news on the fight to protect Preston Market click the 'follow' button at the top of this page.

Next Steps

The VPA received over 380 submissions during public consultation and released its draft planning controls in response to some of the issues raised by the community on 17 March 2022 (a full suite of documents was released in April 2022, available here).

The Amendment and public submissions have been referred to a Standing Advisory Committee. The SAC panel hearing is currently underway (from October 3rd to November 9th 2022), during which Council has presented its alternate plan. The hearing has been open to the public (video conference link at top of this page).

Please contact the Planning Panels Victoria directly if you have any questions about submissions or next steps (including the Standing Advisory Committee hearing process) Preston@vpa.vic.gov.au

There is still an opportunity to positively influence the planning controls.

Heart of Preston

On behalf of the local community, Darebin Council is fighting to ensure everything the community loves about the market is celebrated and protected in any future development.

We worked intensively to understand what the community loves most about Preston Market and what is most important to protect, whilst the VPA was preparing its draft planning controls for the site.

The Heart of Preston sets out Council’s community-informed vision for a future Preston Market Precinct. We believe passionately that the market must remain a place for everyone, in the same location, with a liveable, safe, sustainable precinct built around it.

You can download a copy of the updated Heart of Preston report, and our Preston Market Precinct FAQs page can help clarify some common questions and misconceptions.