Last updated 02/09/2022

Newsflash - Council’s proposed plan to protect the market

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

We will submit our proposed alternate plan to the Standing Advisory Committee (SAC) at the upcoming October panel hearing and will ask the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) and the Minister for Planning to adopt Council’s alternate plan instead of the VPA’s draft Framework Plan.

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

State Government (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 thoughout 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 State Government (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 State Government’s newly released 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) will be considered by a Standing Advisory Committee (SAC) - a panel of experts appointed by the Minister for Planning.

The SAC panel hearing is scheduled for a period of over five weeks, from October 3rd to November 9th, 2022.

The window to register to make submissions to the SAC has now closed. The hearing will be open to the public and the video conference link will be made available on this page prior to the hearing.

Council will be presenting its alternate plan to the Standing Advisory Committee panel. 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.

Council recently submitted it’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 Government (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 Victorian Government’s 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 on the Victorian Planning Minister, the Hon. Richard Wynne MP, to use his powers to change the planning process 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 Victorian Government’s (VPA) 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 Government’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 State Government. 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 and for the State Government’s plans to be substantially changed to address various concerns, as raised in Council’s submission to the VPA.

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

  • Clearly articulate to the new Minister for Planning, Lizzie Blandthorn MP, 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 to the State Government and community 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 to the State Government 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 State Government.

To date we have received over 13,500 signatures to our petition to the Minister for Planning to Save 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 Minister for Planning has now referred the Amendment and public submissions to a Standing Advisory Committee. The SAC panel hearing is scheduled for a period of over five weeks, from October 3rd to November 9th, 2022.

The window to register to make submissions to the SAC has now closed. The hearing will be open to the public and the video conference link will be made available on this page prior to the hearing.

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 State Government’s 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 State Government’s 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.