What is a Housing Strategy?

    A Housing Strategy:

    • identifies the current and future housing needs;
    • explores housing potential and opportunities;
    • identifies the associated constraints to housing growth; and
    • works to inform Council to efficiently manage the future housing supply to meet the communities’ needs. 

    What is Council's role in housing?

    Council has three complimentary roles in the provision of housing:

    1. A planning authority to facilitate the timely and orderly provision of housing

    2. A community advocate expressed through the provision of housing related advocacy, modest support programs for residents experiencing housing related stress and facilitating community and private development collaborations

    3. A regulatory responsibility with regards to Rooming and Boarding Houses. Recent changes in State Government legislation have increased Council‘s regulatory responsibility in this regard.

    In order to undertake these roles effectively, the Council has a responsibility to constantly understand and monitor the housing market, building industry, housing needs of its residents and future residents, and the future directions of key stakeholders, such as tertiary institutes, government agencies, community housing groups and the state and federal governments.

    Why have we prepared this Strategy?

    The Housing Strategy has been initiated at a considerable time of growth and change in Darebin.  From 2011 to 2031, it is estimated that an additional 30,300 new residents will call Darebin home.  There will also be a change in demographics during this period, with an ageing of the population, and a trend toward fewer people in each dwelling.

    This places considerable pressure on existing housing and requires careful consideration of where additional housing growth can best be accommodated to protect existing liveability, affordability, diversity of communities, equity and to achieve greater sustainability for the future.

    Whilst Council cannot directly influence population growth, Council has a clear role to plan for its current and future community. The Strategy will assist by:

    • Planning to identify suitable locations and opportunities for promoting housing growth in certain areas and protecting other residential areas where heritage, character, locational or environmental attributes warrant limits to growth;
    • Planning to ensure that investment in infrastructure accompanies residential growth and intensification. 

    How have we prepared this Strategy?

    The development of the Strategy took place over 4 phases from 2010-2012 and involved an extensive 3 month community consultation phase in 2012. This was to ensure the Strategy reflects community aspirations as well as empirical evidence regarding the local housing market and demographic influences for future housing needs. 

    The Strategy is supported by the following background research reports:

    • Housing Initiatives Analysis Report, Darebin City Council, 2011;
    • Housing Opportunities Report, Darebin, City Council, 2011;
    • Urban Renewal Investigation Areas, Darebin City Council, 2011; and
    • Housing Constraints and Issues Paper, Darebin City Council, 2011.

    These reports were peer reviewed by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) at RMIT University made available on the Darebin website. The Strategy is also supported by a number of research reports prepared by external consultants:

    • Market Analysis for Different Types of Housing in Darebin, Charter Keck Cramer 2011; and
    • Housing Development Data 2004-2011 – Statistical Summary Report, Spatial Economics and Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development, 2011. 

    How is Council Responding?

    The Strategy identifies the various ways that Council can best manage the impacts of housing change and growth in Darebin and contributes to improved housing outcomes for the Darebin community. 

    The research and investigation and community consultation phases of the Strategy's development helped us to identify the 6 key housing issues that formed the basis of our Housing Goals, as follows:

    One central element in this Strategy in ensuring sufficient future housing is a new, 3-tiered Housing Change Framework that will help us meet the challenges of housing shortages and lack of diversity, while still safeguarding areas of special character.  

    The Housing Change Framework identifies areas with:

    • limited residential growth capacity (minimal change areas);
    • moderate residential growth capacity (incremental change areas); and
    • substantial residential growth capacity (substantial change areas).

    The Strategy also identifies a number of Strategic Opportunity Sites.  These sites possess the attributes - site size, site zoning and location - that make them favourable for redevelopment at high densities into the future.   For more information on these sites - please see the FAQ "What is a Strategic Opportunity Site?"

    What is a 'Strategic Opportunity Site'?

    The Housing Strategy identifies opportunities to best accommodate Darebin’s population growth in the coming years.  As part of this, a number of ‘Strategic Opportunity Sites’ have been identified.  These sites possess attributes - such as site size, zoning and proximity to services and transport - that make them favourable for redevelopment at higher density into the future.  

    The criteria used to determine these sites are as follows:

    • Over 1,000sqm in lot size;
    • Located in a zone that permits residential use (Residential, Mixed Use or Commerical Zones);
    • Not constrained by a Heritage Overlay;
    • Displaying one or more of the more of the following favorable location criteria:

    1. within 500m of train station;
    2. within 400m of tram stop;
    3. fronting strategic transport corridors (High St, Bell St, Plenty Rd, St Georges Rd);
    4. within Activity Area boundaries.

    In applying this criteria, and excluding and sites that may have child or aged care and community facilities, the Strategy identifies 98 residential or commercial sites that may be suitable for higher density redevelopment into the future.  

    The lsit is indicative only and no re-zonings or changes to the existing planning controls are proposed for these sites.  

    How might I be affected?

    The Darebin Housing Strategy sets out how we plan to step up to the changes coming our way, and ensure we meet the diverse and growing housing needs and aspirations of our community. 

    One central element in the Strategy is a new, 3-tiered Housing Change Framework that identifies three Housing Change Areas that will help us meet the challenges of housing shortages and lack of diversity, while still safeguarding areas of special character.  

    Housing Change Areas provide an indication of the appropriate level of change in terms of the intensity and type of residential development that will be supported where residential uses are permitted under the Planning Scheme. 

    These Housing Change Areas provide the community and the development sector with greater certainty about the envisaged level of residential change to expect in different parts of Darebin. These Housing Change Areas are identified as: Substantial, Incremental and Minimal change.


    Only a minimal level of housing change will be encouraged in these areas, for example an additional dwelling on a lot, a new storey addition, semi-detached housing and low scale unit development with design strongly dependant on prevailing neighbourhood character. Medium density housing will not be encouraged in these locations.


    A moderate level of housing change over time is encouraged which may include a mixture of single and semi-detached dwellings as well as infill development including 2-3 storey town houses and villas, with scale and outcome dependent on local character and conditions. Medium density housing may be encouraged in selected locations. Within these areas, there are varying local conditions that necessitate a different scale and built form outcome, such as lot dimensions, neighbourhood character attributes and strategic corridor frontage.


    Medium and higher-density housing is encouraged in appropriate locations near public transport and activity areas, and will include a mixture of apartment-style housing, town houses and villa units. In activity areas this is likely to include high and medium-density apartment style housing, possibly above retail and commercial uses.

    For a more detailed view of the Map, including the opportunity to conduct property-specific searches to learn what Housing Change area is proposed in your area, please click here for  Darebin's Interactive Mapping

    • type in your street address and suburb into the “Address Search” at the bottom left and click “Search
    • Your search will show on the map and display a coloured map, indicating current zones and overlays that apply to the land. A summary of the search is shown on the right. The summary also shows “Proposed Housing Change Area"

    How does this work relate to the new State Government Zones?

    The State Government has introduced new residential zones and amended industrial and commercial zones.  Commercial and industrial zones are being automatically translated from existing zones to the new, revised zones. 

    The new residential zones require Councils to undertake further work to identify appropriate areas for the application of the new zones and to draft detailed content for zone schedules.  This work will commence in 2014 in consultation with the community.  

    To support the introduction of new residential zones in Darebin, the Darebin Housing Strategy has been prepared. The  Strategy includes a Housing Change Framework (HCF) which identifies areas with:

    • limited residential growth capacity (minimal change areas);
    • moderate residential growth capacity (incremental change areas); and
    • substantial residential growth capacity (substantial change areas);

    The HCF has been developed using the following criteria:

    Your feedback on this criteria is sought to help us confirm the Housing Change Framework and map out the application of the State's new residential zones.  Setting these criteria and finalising this Framework will be the first step in further consultation planned in 2014 on developing more specific planning controls and in applying the new residential zones in the City of Darebin.

    Future residential re-zonings will utilize the suite of new zones introduced by the Victorian State Government in July 2013.  For more information on these new zones, click here.

    Will my property be rezoned?


    Planning Scheme Amendment C138 will introduce changes to the Local Planning Policy Framework of the Darebin Planning Scheme (in particular via a new Municipal Strategic Statement) to reflect key components of recent strategic work, including the Darebin Housing Strategy. Whilst there will be no re-zonings as part of Amendment C138, these new policies will form the strategic basis to inform the application of future residential zones.  

    Where can I get more information?

    This website contains comprehensive information about the Darebin Housing Strategy as well as Planning Scheme Amendment C138, which proposes to implement directions from the Strategy into a new Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS). 

    You can also view the exhibition documents in the following other places:


    On the Department of Planning and Community Development website at www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/planning/publicinspection

    In Person

    Exhibition documents are on display in the following locations:

    • City of Darebin - 274 Gower Street, Preston
    • Northcote Library - 32-38 Separation St, Northcote 
    • Reservoir Library - 17-21 Ralph St, Reservoir
    • Preston Library - 266 Gower St, Preston
    • Fairfield Library - 121 Station St Fairfield
    • Northland Customer Service Centre, Preston -  located next to the bus stops at Northland Shopping Centre 

    Have a Question?

    Phone: 8470 8768

    Send an email to: planningservices@darebin.vic.gov.au

    Use the 'Ask a Question' Form on this website

    What’s next and how can I have my say?

    The Darebin Housing Strategy is a reference document in the new Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) proposed in Planning Scheme Amendment C138. Amendment C138 seeks to implement the new MSS and other Local Planning Policy changes into the Darebin Planning Scheme.

    The Darebin Housing Strategy and Amendment C138 are on public exhibition from 8th August to 7th October 2013. 

    You can have your say about the Darebin Housing Strategy and Amendment C138 by making a formal submission during this time. A submission may support, oppose, or seek changes to the Amendment. 

    A submission about the Darebin Housing Strategy will be considered a submission to Amendment C138.

    Who can make a Submission?

    Any person who may be affected by a proposed amendment (either as the owner or occupier of land which is to be the subject of changed planning scheme provisions) or who may be affected by changes on other land, can make a submission.

    In the case of a submission made jointly by a number of people, the submission should nominate one person as the group’s representative for notices and representation.

    How do I lodge a Submission?

    Submissions must be in writing and be clearly marked with the Amendment number, the name of the person (or nominated person if it is a group) making the submission, preferred contact details, the address of the affected property (if applicable) and the reason/s for the submission.

    Your submission can be lodged in several ways:

    • Online - use the 'Make a Formal Submission' feature on this website (you must be a registered user of this site to do this).
    • By Email - send your submission to: planningservices@darebin.vic.gov.au.
    • By Post - address your submission to Planning Services Consultation, Darebin City Council, PO Box 91, Preston VIC 3072

    When must Submissions be received by?

    All submissions must be received by Council no later than 7th October 2013. 

    What does Council do with Submissions?

    Council is required under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 to consider all submissions to the Amendment. 

    Please be aware that under the Section 21(2) of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, Council is required to make a copy of any submission available for any person to inspect.

    Essentially, the steps in the Amendment process after the exhibition period ends are:

    Review of submissions: Council officers review all submissions received.  As part of this process Council officers may contact submitters as required to further discuss their submission and the changes sought.

    Council Meeting to report on submissions: Council officers will prepare a report to Council on the outcomes of the formal exhibition process. This report will provide a detailed response to each submission. In the case of submissions which request a change to the Amendment, the Act requires Council to either change the amendment as requested, or refer the submission to an independent Panel. Council also has the option of abandoning the Amendment or the part of it affected by the submission. All submitters will be notified of the Council meeting date.

    Panel Hearing: If submissions are referred to a Panel, Planning Panels Victoria will invite submitters to appear at a Panel Hearing in support of their submission. After the hearing, the Panel will then prepare a report with recommendations for Council's consideration. 

    Council Meeting to decide on Amendment: Council officers will prepare a report to Council detailing the recommendations of the independent Panel. Council will decide on whether to accept or reject the Panel recommendations and decide on whether to adopt the Amendment and submit it to the Minister of Planning for approval. If Panel recommendations are not adopted, Council will need to provide justification of this position to the Minister for Planning as part of any request for approval.

    Minister's Decision: the Minister for Planning decides whether to approve the Amendment. If approved, a notice will appear in the Government Gazette and Council will notify all submitters and the broader local community. The changes to the planning scheme would come into affect on the day the approval of the Amendment is gazetted.

    The  Department of Transport Planning and Local Infrastructure website has more information on the Planning Scheme Amendment process:

    More information on the Planning Scheme Amendment process