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A pilot program of the Secondary Dwelling Code (Code) was introduced into the Greater Bendigo, Kingston, Moreland and Murrindindi Planning Schemes on 27 August 2020 through Planning Scheme Amendment VC186.

The Code seeks to facilitate the development of small scale, self-contained secondary dwellings on the same lot as an existing dwelling in residential areas, generally dubbed ‘granny flats’.

The Amendment is underpinned by the need to provide greater choice and alternative housing in Victoria. Facilitating the development of secondary dwellings seeks to promote alternative forms of housing, with the Code seeking to address local housing gaps and implement key policy contained in Plan Melbourne 2017-2050.

The Code operates by inserting a new particular provision at clause 51.06 (‘Secondary Dwelling’) into the Greater Bendigo, Kingston, Moreland and Murrindindi Planning Schemes.

The new control will apply in select residential zones being the Mixed Use Zone, Township Zone, Residential Growth Zone, General Residential Zone and Neighbourhood Residential Zone.

Operation of clause 51.06

To qualify, the secondary dwelling must meet the numerical requirements of nine specific clause 55 standards and all of the following requirements:

Lot requirements

  • Must be located on the same lot as an existing dwelling.
  • Must not be located on a lot that contains a dependent person’s unit.
  • Must be the only dwelling on the lot approved under clause 51.06.
  • There must be no more than two dwellings on the lot as result of the development.

Other requirements

  • Must not exceed a gross floor area of 60sqm.
  • Must not exceed a building height of 5 metres.
  • Must not contain more than one storey at any point (where a basement is not considered a storey).
  • The number of car parking spaces on the land associated with the existing dwelling must not be reduced below the applicable requirement in Table 1 to Clause 52.06 as a result of the development.
  • Where provided, any garden area requirement in the zone must be met.

Where the above requirements are met:

  • no permit will apply under the particular nominated residential zones; and
  • the car parking requirements at clause 52.06-1 will not apply.

The provisions under the new clause 51.06-2 will prevail over any inconsistent provision in the planning scheme.

VicSmart assessment

The clause allows certain applications to be streamlined via the VicSmart assessment process where particular requirements are satisfied, being processed within 10 days and subject to less administrative requirements. These applications must:

  • satisfy the above requirements;
  • relate to a dwelling not located on a lot boundary or closer to a street (other than a rear lane) than the existing dwelling; and
  • satisfy the numerical requirements of particular standards of clause 55.

Prohibition of subdivision

All permits for a secondary dwelling must include a condition prohibiting the permit holder from subdividing the secondary dwelling from the existing principal dwelling. A section 173 agreement is the tool to implement this prohibition recorded on the title certificate.

The pilot program will run for seven months, concluding in March 2021. The seven-month trial is intended to allow any necessary adjustments before its roll-out to other Victorian planning schemes.

The requirement for private open space is intentionally absent with the private open space of the existing dwelling forming part of the decision guidelines. It remains to be seen how successful this pathway will be and the uptake. However, the initiative is welcomed.

Please contact our team should you have any questions about the operation or interpretation of this new clause 51.06 or any other statutory provisions in Victorian Planning Schemes.

1 Clauses 32.04-6, 32.05-7, 32.07-5, 32.08-6 and 32.09-6.