Mornington Peninsula Planning Objectives

The Mornington Peninsula is a highly special and unique place.

The Mornington Peninsula is one of Melbourne’s greatest assets, characterised by contained townships, a substantial and diverse local economy, and areas of national and international conservation significance.

As an area near to, but distinct from, the growing metropolitan area, there are ever increasing pressures and demands placed on the Peninsula. For this reason, it is necessary to have clear policy directions for the long-term benefit of both local communities and the wider Melbourne population.

These policy directions are contained in the Mornington Peninsula Planning Scheme (MPPS) and the Mornington Peninsula Localised Planning Statement, which set out the policies and provisions that control land use and development in the Peninsula. The MPPS was introduced in May 1999 and it replaced the former Mornington, Hastings and Flinders planning schemes.

Strategic Planning Objectives

Although Council seeks to achieve many objectives through its planning scheme, the key ones include those below.

To prevent urban or rural residential sprawl on the Peninsula

The Peninsula is not designated as a metropolitan growth area under state government policy and is not primarily intended to accommodate demand for housing. The boundaries for future township growth on the Peninsula are well defined in the Planning Scheme and Council will not support adhoc fringe expansion. Council’s adopted Housing and Settlement Strategy outlines directions for future housing and population growth to year 2031 to ensure that the unique values and character of the Mornington Peninsula’s settlements, landscape and environment are protected. This Strategy reinforces the limited and generally low levels of housing growth within the established Urban Growth Boundary, towns and villages. Due to concerns regarding fragmentation of land ownership as a barrier to proper land management and the increased pressure this produces on continuing rural land use, subdivision in rural areas is generally discouraged, except in very limited circumstances where land management is shown to be improved and no adverse impact on landscape values occurs.

To require development design to respond to site conditions and local area character

Many areas within the Peninsula townships have a special character, due to the landform, vegetation or pattern and density of existing development. Other areas face limitations on further development due to environmental sensitivity or lack of infrastructure. To ensure developments are designed to respond to site conditions and local area character, the Planning Scheme contains local schedules to Overlays that have specific controls that guide development in a way that protects the character of the area and the amenity shared by residents and visitors. These Overlays include the Design and Development Overlay, Vegetation Protection Overlay, and Environmental Significance Overlay. Council is working on preparing neighbourhood character guidelines that will be incorporated into the planning scheme. These guidelines will provide precinct-based neighbourhood character objectives to guide future residential development within the Shire’s urban area.

To support township commercial development

The town centres on the Peninsula are more than a collection of shops; they are activity centres with distinct roles and functions. Council seeks to ensure the vitality of the existing commercial centres as a means of promoting access to a wide range of goods and services, as well as providing security to encourage continued private and public investment. The areas provided for future commercial development under the Planning Scheme are intended to reflect the future capacity of townships to support a definite level of commercial floor space.

To protect the rural landscape

A significant part of the Peninsula is characterised by rural landscapes, coastlines and seascapes which together provides a contrast to the urban areas. This non-urban part is just as important as other parts in contributing to the Peninsula’s unique and special character. It is important that sites and areas of historic, scientific and cultural value are conserved and not detracted by inappropriate siting and appearance of buildings and works. This includes intrusive commercial development and signage on major roads. Development should also be designed to respect and, where possible, enhance the natural environment, the rural landscape and scenic values of the Green Wedge.

To support sustainable agriculture

The Mornington Peninsula is an important agricultural resource to Greater Melbourne. Council supports sustainable agriculture and the conservation and enhancement of the productive capacity of land for the future. The Peninsula has a favourable combination of soils and climate that is highly productive and Council seeks to support the productive use of rural land through policy and other measures. 

To promote the retention of habitats for biodiversity

The Peninsula includes areas of international, national and regional conservation value that need to be protected from inappropriate land uses and development. The planning scheme provides a means of achieving this objective through the local schedules to the Environmental Significance Overlay which contains controls on development within and around environmentally-sensitive areas. Where proposals may impact on natural systems, it is critical to demonstrate net environmental benefit.

To encourage informal recreation

One of the Peninsula’s key values is as a recreational area that complements the urban growth corridors of metropolitan Melbourne. However, the type of recreational opportunities provided must be compatible with the character of the Peninsula and should not dominate or detract from the existing sense of place. The provision of recreational facilities will not justify a development proposal that is contrary to other planning objectives unless substantial net community and environmental benefit can be clearly demonstrated. Council policy particularly supports recreational activities which are linked with the historic, agricultural, environmental, and landscape features of the Peninsula.