Page 1672 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 May 2013

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tune with the current neighbourhood. There were submissions from the MBA and the HIA, and the Planning Institute of Australia have made numerous criticisms. Landscape Architects expressed their concerns, as have also a number of architects who have demonstrated that DV306 places significant restrictions on achieving good, practical design outcomes.

You have to begin to ask the question: who actually believes that DV306, as it stands, is going to improve the quality of built outcomes in Canberra’s residential areas? The scope of many of the submissions and the inquiry itself, through the consultation process, concentrated on the interim provisions aspect to DV306—that is, the immediate implementation of this variation in the Molonglo valley.

The other sections that are highly featured are the changes to the multi-unit development code relating to sites zoned in RZ2 areas. I believe that these aspects of DV306 have been significantly scrutinised and have uncovered a number of serious concerns. However, I feel much of the impact of DV306 has not properly been measured.

DV306, once implemented, will dramatically change the planning rules surrounding the established housing stock in the ACT. This has been poorly scrutinised and poorly articulated to industry. The true implications are widely unknown by the community at large and will remain this way until they are faced with dealing with these changes.

DV306 allows some improved flexibility. The changes are made through the relaxing of the building setback provisions, particularly in relation to second storeys. However, the introduction of the sun angle building envelope places greater restriction on the options available for good design to be implemented.

In the Molonglo valley there is evidence of the impact that the sun angle building envelope is having and it has seen relatively level blocks being significantly excavated. They have been cut to lower the finished floor level of the house to below natural ground level. It has also seen the positioning of homes towards the northern boundary and relegates much of the usable open space to the southern or shaded side of the property. This change also restricts the built form of a second storey, resulting in a long, narrow design outcome with a significant portion weighted towards the rear zone of the block.

In reality, this means these changes not only increase the environmental impact of construction but promote cold, unusable backyards, a high tendency for overlooking of neighbouring blocks and also significantly drives up the cost of construction. The local construction industry rightly has major concerns at how these provisions will restrict design options and potentially deliver poor housing outcomes as the more undulating sections of the Molonglo valley are released for development. When these changes are applied as a blanket to all established homes across the ACT, many home owners will discover that their aspirations of extending or renovating their home are significantly restricted.

Much of the established housing stock in the ACT was built with little, if any, consideration of solar orientation. Whilst it is widely accepted that the planning outcomes of much of Canberra’s housing stock leave a lot to be desired, forcing all

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