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Planning new residential neighbourhoods in Queensland to encourage walking for transport, leisure, recreation and exercise

01 September 2020

#Planning, Environment & Sustainability

Published by:

Lucy Kaiser

Planning new residential neighbourhoods in Queensland to encourage walking for transport, leisure, recreation and exercise

Due to commence on 28 September 2020, the Planning (Walkable Neighbourhoods) Amendment Regulation 2020 (Amendment Regulation) amends the Planning Regulation 2017 by introducing new assessment benchmarks that require development in new residential neighbourhoods to adopt designs that encourage walking for transport, leisure, recreation and exercise.

The new assessment benchmarks will apply to development that includes the reconfiguring of a lot for residential purposes in residential zones (with the exception of rural residential zones) and where at least one road is created or extended.

The Explanatory Note to the Amendment Regulation is available here.

Assessment Benchmarks

The new assessment benchmarks are set out in a new Schedule 12A: Assessment benchmarks for particular reconfiguring a lot.

The new assessment benchmarks apply to the reconfiguration of a lot where:

  • the reconfiguration is the subdivision of the lot into 2 or more lots (created lots)
  • the lot being reconfigured is wholly or partly in a prescribed zone
  • no part of the lot being reconfigured is in a rural residential zone or a zone that is substantially similar to a rural residential zone
  • at least 1 created lot is intended mainly for residential purposes, and
  • the reconfiguration is associated with the construction or extension of a road.

The “prescribed zone” includes any of the following:

  • general residential zone
  • low density residential zone
  • low-medium density residential zone
  • medium density residential zone
  • high density residential zone
  • character residential zone
  • tourist accommodation zone
  • emerging community zone
  • mixed use zone, or
  • a zone substantially similar to one of the above zones.

In simple terms, the new assessment benchmarks require new development to meet the following criteria:

  • connectivity for pedestrians is provided through a grid-like street layout responding to the local landscape
  • block lengths are a maximum of 250 metres
  • footpaths are provided on at least one side of local neighbourhood roads and on both sides of main streets
  • at least one street tree is provided per 15 metres on each side of all streets, and
  • blocks are within 400 metres of a park or open space to the extent topography and other physical constraints reasonably permit.

Existing local assessment benchmarks are not considered to be inconsistent with the new assessment benchmarks, provided the existing benchmarks merely contain extra requirements for a proposed development (e.g. instead of requiring one street tree every 15 metres, a planning scheme may require one every 10 metres). 

If you would like further information on the new assessment benchmarks, our lawyers from the Queensland Planning & Environment team are well-placed to assist.

Authors: Gerard Timbs and Lucy Kaiser

The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this newsletter is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.

Published by:

Lucy Kaiser

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