The City of Moreland’s aspiration to create a network of local neighbourhoods stems back to the original ‘Moreland Urban Villages’ policy (1997), and it has been consistently applied through its municipal planning frameworks and strategies since that time. That policy defined urban villages as being neighbourhood centres with local retail facilities, employment opportunities for further housing and other development, good public transport, safe, connected and attractive streets and a range of community facilities and open space within walking distance.
This aspiration is strongly supported by the recently-released metropolitan strategy (‘Plan Melbourne’) which promotes the concept of the ‘20 minute neighbourhood’, where all residents have excellent access to a wide range of local amenities and services, including shops, schools, public transport, parks and community services.
Activity Centres are an integral element of Council and State government’s vision for sustainable local neighbourhoods. They are the focus for a range of uses which are clustered to derive social and economic benefits for local communities, businesses and the wider area. Activity centres are best located where they adjoin existing or planned infrastructure such as public transport, education facilities and civic services.
The purpose of the Moreland Activity Centres Framework (‘the Framework’) is to define a network of activity centres that enables this vision to be realised. The Framework has adopted the municipal vision for an ‘environmentally sustainable and liveable city, where people can shop, work and socialise locally’ , and applies it by addressing the following matters:
• Confirming the activity centre hierarchy across Moreland;
• Defining the number, location and role of Neighbourhood and Local Activity Centres across Moreland;
This Framework recommends that a network of neighbourhood activity centres be planned across the municipality, each supported by a high quality public transport services. The activity centre hierarchy proposed in this report has the following characteristics:
• Each of the three regions of the municipality (i.e. north, central and south) are supported by a Principal or Major Activity Centre (both are now described in Plan Melbourne as ‘Activity Centres’).
• All households in Moreland are located within walking distance of an activity centre of one type or another (be it a Principal, Major, Neighbourhood or Local Activity Centre (LAC)).
• The majority of households have local access (ie within less than 1km) to an activity centre that meets their weekly convenience retailing and community service needs (ie a neighbourhood activity centre or a larger centre).
• Neighbourhood Activity Centres are accessible to residents by multiple modes – walking, cycling, public transport and private vehicle.
• Neighbourhood Activity Centres contain a diverse range of activities, including local shopping, recreational, community and health services. Such centres provide opportunities for the establishment of local businesses and the creation of local employment opportunities.
• A diverse range of housing choices are available within close proximity to Principal, Major and Neighbourhood Activity Centres. These centres (both within and around) are the preferred location for high and medium density housing, and their boundaries are clearly defined.
• Local Activity Centres provide smaller scale, local opportunities for retail, community and commercial uses, as well as limited medium density housing opportunities, depending on access to public transport and other infrastructure.