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Better Quality Developments in Merri-bek

Merri-bek is changing quickly as more people than ever are choosing to make our community their home. This rapid growth means we need to find ways to improve the quality of medium and high-density developments.

In line with our Council Plan 2021-2025, we want to encourage better quality developments in Merri-bek. This means going further than what the current Planning Scheme requires to make sure that 2-dwelling homes built in Merri-bek are:

  • Well-designed
  • Accessible
  • Environmentally sustainable
  • Energy efficient
  • and comfortable to live in.

To achieve this we have adopted the Better Quality Developments (BQD) process.

What is the Better Quality Developments process?

A streamlined and fast-tracked process which aims to give the existing and future Merri-bek residents better quality 2-dwelling properties.

BQD applicants will be determined within 6 weeks from the date they lodge their planning application.

Am I eligible for Better Quality Developments?

Participating in BQD is voluntary but strongly encouraged if you're seeking approval for 2-dwelling developments on 1 lot.

To quality for the BQD process, you must:

  • Undertake a pre-application meeting with Council
  • Obtain a pre-certification from Council's Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) unit. This includes ESD certified plans
  • Meet the development requirements outlined in the Better Quality Design checklist - 2 dwelling on a lot
  • Include all of the information requirements outlined in the Better Quality Design checklist - 2 dwelling on a lot with your applications
  • Pay the advertising fee when you lodge your application so we can get it to public notice sooner.

Benefits of participating in Better Quality Developments

By meeting the Better Quality Development eligibility criteria, you will get:

  • An easier planning process. A planning decision is guaranteed within 6 weeks from the date your application is lodged
  • A planning officer who will meet you at the pre-application meeting and manage the permit application where possible
  • A Better Quality Development scorecard logo that you can use in your development's marketing and promotional material.

Can a resident object to a Better Quality Development?

Yes, the usual notice period process remains the same. Better Quality Developments does not remove the community from the process.

If a resident objects to a Better Quality Development, the objection will be considered by Council officers.

Resources for Better Quality Developments applicants

These resources are intended to be a starting point for your plans. Using them does not guarantee that your application will be eligible to qualify for the BQD process, or that a planning permit will be issued. 

  • Better Quality Design Checklist-Two Dwellings on a lot - This checklist helps to facilitate the Better Quality Development (BQD) process. Participants who want to go through the BQD process must review and complete this checklist before to attending a pre-application meeting. 
  • Environmentally Sustainable Design and Documentation Checklist - this checklist is designed to facilitate the ESD Certification process which must be obtained to qualify for the BQD process.
  • Good Design Advice Sheets- these provides guidance on ways to improve the quality of medium density development in Merri-bek. Further details and access to these sheets can be found on our Good design advice page.
  • Design Exemplars- Coming December 2023. The design exemplars are in the process of being developed. They are a collaboration of Council with  architects and aim to guide 2-dwelling developments to deliver high quality design outcomes. The exemplar designs will help to show how the design requirements in the Better Quality Design Checklist can be applied, and represent generic designs for common lot sizes in Merri-bek.

How to apply for Better Quality Developments

You will need to register an account on our eservices site before lodging any of the below applications.

Pre-application meeting

To qualify for the Better Quality Development process, you must attend a pre-application meeting. A pre-application meeting request can be lodged here.

Prior to your pre-application meeting, you are encouraged to review and complete the Better Quality Design Checklist- Two Dwelling on a lot

Note: Once Council confirms you are eligible to participate, you have 6 months from the date of the confirmation letter to apply for the actual planning application via the BQD process.

Environmentally Sustainable Development certification

After the application’s eligibility to be processed under the BQD process is confirmed at the pre-application meeting, the next step will be to obtain the ESD certification.  You will receive a link to upload your ESD certification.  Prior to lodging the ESD Certification, you must review and complete the ESD Design and Documentation Checklist and submit to Council along with the Architectural Plans and the Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA) which were reviewed during the pre-application process. 

Better Quality Development planning application

After the pre-application meeting and once ESD certification is obtained together with the ESD certified plans, you can then lodge for the BQD Planning application by selecting the ‘Better Quality Developments’ option in the online e-services portal.

Please note that together with the planning application fee, you will be also required to pay the fee for the public notification of the application which will be undertaken during the consideration of the application.