Plans to reform the parking controls in the Planning Scheme have been thrown into disarray following the extension of the heritage controls to cover Clause 52.06 of Victorian Planning Schemes.
The heritage protection comes after the objectives of the heritage overlay were extended to cover issues of natural, cultural, architectural, social and bureaucratic significance. It represents a win for proponents of the emerging field of administrative heritage.
“Clause 52.06 has stood the test of time and has remained essentially unaltered for many years. Its inclusion in the heritage overlay recognises its enormous contribution to the car-dominated built form of this city” said one admino-heritage expert, speaking on condition of irrelevancy. “This clause is a piece of history, and has a great deal to tell us about the way of life of previous generations of planners.”
The listing was opposed by others, who noted that the clause had been extensively renovated in the late 1990s during preparation of the VPPs. Yet a Panel subsequently held that the 1990s changes had been “cosmetic changes only, leaving substantial heritage fabric intact” and endorsed the listing.
Reformists hope that it will still be possible to implement further changes to the parking controls, by keeping the basic structure and revisiting parking rates. But such a compromise may fail to please anybody. Admino-heritage advocates dismissed such an approach as “ordinance facadism,” arguing that a “meaningful portion” of the parking controls needed to be preserved. At the same time, the listing was opposed by those wanting a more thorough reworking of the control: “It’s time these people realised that the planning scheme is not a museum.”
Admino-heritage groups deny accusations that they seek to preserve useless administrative procedures. “We’re not in favour of red tape at all,” said a representative. “What we’re advocating is more of a rich shade of burgundy.”
Originally published in the “Clause 101″ column in Planning News 30, no. 4 (May 2008): 30. Photo from the Library of Virginia: click for details.