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Planning for liveable neighbourhoods

Creating healthy and active neighbourhoods requires a partnership approach to ensure people of all ages have the opportunity to lead an active lifestyle and have access to high-quality facilities.

Planning requires a partnership approach

We work with the federal and state governments, other local councils, developers, local organisations and community groups to plan and provide infrastructure and services for our new and changing communities.

While there is some overlap, the 3 levels of government have distinct roles and responsibilities for delivering different services to residents in the City of Whittlesea.

Our 3 main responsibilities:

  • Provider: We provide essential community services and infrastructure.
  • Advocate: We advocate to state and federal governments for funding of community services and infrastructure projects.
  • Facilitator: We support and work with local community groups, organisations and government agencies to deliver services and infrastructure projects the community needs.

We deliver over 100 services including:

  • community services: maternal and child health care; family day care, services for older adults
    and people with a disability
  • waste management: rubbish bins, hard, green and recycle waste collections
  • public space: maintenance and provision of local parks and open spaces, including play equipment, sports reserves and trees
  • roads: building and maintaining local roads
  • local laws: pet ownership, animal management, parking, vegetation management
  • building and planning: assessing and issuing permits relating to building, environment and health
  • strategic planning: long term strategic planning and policy development

Find out more about what we do.

State government responsibilities include:

  • education (primary and secondary schools and vocational training and higher education)
  • public health (hospitals and some community health services)
  • emergency services (police, fire and ambulance services)
  • water supply (waterway cleanliness)
  • public transport (trains, buses and trams)
  • building and maintenance of main roads (such as Plenty Road) and freeways (such as
    the Hume Freeway)
  • Victorian Planning System (broad policy direction for the planning of land and development in Victoria)
  • funds to councils for kindergartens and some community facilities

Federal government responsibilities at a local level include:

  • builds and manages infrastructure programs of state significance (airports, universities)
  • funding for major roads and rail projects
  • funds local roads through Roads to Recovery program and Financial Assistances Grants

The planning system

local and state governments manage planning and development in Victoria to ensure the delivery of well-planned and well-designed suburbs and neighbourhood areas.

What is a planning scheme?

A planning scheme is a statutory document that regulates the use, development and protection of land in the area to which it applies. It does this through setting policies and provisions relating to land use and development.

Whittlesea Planning Scheme

We are responsible for administering the Whittlesea Planning Scheme, which guides how land can be used and developed across the City of Whittlesea.

Beneath the planning scheme sit a variety of other plans that ensure where you live has access to shops, parks, jobs, education, transport, art and community facilities.

Precinct structure plans (PSPs)

Precinct Structure Plans are high-level master plans for whole communities. They lay out roads, retail hubs, schools, parks, housing, employment, connections to transport and generally address biodiversity, cultural heritage, infrastructure provision and funding through the development contributions plan.

The state government and Council prepare PSPs to ensure there is a consistent and considered approach to planning new areas across the municipality. Once approved by the state government, the PSPs are incorporated into the Whittlesea Planning Scheme to guide planning permits applications within the future growth areas.

Precinct structure plans currently under preparation are:

For more information, visit the Metropolitan Planning Authority website.

Structure plans

We develop structure plans in consultation with the community. They set out future direction for our newly established areas and suburbs. Once approved, they will be incorporated into the Whittlesea Planning Scheme.

Structure plans:

Master plans

Master plans are developed for a specific space including streetscapes, parks and reserves.

A master plan provides specific direction on changes to a space/place to improve the way it is used by the community.

Master plans:

City of Whittlesea town centres

Town centres play a crucial role at the heart of our communities.

They are not just shopping centres – they are multifunctional places providing services, employment and connections in our city.

They are where we shop, work, meet, relax and live. Usually well served by public transport, they range in size and use from local neighbourhood strip centres to major town centres.

The City of Whittlesea advocates to the state government to ensure adequate services are delivered at the same time as these centres develop.

Community facilities

Community facilities play a vital role in creating healthy communities by providing a place where people can socialise, engage in a variety of activities. We typically build facilities in partnership with the state and federal governments, community and non-government agencies, and property developers.

Regional facilities

Delivery of regional community facilities such as universities, leisure, performing arts facilities and hospitals requires funding from the federal and state government and partnerships with the private sector.


In Victoria there are government schools, Catholic schools and independent schools.

State government

The state government is responsible for public primary and secondary schools, it also regulates a range of education, training and early childhood services.


We advocate and work in partnership with the state government, Catholic Education Office and Independent School sector to secure land for future schools across the City of Whittlesea.

Community centres

We plan, develop and oversee the management and maintenance of community centres. Each one is unique and developed in response to the needs of the local community.

Community centres often have a community hall, kitchen and meeting rooms which can be used by residents and groups of all ages for a range of social, recreational, cultural and service delivery activities including:

  • maternal and child health services
  • kindergarten
  • playgroups
  • cooking and art groups
  • programs for young people
  • adult education classes
  • fitness classes such as yoga, dance, tai chi
  • seniors clubs
  • planned activity group programs
  • immunisation
  • private functions

Find out more about our community centres and halls.


Kindergartens are managed on behalf of Council by volunteer parent Committees of Management or community-based not-for-profit organisations that have experience in the provision of early childhood education and care services to children.

Council responsibilities:

  • build, own and maintain kindergarten facilities
  • manage a central enrolment scheme for kindergarten programs operating from Council-owned facilities
  • support early childhood educators with professional development, networking opportunities,  integrated service and capacity planning

Parks, recreation and leisure facilities

It’s important that people of all ages and abilities have the opportunity to access and enjoy quality parks and open spaces and leisure facilities.

State government:

  • Plans, delivers and manages Victorian parks such as Plenty Gorge Park, South Morang.
  • Provides policy and guidance to local government about the planning of future local parks, recreation and leisure facilities.


  • Plans, develops and manages local open spaces such as parks, reserves and streetscapes. This includes around 1,300 hectares of land and 77,000 street trees.
  • Plans, develops and manages local recreation and leisure facilities including Mill Park Leisure, Growling Frog Golf Course, Waterview Recreation Reserve, Thomastown Recreation and Aquatic Centre and the numerous tennis and bocce courts, football, cricket and softball ovals and soccer pitches across the municipality.
  • Protects the natural and heritage values of our open-space.

Find out more about our many parks, recreation and leisure facilities.


  • Developers are required to set aside land for parks and recreation facilities. The land is then transferred to Council to manage and maintain.

Growth areas

The planning and provision of open-space in the future and newly established areas are guided by state government planning guidelines. Developers in these areas must provide land to be used for parks, recreation, leisure, waterways, nature conservation, and open space linkages.


Roads, trains, trams and buses

Federal government:

  • provides funding for transport projects, such as new roads and public transport that are of regional or metropolitan significance

State government:


  • maintains and assists with planning the transport system in the municipality to meet the needs of our residents
  • provides infrastructure and maintenance of local roads, footpaths and cycle ways
  • advocates to state and federal governments for improvements to the municipality’s:
    • public transport, such as the extension of the train line to Mernda and Wollert and increasing the capacity of local bus services
    • road network, particularly major arterial roads and freeways, such as the extension to O’Herns Road and the interchange onto the Hume Highway

Find out more about our transport strategy.


Developers in our future and newly established areas (Mernda, Doreen, Epping North, Wollert, Donnybrook and Woodstock) build roads, footpaths, shared paths and open-space links.

Once constructed the developer hands them over to Council to maintain.

Environmental sustainability

We are committed to protecting our diverse natural assets, managing the urban-rural interface, and reducing our demand on resources.

Our natural assets

Our municipality has many natural assets including rare native grasslands and red gum woodlands, local waterways and significant animal species.

We deliver a variety of programs designed to encourage sustainable land management, including incentive schemes for our rural landholders, environmental planning and development controls, and community engagement programs that help educate and connect people to their natural surroundings.

We also manage a large number of conservation reserves that are home to our unique flora and fauna.

The built environment

Sustainable buildings and urban areas don’t just have a lower impact on our environment, they also create places for people to live and work that are more comfortable, more durable, and cost less to run.

We encourage a sustainable built environment by working with developers and state government agencies through the planning process.

We are actively working on reducing our own environmental impact through projects such as the refitting of over 7,000 street lights with energy efficient lamps, using biodiesel to fuel our heavy vehicle fleet, building an integrated water-capture system in partnership with the Melbourne Wholesale Fruit, Vegetable and Flower Market, and installing solar photovoltaic panels on community buildings.

To keep our future impact low, we also ensure that all our new community buildings meet ‘best practice’ benchmarks in sustainable design.