We advise developers, landowners, profit-for-purpose organisations and community members on the planning and urban design aspects of larger and more complex sites and proposals. Our work for the private sector includes:
We provide planning and urban design advice at all stages of the site acquisition, design and planning process about the potential of a site and the merits of development proposals.
We prepare development plans and master plans for large infill sites for residential, commercial and mixed-use development.
We provide independent expert planning and urban design evidence at VCAT, Planning Panels and Advisory Committees in relation to planning applications and planning scheme amendments.
We provide advice and independent expert evidence in relation to the removal or modification of restrictive covenants.
The historic use of restrictive covenants has typically been akin to an early form of town planning designed to realise the ‘customised’ needs of a development or area when it was being subdivided and developed for the first time.
Over a century later, older building stock and a policy focus on urban renewal and building up our urban areas to create more compact, sustainable and liveable cities is making way for change and provides that the original purpose and intent of many restrictions is no longer relevant or has become obsolete.
With a focus on sustainable land use and development outcomes and in-depth experience and understanding of the legislative provisions of the Property Law Act 1958 relative to modern planning schemes, we are regularly engaged to prepare expert planning evidence to support applications to the Supreme Court for orders to ‘unlock’ land burdened by restrictive covenants.
We have successfully supported a wide range of proposals to modify or discharge restrictions in a range of metropolitan and peri-urban settings including in relation to restrictions on:
Our ability to provide complementary and considered advice about planning outcomes that might be realised in the absence of the restriction and having regard to the appropriate planning policy context and the relevant sensitivities of beneficiaries is regularly instrumental to the Court’s favourable consideration.
We provide highest and best use assessments to inform compensation negotiations in relation to land acquisition.
We are regularly engaged to provide strategic advice and to prepare expert planning evidence in relation to proceedings involving valuation of land, compensation for compulsory acquisition of land, and disputes involving land use or environmental protection for both private landowners and authorities.
The context of our work is broad and spans local and regional infrastructure projects across the metropolitan and regional setting. Some of the projects we have worked on include:
• Pakenham Bypass
• Western Port Highway
• Mornington Peninsula Link
• Regional Rail Link
• Craigieburn Bypass
• Metro Rail
• West Gate Tunnel Project
• Metro Tunnel
• Western Grasslands
• Suburban Rail Loop
• Drysdale Bypass
• Outer Metropolitan Ring/ E6 transport corridor
• Punt Road Widening
• Mordialloc Bypass
• Koo Wee Rup Bypass
• Pakenham East Train Stabling and Maintenance Depot
• Princess Highway Upgrade (Winchelsea-Colac)
We prepare plans to guide the development of new activity centres and review activity centre plans prepared by others.
We bring a people-centred approach to developing place-based solutions for existing and emerging communities, with a bespoke set of skills in community development and place activation for greenfield developers.
Our experts are regularly engaged to provide an independent assessment and evidence at Planning Panels in relation to planning scheme amendments pertaining to greenfield development.
Albert Fields is a 10.5ha site in an industrial precinct in Brunswick, Melbourne. Moreland City Council sought to facilitate the renewal of the precinct through its rezoning, managed through design controls in a new schedule to the Design and Development Overlay. We were engaged to undertake a peer review of the planning scheme amendment to inform its review by a Planning Panel.
Mark Sheppard’s evidence to the Planning Panel was instrumental in achieving a more flexible design control which allows for greater height and is less prescriptive about the site configuration.
Mirvac and Milieu are now proposing to construct a Build-to-Rent development on the site named Albert Fields. We have been engaged to advise on the urban design aspects of the proposal.
Name: Albert Fields
Client: Mirvac/ Milieu
18-22 Salmon Street is a 1ha site at the heart of the Wirraway activity centre in the Fishermans Bend urban renewal area, and immediately adjacent to its potential new train station. A major mixed-use development is proposed on the site incorporating two supermarkets, office space, apartments and a new station plaza. We have been engaged to advise on the urban design aspects of the proposal.
Our advice has included interpreting the complex built form controls for Fishermans Bend, acting as a ‘sounding board’ for design concepts and providing advice to inform negotiations with the Fishermans Bend Taskforce, DELWP and the Port Phillip City Council.
Name: 18-22 Salmon St, Fishermans Bend
Client: Freeman Group
The former Channel 10 site is a large landholding in middle-ring Melbourne.
We were engaged to provide strategic and statutory planning advice on the redevelopment of the site, including the planning controls applying to the use and development of the land, and permit applications for a diversity of housing types and developments.
The outcome to date has been to deliver suitable planning scheme controls and to secure the approval of a over 275 dwellings.
The Southgate development lies at a strategic location in Melbourne between Hamer Hall, The Yarra River, the Evan Walker Bridge/ Southgate Avenue and City Road. It is a largely low-rise shopping centre, forming part of relatively impermeable precinct for pedestrians.
ARA proposed a new 21-storey office tower as part of a broader reconfiguration that will provide new pedestrian connections between the river and the Melbourne Arts Precinct.
Concerns were raised by the planning authority about the proposed tower façade treatment— in particular, that it didn’t display the characteristics of a ‘Melbourne tower’. We were engaged to review the façade design and advise on changes to ensure it better meets these character aspirations.
Our review commenced with a study of Melbourne office tower façade designs. It concluded that there is no consistent or single ‘Melbourne’ tower style. However, a general trend can be identified from older office towers that express their structure through strong horizontal and vertical elements in muted colours, resulting in highly articulated facades with a high proportion of solid to void, to newer office towers that generally employ curtain-wall facade systems with more subtle and widely spaced articulation, resulting in better natural daylight and outlook. The most recent office towers exhibit visually richer façade designs through techniques such as threedimensional faceting.
Following our analysis we advised that, in order to respond to its context of generally older towers, the proposed tower should incorporate a more prominent façade grid in natural tones that balances horizontal and vertical elements. These recommendations were adopted and the tower has now been approved.
Client: ARA Australia Pty Ltd
District Docklands is a precinct in Melbourne’s Docklands that has been partly developed, primarily for retail and entertainment uses.
We were engaged to provide urban design advice and a Development Plan to enable a planning permit application for two sites within the southern part of District Docklands. The Development Plan provides a development framework for the sites and their associated air rights.
The development framework includes:
Name: District Docklands
Client: Capital Alliance
Dandenong Plaza is a large enclosed shopping centre surrounded by surface and structured car parking, within the Dandenong Metropolitan Activity Centre. Changes in retail have presented the opportunity to reconsider the mix of uses on the site and how it connects with the surrounding urban fabric.
In order to provide greater certainty about the future of the site, it was identified that the Development Plan Overlay should be applied to it.
We were engaged to provide urban design input into a Master Plan for the staged redevelopment of the site, the DPO schedule and the planning permit application for the first stage.
We identified the key opportunity presented by the redevelopment of Dandenong Plaza to redress the balance of investment in the activity centre, which has been largely west of the Lonsdale St spine to date, while completing the ‘Spine of Consolidation’ sought by policy. Our analysis of the site and its context led to a suite of Urban Design Principles that have guided the master planning of the site.
These principles seek to introduce a broader mix of uses and ‘stitch’ the site to its surroundings via high quality public realm. Permission has now been granted for Stage 1 of the development.
Name: Dandenong Plaza
Spotswood Yards is an 4.8ha Strategic Redevelopment Area within the City of Hobsons Bay.
We were engaged to prepare a Master Plan to guide the development of the site, and provide urban design advice in relation to individual planning permit applications. We developed a suite of urban design principles to guide the development, based on urban context analysis.
Case studies of similar scale developments in Melbourne were also investigated to further inform the development of the Master Plan. The Master Plan identifies a framework of new public thoroughfares and open spaces that will ‘stitch’ the site into the surrounding area and provide a well-connected and high amenity neighbourhood.
Name: Spotswood Yards
Client: Blue Earth Group
The Brite business is located on a 2 hectare Site in the Broadmeadows Activity Centre which both the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) and Hume City Council (HCC) have identified for potential future mixed-use redevelopment.
We prepared a Development Plan which outlined how the Site could be redeveloped to further grow and diversify the Brite business in the next 10-20 years.
Name: Brite Development Plan for Profit-for-Purpose Organisation
The Kyneton Commercial and Industrial Precinct is the town’s principal industrial area, lying to the north of the town.
We were engaged to facilitate the subdivision of the precinct to and secure permits for national companies associated with hardware, fast food, and service stations.
Name: Kyneton Commercial and Industrial Precinct
Lardner Park is a major events based facility in Gippsland.
We were engaged to provide strategic planning advice to ensure the ongoing operation of the facility and secure approvals for Farm World and Beyond the Valley music festival.
Name: Lardner Park
Land around the former Sunshine landfill is available for development.
We were engaged to provide strategic and statutory advice on how to manage the planning and development of the land, including recommendations on planning controls suitable to the environmentally constrained land conditions.
Name: Sunshine Landfill
We have assisted Hawthorn, St Kilda and Geelong Football Clubs realise significant opportunities to improve and redevelop their training and playing facilities, including moving Hawthorn’s elite training facilities to Dingley and the South East Green Wedge, assisting St Kilda’s return to Moorabbin Reserve, and assisting Cardinia Park Stadium Trust to secure approval for the final stage of works, identified as a project of State significance.
Name: Football Clubs
Client: Hawthorn FC, St Kilda FC, Cardinia Park Stadium Trust
We provided expert planning evidence of behalf of Kingston City Council opposing a request for the further extension of time for planning permits issued for a recycling facility.
Our evidence weighed the merits of the proposed continuation of the land use against the long-term strategic planning objectives for the Kingston Green Wedge and the site as part of a regionally signficant, green and open space corridor to serve the open space and recreational requirments of the urban area.
Name: Clarinda Recycling Facility
Client: Kingston City Council
Malvern Collective is a major mixed-use development in Malvern, Melbourne. It lies next to a train station and tram route at the gateway to a major activity centre, and incorporates a number of heritage buildings. The applicable planning controls contain discretionary maximum building heights ranging up to 10 storeys.
We were engaged by the developer, Kokoda Property, to provide an independent urban design review of the proposal designed by JCB Architects to assist in its refinement so that it could receive planning approval. This followed an earlier commission to assess the planning control when it was at draft stage and provide expert urban design evidence to inform its consideration by an independent panel.
We found that the proposal which reached a height of 17 levels was appropriate, because it is a carefully tailored site-specific design response that achieves the outcomes sought by the planning control, notwithstanding its greater height. However, we recommended minor refinements to improve its contribution to the amenity of the public realm.
The refinement of the proposal led to a permit being issued by Council without the need for an appeal.
Name: Malvern Collective
Client: Kokoda Property
The Ormond Station level crossing was grade separated in 2016, releasing land for development. We were engaged to undertake urban design analysis to inform planning controls for development above Ormond Station.
We were subsequently engaged to undertake an urban design assessment of and advice in relation to the development proposal, and an Urban Context and Design Response Report (UCDR) to accompany the planning application. Our initial analysis and evidence at a panel hearing let to the introduction of a Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) for the site.
The CDP requires the provision of a public plaza, a new pedestrian crossing of the rail line, a mix of uses that will activate the public realm and a built form that responds appropriately to its sensitive residential context. Our subsequent advice ensured that the development will deliever the outcomes sought by the CDP and contributed to a high quality design proposal.
Name: Ormond Station
In 2019 Yarra City Council prepared Amendment C191 which was required to guide and respond to increased development activity along the Swan Street Activity Centre area.
The amendment seeks to guide an emerging character that balances the competing interests of delivering housing close to public transport and services, while responding to the heritage significance of Swan Street.
The amendment will introduce permanent built form controls, implementing the built form recommendations within the Swan Street Activity Centre Built Form Framework, September 2017 through the introduction of DDO17, to replace the interim controls.
We were engaged by the landowner of the Corner Hotel to review Amendment C191 from an urban design perspective and provide expert evidence to inform its review by an independent planning panel.
Our evidence highlighted the unique position of the subject site at the entrance to the precinct with no direct sensitive residential or heritage interfaces. Based on this it recommended on balance discretionary built form heights and setbacks rather than mandatory. This position was further supported by the building being non-contributory from a heritage perspective.
The Panel recommended the removal of parts of the mandatory overall building height, street wall height and upper level setback controls, to recognise the site’s robust interfaces away from the heritage significance of Swan Street.
Location: Swan Street Activity Centre
Client: Swancom Pty Ltd
Jetty Road is a 310 hectare growth area located west of Drysdale on the Bellarine Peninsula. A condition of the area’s development plan was that the land owners were required to prepare a masterplan for a new neighbourhood activity centre adjacent to the hilltop and central to the growth area.
We were engaged to develop an illustrative concept for the new centre which was used to lock in a robust framework plan. Our framework plan provides Council with the assurance of a ‘mainstreet’ centre integrated with the park while still incorporating flexibility for any future developer.
Our plan was developed in conjunction with the landowner, key council officers and consultants. Once built, the centre will include a full line supermarket, specialty retail and community facilities structured around an east-west ‘mainstreet’.
The ‘mainstreet’ culminates at a subregional Hilltop Park with views across to Corio Bay. The centre will be integrated into the surrounding neighbourhood by mixed use and higher density residential development.
Name: Jetty Road Activity Centre Master Plan
Client: Algo Properties
Toolern is a Major Activity Centre planned alongside a new railway station in a greenfield area at the eastern edge of Melton. We were engaged to review a draft Urban Design Framework (UDF) for the centre and provide advice on potential improvements to it from an operational and urban design perspective.
We developed a series of conceptual design options for the centre that provided for effective commercial tenancies while honouring the proposed urban structure and ensuring good urban design outcomes.
This resulted in changes to the UDF to provide stronger built form definition at a key gateway, and improved servicing arrangements that will avoid conflict with primary pedestrian areas.
Name: Toolern Activity Centre Urban Design Framework
Eglinton is a suburb in Perth’s northern growth corridor.
We worked in association with local planners to prepare a Vision Document, Masterplan and Framework Plans for a new district centre in Eglinton. Our plans identified opportunities and were designed for a wide range of land uses including major retail, civic, entertainment, office, commercial and educational along with a diverse range of higher density residential housing.
We designed a centre focused on a mainstreet which connected the station plaza with iconic office buildings on Marmion Avenue, a major regional road. Of note, was the creation of distinctive public spaces along the mainstreet including the Station Plaza, which is envisioned to be active 18/7, and a more intimate town square collocated with civic facilities.
The Eglinton District Centre was designed to be a main point of arrival for people travelling to the Eglinton area by public transport. It will be a bustling transport hub for commuters and it will demonstrate best practice environmental, social and economically sustainable design.
Name: Eglinton District Centre
Mitchell Shire and the City of Geelong are seeking to ensure that a sense of place is established early in the life of their new communities.
We were engaged to provide training as part of a capacity building exercise for Council officers in these growth area councils. Our training focused on the creation of place in emerging communities and the impacts on the lived experience of residents over the development lifecycle, including exploration of national and local best practice examples of early community infrastructure and place activation, partnership models and innovative funding mechanisms to deliver place early.
We provided resources and materials to support funding submissions for early activation, and to advance partnership models for pending PSPs.
Name: Creating Place in Emerging Communities Training
Client: Mitchell Shire and City of Geelong
Amendment C234 to the Cardinia Planning Scheme seeks to introduce the Pakenham East Precinct Structure Plan (PSP).
We were engaged to provide independent planning and urban design assessments of the Minister for Planning’s proposal to remove four parcels of land from the PSP, to inform its review by a Planning Panel.
Name: Pakenham East Precinct Structure Plan
Amendment C106 seeks to introduce the Beveridge North West PSP in the Mitchell Planning Scheme.
We provided evidence on behalf of the Shire of Mitchell challenging the merits of enabling a quarry to be established on land otherwise set aside as a growth area. Our review involved a full appreciation of Victoria’s strategies focused on natural resource protection and the demand and supply of quarry product.
Name: Beveridge North West PSP
Client: Mitchell Shire Council
Amendment C241 to the Whittlesea Planning Scheme seeks to introduce the Shenstone Precinct Structure Plan (PSP).
We were engaged to review the PSP from planning and urban design perspectives in order to inform its review by a Planning Panel. We provided separate planning and urban design evidence to the Panel in relation to the extent of a quarry, uses within the quarry buffer, the location of the town centre and the interface between industrial and residential land.
Name: Shenstone PSP
Client: Donnybrook Joint Venture
Amendment C246 to the Geelong Planning Scheme sought to introduce the Lara West Structure Plan.
We were engaged to review the location of the proposed Neighbourhood Activity Centre (NAC) within the growth area in order to inform a review of the Structure Plan by a Planning Panel.
Our assessment of the proposed NAC location against the principles for activity centre location found within the planning scheme and PSP Guidelines concluded that the proposed Manzeene Village NAC would be a more appropriate location.
Name: Lara West Structure Plan
Client: Manzeene Avenue Development Project Trust
kinetica was formerly known as David Lock Associates (DLA).
David Lock Associates (Australia) Pty Ltd changed its name to Kinetica Studio Pty Ltd on 21 February 2020 to reflect the significant reinvention of the business.
Starting with the crystallisation of our vision and values, continuing with a transformation of our planning offer, and culminating in our move to a ‘grown up’ office in the CBD, we are no longer the business we were.
Paralleling these changes, we agreed with David Lock Associates Limited (the English business which gave birth to DLA Australia) that it is time to undo our formal corporate ties, while retaining a strong informal relationship.
This reinvention of the business needed to be expressed outwardly and we began the process of refreshing our graphic identity. DLA has been predominantly known for urban design expertise, and the name reflects our history as a satellite of an English business. A new name offered the opportunity to establish a refined brand, based on a home-grown organisation featuring planners and urban designers trusted for their expertise and independence.
Our new company name, kinetica, reflects our passion for change. We facilitate and shape changes in the use, ownership and development of land to create a better lived experience.
kinetica retains the best of DLA—highly regarded independent urban design expertise—and combines it with highly regarded independent planning expertise.