Mandatory walkable neighbourhood code starts today, reminder

A Mandatory Planning (Walkable Neighbourhoods) Amendment Regulation 2020 will commence on 28 September through a new schedule in the Planning Act regulations.

The regulation will apply to new urban residential subdivision with road construction. More stringent local planning scheme requirements will override the new state provisions.

The new minimum benchmarks require:

  • Grid-like street patterns connecting to surrounding and future roads and paths
  • A maximum block length of 250 metres
  • Street trees – a minimum of 1 tree per 15m each side of a new road
  • Footpaths – if a new road provides direct lot access footpaths are to be provided on at least 1 side of the road
  • Access to existing or new park(s) within 400 metres of each part of a block.

Although noted as “mandatory”, some of the benchmarks such as grid-like patterns, connections, and access to parks requirements, are required to the extent permitted by topography and other physical constraints. The regulations are intended to ensure the reconfiguration supports convenient and comfortable walking for transport, recreation, leisure, and exercise in the locality of new lots.  These final mandatory provisions follow significant consultation and Institute submissions and input.

A new DA Form 1 – Development application details (version 1.3) also applies so check you are using this latest form.

New guidance documents for the mandatory provisions have also been provided online:

  • Supporting information for the Amendment Regulation provides further information about how the assessment benchmarks may be applied
  • Model Code for neighbourhood design provides an example set of development assessment provisions promoting the creation of walkable neighbourhoods, updated with recent consultation feedback  
  • Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia Queensland’s (IPWEAQ) Street Design Manual: Walkable Neighbourhoods provides a contemporary technical guide for the design and development of Queensland’s residential neighbourhoods
  • The Walkability Improvement Tool provides built environment professionals with the methodology to identify and prioritise walkability improvements in existing neighbourhoods.

Full detail of the regulation is available here.