Housing Strategy | City of Casey
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Housing Strategy

15 August 2017

Executive summary

The City of Casey is one of the fastest growing regions in Australia with approximately 288,800 residents (2015). The City of Casey is forecast to increase to approximately

420 000 residents by 2031. Over the past 15 years, the City has changed dramatically resulting in a diverse community with a range of ages, backgrounds, interests, expectations and aspirations. As Casey's community transitions across different life stages, a range of housing options is required to respond to that demographic change.

The City of Casey’s Housing Strategy focuses on housing types that support the changing and growing community, whilst also seeking to ensure that dwellings built today are appropriately located and can meet the needs of tomorrow and future generations.

Council’s Housing Vision

Casey will offer a diversity of housing to meet the needs of its community both now and in the future. Residents will be able to find housing that suits their current and future needs in terms of type, tenure, size and cost. More diverse housing such as town houses, units and apartments will be located in locations with convenient access to shops, services, transport and open space, where it is easy to walk or cycle. Housing diversity will create a more self-sufficient city so that residents do not have to move outside Casey to find the housing they want.

The Housing Strategy applies to the whole of the City of Casey and seeks to provide certainty to the community, community housing sector, developers, and government agencies. The Housing Strategy is the result of extensive planning, research and community consultation. This means that the strategies, objectives and accompanying actions in the Housing Strategy are generally supported, are locally-relevant and reflect community priorities.

The City of Casey’s Housing Strategy identifies locations suitable for different rates of housing change (minimal, incremental and substantial change). The Strategy helps to direct more intensive development (substantial change) into areas with easy access to existing services and high frequency transport options, and in-centre areas. It encourages moderate development (incremental change) in areas with good access to activity centres and close to strategic transport routes. The Strategy makes clear Council’s intent is to minimise change in areas with established heritage and neighbourhood character values, and are more remote from public transport and services.

The Housing Strategy contains objectives, strategies and actions to assist in achieving the vision through six areas: Housing Diversity; Housing Choice; Affordability; Sustainable Growth; Quality of Design; and Amenity and Neighbourhood Character. These objectives build upon the foundation set by the Municipal Strategic Statement and seek to deliver on Council’s C21 Strategy, the Council Plan and key State Government Strategies and directions, such as Plan Melbourne.

The Housing Strategy will be delivered via an Implementation Plan that guides actions for local housing towards 2031. The key actions that arise from the Housing Strategy include the application of the Neighbourhood Residential Zone, General Residential Zone and the Residential Growth Zone.


The City of Casey’s Housing Strategy will ensure the municipality has more diverse, well- located housing for its residents over the next 15 years and beyond. Traditionally the planning focus has been on ensuring there is adequate residential land with infrastructure and services for Casey’s growth areas to cater for some 7,000 new residents every year. Casey is moving into a new phase and housing diversity across the municipality is needed. The management of growth in greenfield areas will continue for many years, and Casey will advocate and work with developers and relevant state agencies to secure more diverse housing in greenfield development.

Equally, many Casey suburbs have become ‘established’ with maturing communities and older housing, and these suburbs need more diverse housing to cater for the changing needs of the community.

In more established suburbs like Berwick, Cranbourne, Doveton, Endeavour Hills, Eumemmerring, Hallam, Hampton Park, Lynbrook, Lyndhurst and Narre Warren a two-parent household with children is no longer the norm and most households are now comprised of single people, and couples without children. Many houses in these suburbs are now more than 50 years old, and some of these are appropriate for redevelopment with new housing which is more suited to the local market and changing demographics.

Housing provision is driven by market forces that, to date, have delivered very limited ‘diversity’ in Casey’s housing. Approximately 91 per cent of Casey’s housing comprises single detached housing for families. This is the highest level for any Council in Metropolitan Melbourne. More recently there has been a shift, with the local market starting to deliver greater numbers of units, townhouses and apartments in some areas.

Casey aspires to be a truly sustainable City where residents can travel conveniently by foot, bicycle, car or public transport, and access the full range of employment, community and consumer services. The Housing Strategy promotes this aspiration by ensuring that more diverse, higher density housing is located in the most accessible locations – where people can easily access a great choice of services. The Strategy seeks to achieve a more sustainable pattern of development across the City, rather than a continuation of the current ‘opportunistic’ approach which sees higher density on larger lots even though these may be in more remote locations, away from key infrastructure such as shops, public transport and employment.

As one of Melbourne’s main growth areas, Casey has a substantial supply of greenfield land that has been identified for short and long-term residential development. The Urban Development Program 2014 identified 31 years of housing growth at rates of 2,090 lots per annum (2012-13). The overall supply of residential land is therefore not an issue for Casey and the priority of the Housing Strategy is on housing diversity.

Housing in the Low Density Residential Zone (LDRZ) is a particular focus of the Strategy. Provisions for the Low Density Residential Zone were changed in July 2014 and Council has used this opportunity to consider how these changes can be introduced in Casey and which LDRZ precincts can accommodate further subdivision.

2.1 What is a Housing Strategy?

A housing strategy identifies current and future housing needs. The City of Casey Housing Strategy explores housing potential and opportunities for further residential development and identifies the associated constraints to housing growth. The Strategy enables Council to efficiently manage future housing supply to meet the community’s needs.

2.2 Why prepare a Housing Strategy?

Whilst Council cannot directly influence population growth, Council has a clear role to plan for and accommodate the housing needs of the current and future community. It is projected that more than 130,000 new residents will call Casey home from now until 2031 and there will be a change in demographics with an ageing population and fewer people in each household.

This trend places pressures on existing housing and requires consideration of where additional housing growth can be accommodated to protect the long term liveability, affordability, and sustainability of the municipality.

(Insert Graphic on Page 6 here)

2.3 Why the Established Areas?

The Housing Strategy provides guidance for an appropriate housing mix and locations for more intensive and diverse housing in all of Casey. The Strategy relies on data within the ‘established areas’ (shown in Map 1) and takes into consideration historical data and detailed population forecasting. These established areas were typically developed before 2000 and hold key opportunities for diversification due to their aging housing stock, proximity to amenities and more varied transport options.

The Housing Strategy provides the overarching objectives for housing in Casey, including areas not identified as being within the ‘established areas’. This includes the growth areas (land in the Urban Growth Zone) and Casey’s small coastal settlements (Blind Bight, Cannons Creek, Pearcedale, Tooradin and Warneet. These areas are also subject to separate planning and development studies which will address housing and urban design issues in more detail.

Map 1 - Established Areas

(Please insert Map 1 here)

2.4 What does the Housing Strategy include?

The Housing Strategy examines the need for more diverse housing stock in Casey and makes recommendations about how more diverse housing can be delivered. The forecast period is to the year 2031, which aligns with the current Metropolitan Strategy (Plan Melbourne). The Housing Strategy sets out how best to meet Casey’s future housing needs by considering Local and State policies, investigating the housing supply and demand over the next 20 years, understanding housing issues, capacities and opportunities to then inform locations for minimal, incremental and substantial change.

The Strategy also sets out policy directions and an implementation program.

2.5 What is Housing Diversity?

For the purpose of this Housing Strategy, ‘housing diversity’ refers to:

(Please insert 1st Graphic on Page 8 here)

2.6 How has the Housing Strategy been prepared?

The Housing Strategy has being prepared in three stages as follows:

(Please insert 2nd graphic on Page 8 here)

2.7 Community Engagement

Community input and engagement is essential for an effective and robust Housing Strategy. Residents have provided input and provided information in person, over the phone, online, or through progress updates via Council’s website. Three rounds of community engagement were provided to help inform the Strategy.

Policy context

The Housing Strategy has not been prepared in isolation. There is a multitude of local, metropolitan, State and Federal policies which have guided and influenced this Strategy.

3.1 Local

A Vision for our Future and Casey C21 – Building a Great City

Casey’s C21 Strategy is an overall long-term plan for the City which was based on comprehensive research and consultation. The vision formed the basis for the Municipal Strategic Statement and has recently been updated as Casey C21 – Building a Great City. The strategy promotes ‘… a diversity in housing choice in terms of size, tenure, type and cost. Higher density housing should be supported where appropriate and opportunities for affordable housing should be promoted’ (Section 8.1, Objective 3). The Strategy calls for higher density housing in activity centres, and especially in the Narre Warren-Fountain Gate CBD.

Council Plan 2013-2017

Council Plan outlines the way the City of Casey will work towards achieving Council’s Vision for the future – “To be the city of choice to live, work and raise a family”, during the period 2013-2017. The views of the community play a key role in the development of the Council Plan which includes five key directions. Services for Casey’s Community, Developing Casey’s Economy, Planning for Casey’s Community, Building and Managing Casey’s Assets, and Achieving Best Practice in Governance at Casey.

City of Casey Planning Scheme

The Planning Scheme contains a number of Local Planning Policies which impact on residential design or supply issues, including policies for Future Urban Areas, Townships, Residential Development, and Good Design. In addition, the Retail Policy (Clause 22.09) supports the provision of a diversity of uses – including housing - in activity centres.

The Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) sets out the strategic framework for Casey. Council has recently adopted a revised MSS which includes objectives for Settlement and Housing (Clause 21.03) and provides a strategic framework for housing in Casey. The adopted MSS seeks high-density housing on well-located sites within easy walking distance of higher order activity centres and public transport, as well as a balanced provision of well-located affordable housing to meet a diversity of housing needs, including aged care, student housing, low-cost housing, social housing and public housing.

The MSS includes Local Area Plans for seventeen local areas, twelve of which include provision for medium and higher density housing.

Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2013-2017

The Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan sets out how Council can improve the health and wellbeing of its local community. The Plan sees an important role for Council to advocate for housing diversity to respond to changing demographics (Advocacy Priority 8 – Diverse and Affordable Housing).

Housing Diversity Statement 2012

The Housing Diversity Statement focused on affordable housing with short, medium and long-term objectives. Key objectives include the need for higher housing densities around activity centres, public transport, and the need to investigate policy mechanisms to facilitate greater housing diversity.

3.2 Metropolitan

Plan Melbourne

Key directions from Plan Melbourne includes the increase of density and diversity of housing in walkable catchments of Activity Centres, while encouraging different housing types in strategic locations, so that more people can live closer to jobs and services.

The Metropolitan Strategy identifies key areas in Casey as appropriate locations for increased housing. These include the ‘Fountain Gate-Narre Warren Metropolitan Activity Centre’ and the ‘Monash University and Casey Hospital (Berwick) Health and Education Precinct’.

3.3 State Government

State Planning Policy Framework (SPPF)

The SPPF provides the strategic basis for the application of zones, overlays and particular provisions. The SPPF requires Council to facilitate higher density housing in or close to activity and neighbourhood centres and employment corridors. This is to ensure that housing matches the local community’s needs and to encourage more affordable housing closer to jobs, transport and services.

New Residential Zones

In July 2013, the State Government introduced three new Residential Zones to replace the former residential zones. These Zones comprise the Residential Growth Zone (‘substantial change’), General Residential Zone (‘incremental change’) and Neighbourhood Residential Zone (‘minimal change’). The new zones give Councils the tools to identify preferred locations for housing growth, as well as locations where more intensive housing should be avoided. These proposed zones are identified in Chapter 6.1- Housing Change Area.

The translation of the new residential zones occurred through Amendment C195 to the Casey Planning Scheme, by applying the General Residential Zone to the majority of housing areas and the Residential Growth Zone to two sites only. The Amendment was gazetted on 19 June 2014. The implementation program for this housing strategy will introduce different schedules for the General Residential Zone and the Neighbourhood Residential Zone.

Ministerial Direction 16 – Residential Zones

Ministerial Direction 16 requires planning authorities to act without delay to include all three new Residential Zones in their Planning Schemes, but this must be based upon a properly researched housing strategy. The development of this Housing Strategy is a critical step to inform where the new Residential Zones should apply within the City of Casey.

3.4 Federal Government

There is no comprehensive or integrated approach to housing policy at the Federal level but there are a number of policy portfolios which influence housing through stimulating supply and demand. Many of these influences are non-spatial measures - such as taxation policies.

The National Housing Supply Council was established in 2008 to monitor housing demand, supply and affordability in Australia. The 2013 State of Supply Report emphasises that housing stock is heavily weighted towards detached dwellings, rather than smaller dwellings like townhouses, units and apartments and that there needs to be more of these dwelling types to provide genuine choice.

Housing demand

The demand for more diverse housing in Casey in particular in the Established Areas considers both latent demand – theoretical demand based on population forecasts, household formations, and age structure – as well as demonstrated demand as expressed through current local housing trends.

The focus of this Strategy is on Casey’s established suburbs because that is where the demand for more diverse housing is strongest as current housing stock is relatively homogenous and where there are the greatest opportunities to deliver townhouses, units and apartments in the short to medium-term.

Growth areas have the opportunity to provide greater housing diversity from the outset, when compared to the established areas, as they effectively act as a “blank canvas” for development. Many of these areas are “yet-to-be-developed and undergo a separate process when it comes to land zoning and the location and provision of transport, employment and retail services. The application of the new residential zones in these areas occurs as Precinct Structure Plans are developed and approved.

4.1 Latent Demand – Changing Demographics

The latest population estimate for the Established Areas is 233,754 people (2011). This is projected to increase by 36,200 people to 269,954 by 2031 with an average annual growth rate of 0.7 per cent. Strongest growth will be in the 50+ age cohort which is projected to add approximately 28,300 to the population.

Table 1 - Projected Population Growth 2011-2031 (Established Areas)

(Source: id Consultants 2014)




Growth 2011-2031

Established Areas





0-9 years








































80+ years





The number of households is projected to increase by 36,200 over this period and the number of persons per household is expected to fall from 3.06 persons in 2011 to 2.8 persons per household by 2031.

Within the Established Areas, in 2011 the main household type was ‘Couple Families with Dependents’ (ie the conventional family household) that accounted for 44 per cent of all households. However, this household type is expected to decline over the next few decades to around 39 per cent in favour of a more diverse household structure. The largest increases are forecast to be ‘Couples Without Dependents’, which are projected to increase to 27 per cent of all households (22 per cent in 2011) and ‘Lone Parent Households’ are projected to increase to 19 per cent (from 16 per cent in 2011).

Table 2 – Projected Household Type 2011-2031 (Established Areas)

(Source: id Consultants 2014)










































































































































Household Type
























Couple families with dependents
























Couples without dependents
























Group households
























Lone person households
























One parent family
























Other families
























Total households























Figure 1 – Projected Household Type 2011-2031 (Established Areas)

(Source: id Consultants 2014)

(Please insert Figure 1 on Page 14 here)

The growth areas – outside the Established Areas – will cater for over 80 per cent of Casey’s total population and household growth. The dominant household type is projected to remain ‘Couple Families with Dependents’ in these areas. The established areas will therefore need to cater for nearly 20 per cent of this overall growth which still amounts to 36,200 people, and these areas will need to be the focus for more diverse housing. Demand for more diverse housing is strongest in established areas because it is where the most market opportunities can be found, where there are the best prospects to create a more sustainable development pattern and where there are the most facilities including service infrastructure, activity centres, proximity to places of employment, schools, public transport and established open spaces.

4.2 Expressed Demand – The Local Housing Market

Council engaged property and planning consultant Charter Keck Cramer to carry out a Housing Market Assessment in order to identify an appropriate housing mix for Council’s Housing Strategy. The Assessment looked at metropolitan housing trends, demand for medium density housing, and the nature of the Casey housing market. The assessment considered housing preferences for different household types and the extent to which the Casey housing market might be able to meet these demands, given its location on the outer urban fringe of Melbourne. The Assessment considered local land values, development constraints and the local development industry as it is important to not only understand who will be living in these homes, but also who will be building and supplying the homes. The report then presented scenarios for housing requirements for 2031 reflecting different assumptions about the community’s housing preferences.

(Please insert graphic on Page 15 here)

The proportion of townhouses, units and apartments is thus significantly lower than that for the rest of the metropolitan area and reflects Casey’s outer metropolitan location where residential land is readily available and more affordable compared to Melbourne’s inner suburbs.

Table 3 – Dwelling Types

(Source: City of Casey, 2014)



Total Separate Houses


Single Unit/Villa Unit/Townhouse


Residential Flats/Apartments


Retirement Village Unit




There is a clear relationship in Melbourne's housing market between property values and the extent of medium density housing development. Higher house prices facilitate medium density housing as the latter provides a relatively more affordable alternative than it does in lower priced locations. Research shows that most Australian households still prefer a detached house and it is only in the middle and inner suburbs that units and flats can be built and sold for prices that are significantly lower than a detached dwelling. In most parts of Casey, detached houses are still relatively affordable and it is difficult for a developer to build and sell units and apartments at a competitive price. In addition, developers will sometimes have difficulty securing finance to develop more intensive housing in the outer suburbs because it is seen as a higher risk market due to the limited depth of demand. Within Casey, only the Narre Warren-Fountain Gate Metropolitan Activity Centre and Berwick Village currently have property values which will generate niche opportunities for higher density housing, although more areas may potentially come forward over the next 15-20 years. This will however be limited to locations offering lifestyle opportunities due to their proximity to activity centres, public transport and recreational/open space opportunities.

Casey's median house price is well below the median for the metropolitan area and at this stage cannot sustain a viable apartment market beyond occasional niche projects in highly sought after locations. Locations for apartment projects typically offer superior accessibility and liveability by being located close to public transport, activity centres and other services.

In addition, the Housing Market Assessment found that fewer Casey residents choose to live in medium density housing as compared to their age group counterparts in other locations. The reason for this preference may be that the residents of medium density housing often choose to live in more central locations, but obviously for some this may also be influenced by the absence of a local medium density housing option.

The Assessment reviewed housing research across Australia and found that many households consume much larger housing than is required by their functional needs. For example, an older couple whose children have left home may choose to retain the larger family home even though their functional requirements have reduced. Similarly, a younger couple may purchase a townhouse or an apartment with more than one bedroom in anticipation of future needs rather than their actual needs at the time of purchase.

The Housing Market Assessment considered scenarios for housing requirements to 2031 reflecting different assumptions about the community’s housing preferences:

  • Scenario 1 considered unchanged housing preferences from 2011;
  • Scenario 2 considered a change in preference to those experienced by more established municipalities in Melbourne’s South East; and
  • Scenario 3 a further trend towards medium density housing and in particular townhouses as has been observed in recent years.

Scenario 3 most closely aligns with what is likely to occur over the next 15-20 years and forecasts demand for 21,400 new dwellings in Casey’s established suburbs by 2031 which equates to approximately 1,000 new households every year. The majority of those dwellings (70%) will still comprise of detached houses, some would be townhouses (22%), and a relatively small number (8%) will comprise units, flats and apartments.

Housing supply

The Housing Strategy considers how adequate land and property can be provided to meet projected demand – the ‘supply’ side of the housing equation. This in turn requires consideration of the constraints that might prevent those opportunities being realised, and an assessment of the opportunities to meet demand in terms of suitable land and property in accessible and sustainable locations.

5.1 Constraints & Opportunities

There are many constraints, challenges and opportunities to meeting future housing needs, particularly with respect to the delivery of higher density, environmentally sustainable and affordable housing.

Neighbourhood Character

Neighbourhood character refers to the ‘overall image and feel of a residential area’. The new Residential Zones have introduced a Neighbourhood Residential Zone which should apply to areas that have consistent elements that combine to form an identifiable character. The state Department of Planning’s Planning Practice Note 78 suggests that at least 50 per cent of Melbourne’s residential-zoned land should be covered by this Zone. It further states that the Neighbourhood Residential Zone should apply to locations where the community is seeking to limit housing change and population growth, to protect neighbourhood character, and ‘… in areas where single dwellings prevail and change is not identified’. However, the Zone should not be applied in precincts where there is policy support for significant housing growth, including near public transport and activity centres.

The City of Casey has carried out significant work on neighbourhood character and has been following a staged approach as indicated by earlier draft studies on neighbourhood character and the Casey Image Strategy in 2005. The first stage was the implementation of a Significant Landscape Overlay for Berwick Township and Environs which aims to protect special landscape character.

Other areas that have been identified for landscape protection and are suitable for immediate designation as Neighbourhood Residential Zone include Casey’s ‘Coastal Villages’ – Blind Bight, Cannons Creek, Pearcedale, Warneet, and Tooradin. These areas are generally typified by large lots with low scale dwellings nestled into the landscape. More areas of in-tact natural landscape are found in and around the Coastal Villages, when compared to the established urban area of Casey. Protection and regeneration of natural landscape assets is paramount, therefore the “minimal change” nature of the Neighbourhood Residential Zone or Township Zone is appropriate in these locations.

In the longer term, Casey will pursue a staged programme for assessing and protecting neighbourhood character by focusing on a small number of areas including those identified in earlier neighbourhood character studies, such as Harkaway Village, Narre Warren North Village and Berwick Township.

Casey will consider areas affected by the Significant Landscape Overlay in Berwick, and the Coastal Villages within the Neighbourhood Residential Zone. Neighbourhood character assessments and application of the Neighbourhood Residential Zone across the City will be considered.

Restrictive Covenants

A ‘restrictive covenant’ is an agreement typically recorded on the Certificate of Title between landowners to restrict the use or development of land for a perceived benefit. One type of covenant restricts development on residential lots to a single dwelling. The restriction remains in place even if the Planning Scheme allows or encourages multi-unit developments.

The issue of these restrictive covenants has been considered by the Residential Zones Standing Advisory Committee (2014) and various Planning Panels. Their conclusion is that strategic planning objectives should be the main driver for applying the residential zones in an area, independent of covenants. The Housing Strategy takes into consideration the advice whilst recognising that restrictive covenants may compromise those objectives in some areas.

Other Considerations

There are many other constraints and limitations that affect the delivery of more diverse housing in Casey. Some of these will be planning related items such as environmental, landscape and heritage restrictions on how land can be used, while others will be market limitations such as access to finance, and attitudes and priorities of the local building and development industry. The availability of suitable land and sites is also a key consideration and Council has carried out research to identify sites above 1,000sqm within preferred locations (which offer potential for multi-unit development), as well as dwelling age which can sometimes be an indicator of the readiness of a property for redevelopment (newer housing is unlikely to be redeveloped in the short to medium term).

Other challenges include meeting the continuing high demand for private rental accommodation that place pressure on housing affordability. Recent arrivals, students, the elderly and those with limited mobility have specific housing requirements in terms of design, location, tenure and cost.

A housing strategy must have a focus on improving the diversity, affordability and accessibility of housing stock to meet the needs of the growing population and changing community profile. A range of dwelling types of various sizes and tenure are required across the municipality to respond to the changing needs of the community and ensure that Casey retains its vibrant mix of residents.

5.2 Opportunities for Growth

‘Opportunity Sites’

The City of Casey has a number of ‘opportunity sites’ that possess attributes that make them favourable for re-development. These sites form part of the State Government’s Urban Development Program, while others have been identified due to residential zoning and large land size (2,000 sqm plus). These sites are not affected by any restrictive planning zones or overlays, and if developed could make a substantial contribution to meeting Casey’s housing needs.

In total, Casey has approximately 170 opportunity sites with a cumulative area of 67 hectares and an average size of approximately 3,900sqm. Some of these sites are close to public transport, shops and services and will be suitable for unit or apartment developments with densities above 45 dwellings per hectare. However, the majority of the sites are only suitable for lower densities because they are less accessible to convenient public transport, shops and services.

Walking Distances

State and Local Planning Policies call for more diverse and higher density housing to be located close to public transport, shops and other services. These are generally accepted as locations that offer benefits for sustainability as they are accessible. Residents in such areas can conveniently walk or cycle to services and transport, providing health benefits as well as convenience. There are benefits also for service providers who can attract a stronger local market.

In terms of identifying suitable areas for higher density, diverse housing it is important to understand walkable catchments i.e. the distances people are willing to walk to services. A 400m distance equates to about a five-minute walk and an 800m distance is equivalent to a ten-minute walk. These are generally taken as acceptable distances for people to walk to high quality public transport and shops. Detailed mapping considers the genuine walkability for existing pedestrian connections, typology and physical barriers.

The analysis has taken distances of 400m and 800m from transport and services and used this to identify accessible locations. This translates to preferred locations for higher density and more diverse housing.

Public & Private Open Space

Proximity to open space is important for all age groups and Council recognises the benefits that a quality open space network has for the health and liveability of the City’s residents.

As medium and higher-density redevelopment occurs public open space plays a greater role in providing visual relief, social and recreational opportunities for residents. Having a well landscaped and attractive public realm is critical in supporting the viability and liveability of new development.

Council’s Open Space Strategy provides a framework to guide the planning, design, development and management of open space in the City of Casey. Areas identified as incremental and substantial change through the Housing Strategy will be reviewed in line with the Council’s Open Space Strategy objectives and planning scheme amendments will ensure adequate open space is provided for higher density developments.

Housing Capacity Criteria

In order to assess if there is adequate suitable land to meet projected demand, an analysis was carried out of the capacity of the most accessible and sustainable locations. The criteria for this ‘capacity analysis’ are (1) proximity to high frequency public transport, (2) proximity to well-serviced activity centres and (3) opportunities for housing within the activity centres. The criteria and locations identified by these criteria are explained below and the areas affected are shown on Maps 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Criteria 1 - Proximity to Public Transport

Public Transport Criteria



Railway stations

Approx. 800m walkable catchment

(10 minutes)

  • Pakenham Rail Corridor
  • Cranbourne Rail Corridor
  • Princes Highway
  • Narre Warren-Cranbourne Road

Strategic bus routes

Approx. 400m walkable catchment

(5 minutes)


Note: Existing bus routes cover much of the established areas in Casey. However, these routes are easily changed and offer a relatively low level of service with longer intervals between buses. Unless future high frequency bus routes are implemented, they will not be included as preferred areas for more intensive housing and are not included as part of criteria 1. However, Council is advocating for a network of direct and frequent services, if implemented, it would support higher densities across a broader area.

Map 2 – Railway Stations

(Please insert Map 2 - Page 21 here)

Map 3 – Strategic Bus Routes

(Please insert Map 3 - Page 22 here)

Criteria 2 - Proximity to Activities Area

Council’s network of activity centres is described in the Activities Areas and Non-Residential Uses Strategy 2012. The Strategy sets out a framework of activity centres including Metropolitan, Principal, Major and Neighbourhood Activity Centres. Neighbourhood Activity Centres are further classified as Large, Medium and Small centres. Areas with proximity to these centres – except for the Small Neighbourhood Centres which do not have a full-line supermarket – are identified for more intensive and more diverse housing as set out below.


























































Activity Centre Criteria
















Metropolitan and Principal Activity Centres




Approx. 800m


walkable catchment


(10 minutes)




Metropolitan and Principal Activity Centres provide a regional level of retail, commercial, entertainment and community services to residents, workers and visitors.




  • Fountain Gate-Narre Warren CBD (identified in Plan Melbourne)
  • Cranbourne Town Centre                     
  • Berwick Village
  • Casey Central
  • Endeavour Hills Town Centre
  • Hampton Park Town Centre
  • Eden Rise, Berwick
  • Parkhill Plaza, Berwick
  • Carlisle Park, Cranbourne
  • Thompsons Parkway, Cranbourne North
  • Sandhurst Centre, Cranbourne West
  • Autumn Place, Doveton
  • Linden Place, Doveton
  • Spring Square, Hallam
  • Kirkwood Cres, Hampton Park
  • Lynbrook Village, Lynbrook
  • Amberley Park, Narre Warren South




Major Activity Centres




Approx. 800m


walkable catchment


(10 minutes)




Major Activity Centres provide a wide range of retail, commercial and community goods and services for weekly and comparison shopping.





Neighbour-hood Activity Centres




Approx. 400m


walkable catchment


(5 minutes)




Neighbourhood Activity Centres have a local focus and serve catchments where a majority of residents can access the Centre on foot. Identified Neighbourhood Activity Centres have at least one full-line supermarket.




Areas within 400 and 800 metres of activity centres are shown on Map 4 (distances are calculated from the edge of the centre i.e. the boundary where Commercial, Mixed-Use and Activity Zones change to Residential Zones). Detailed mapping and further consultation will be conducted as part of the Planning Scheme Amendment process prior to any rezoning.

Map 4 – Activity Centres

(Please insert Map 4 - Page 24 here)

Criteria 3 – In-Centre Development Opportunities

There are opportunities for higher density, diverse housing within activity centres and areas identified within Council’s development plans, structure plans and master plans. State Planning Policies support such housing. Housing needs can be met from development within activity centres, rather than from land zoned residential. Developments within activity centres can be expected to deliver apartment style developments rather than units and townhouses and should therefore be encouraged to fill this niche market.

Within the Fountain Gate-Narre Warren CBD Metropolitan Activity Centre, an analysis showed that if just 5 per cent of land was developed for a mixed use/residential development, then it could meet 100 per cent of Casey’s land requirements for apartments up to 2031.

Developments within activity centres and mixed use developments offer benefits for sustainability and accessibility and provide for a more lively economy and are encouraged. Over 2,000 apartments could be accommodated within activity centres across Casey, in particular through the higher order centres such as Narre Warren-Fountain Gate, Cranbourne and around the Berwick Health and Education Precinct.

The preferred areas affected by criteria 1-3 above are mapped and calculations have been carried out to assess their theoretical capacity to accommodate the projected demand for more diverse housing as set out previously (refer 3.1). The analysis considered sites above 1,000sqm within the preferred locations and considered the age of dwellings, and made assumptions about how many apartments might be accommodated within the activity centres themselves. The research demonstrated that there was theoretical provision for well over the projected demand for town houses, units, flats and apartments.


Other issues

7.1 Low Density Residential Zones

The Low Density Residential Zones (LDRZ) has been reviewed as part of this Housing Strategy because of changes in the new Residential Zones (July 2014). The default minimum subdivision size for the LDRZ was reduced from 4,000sqm to 2,000sqm if sewerage was connected, but Council requested that this reduction be postponed until further research could be conducted.

Twenty low density precincts are identified (refer Map 7). Each precinct was reviewed through an assessment criterion including bushfire risk, landscape impact, accessibility to services, infrastructure limitations and agency concerns. The initial review considered that the existing 4,000sqm minimum should be retained in ten precincts, but that the remaining ten precincts should be reviewed as part of the overall Casey Housing Strategy.

Additional research was therefore carried out for this Housing Strategy. Findings from the Housing Market Assessment suggested that there was ongoing demand for ‘rural lifestyle’ and low density housing with just three years’ supply of vacant properties. These findings indicate that the supply of such lots should be increased if possible. This position is strongly supported by the Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) which supports a mix of housing opportunities, quality housing for a range of household types, and a wide range of lot sizes. Low density housing offers housing that is suited to higher income groups and professionals who are somewhat under-represented in Casey as a whole, and offers opportunities for a more diverse community. The rezoning of Low Density Residential Zones for conventional housing therefore cannot be justified, especially since there is ample land for conventional housing in Casey’s growth areas to meet forecast demand for at least 30 years.

Council’s MSS (5 August 2014) includes policies to protect areas of high landscape value, and in particular the Casey Foothills policy area. The policy direction strongly discourages further subdivision in the Casey Foothills area and subdivision below the 4000sqm minimum should be discouraged.

It is therefore concluded that the current minimum subdivision for Low Density Residential Zones areas be maintained at 4,000sqm except Precincts 7, 8, 9, 17 and 18, where the minimum subdivision should be reduced to 2,000sqm. The Development Plan for the Pound Road area of Precinct 17 will need to be revised if subdivision to 2,000sqm is permitted in this area. Council’s On-site Stormwater Detention Policy must be considered to ensure runoff generated by new developments does not adversely impact downstream properties.

The release of the above land for lower densities could potentially provide for over 1,900 new LDRZ lots which will go some way to meeting the identified shortage of ‘rural lifestyle’ and low density housing.

An amendment will be required to the Casey Planning Scheme to allow the above precincts to have a minimum subdivision of 2,000sqm as the current schedule to the zone indicates a 4,000sqm minimum for all land within a low density residential zone within the City of Casey.

Map 7 – Low Density Residential Zone Precincts

(Please insert Map 7 - Page 38 here)

7.2 Housing Affordability

Housing affordability is recognised as an important social issue for Casey in the Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan and the Housing Diversity Statement. Policies and measures to facilitate more diverse
housing in Casey will assist to improve affordability and encourage more diverse housing by increasing the supply of smaller dwellings in the form of apartments and units. If smaller dwellings are located in more accessible locations, then such dwellings are likely to be more affordable.

Accessibility to activity centres, public transport and services will also assist affordability because it will offer cost savings to residents of these dwellings in terms of lower transport costs and servicing

The Housing Market Assessment drew on research which shows that a significant contribution to affordable housing comes from small-scale developments carried out by a home-owner on their own property.

A case study was conducted on Doveton due to its Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) index ranking on disadvantage. The case study found that Doveton had notably older housing stock built prior to 1970’s
and low values of capital improvements. Seventeen developments were identified which produced dual occupancies in the form of a dwelling at the rear of an existing home. Such developments offer benefits to the home-owner – for instance to realise a financial return – but they also make an important
contribution to affordable housing and should therefore be encouraged.

A recommendation of the Housing Diversity Statement is to work with the development industry to provide a range of housing types and densities in appropriate locations. This cooperation could be formalised through a forum with different types of developers or through an alliance with one or two
development companies. Different models for this approach will be investigated and taken forward.
A further recommendation from the Housing Diversity Statement is to investigate policy mechanisms to facilitate housing diversity requirements. It is understood that the State Government is exploring options
to facilitate affordable housing, and progress on these initiatives will be monitored.

7.3 Housing Diversity in the Growth Areas

The Housing Strategy is focused on Casey’s established areas where Council has planning control. The City of Casey will also advocate to the state Government and its agencies for Precinct Structure Plans that provide for housing diversity in the growth areas. To this end, research has been carried out to investigate the extent to which the growth areas are delivering housing diversity in line with housing objectives for these areas. Casey has adopted Precinct Structure Plans and each is accompanied by housing objectives and targets. The objectives and targets for these Plans are similar, with an overarching vision for ‘greater housing choice, diversity and affordability’.

Key objectives of the Precinct Structure Plans include:

  • Greater diversity of lot sizes and housing types; and
  • Deliver medium and high density near services like town and activity centres, community facilities, public open space, or proposed public transport routes.

Despite these objectives, delivery of housing diversity in the growth areas has been variable at best and the predominant housing product remains the 3-5 bedroom detached dwellings with very few examples of small dwellings, units or apartments. The output from the growth areas is changing and higher densities are now consistently being achieved. However, it is largely through a widespread change towards town houses with shared walls or detached housing on smaller lots (70 per cent of lots are now between 250 and 500sqm). There are also examples of more innovative housing with smaller 1-2 bedroom homes, units and apartments, although these are very much in the minority.

Similar to the established areas of Casey, these ‘higher’ densities of housing are achieved in an ‘opportunistic’ approach which sees higher densities achieved through conventional housing forms on smaller blocks, often in areas away from shops, public transport and employment.

The Housing Strategy advocates for greater housing diversity in the growth areas with diversity measured by housing types – including units and apartments – rather than lot sizes. Clearly defined targets should accompany the housing diversity objectives and specific areas identified for higher densities. Housing diversity should be marked in the Precinct Structure Plan in accordance with the objectives and targets for the established areas i.e. walkable distances to shops, services and public transport.

Policy directions

8.1 Housing Diversity

Objective 1: To provide for a range of housing types and sizes to meeting increasingly diverse needs.

Strategy 1.1

1.1.1 To identify and zone land appropriate to meet projected demand for diverse housing across Casey.

1.1.2 To provide a range of housing types and densities in appropriate locations.

1.1.3 To ensure Precinct Structure Plans are prepared with measurable housing targets.

1.1.4 To assess subdivisions in growth areas according to the Housing Targets specified in the Precinct
Structure Plans and where necessary preserve strategic sites until development at the desired
density is viable.

Actions 1.2

1.2.1 Set up a symposium with a variety of developers to achieve greater housing diversity in all areas of

1.2.2 Prepare an annual report for Council on the state of the local housing market to measure the
outcomes of this Strategy.

1.2.3 Prepare new measurable targets against the housing objectives that can be incorporated into new
or adopted Precinct Structure Plans.

8.2 Housing Choice

Objective 2: To provide housing and lifestyle choices with a wide range of lot sizes for different household types, including low density living.

Strategy 2.1

2.1.1 To facilitate a variety of housing and lifestyle choices that will meet Casey's population growth
scenario identifed in the Housing Market Assessment.

2.1.2 To support the retention of existing Low density Residential Zones that offer lifestyle choices
while protecting existing landscape values and environmental qualities.

2.1.3 To minimise further subdivision of Low Density residential zoned properties in areas without
electricity, water, goods quality road access, drainage capacity and subject to bushfire risks.

Actions 2.2

2.2.1 Maintain the current minimum subdivision of 4,000sqm in Low Density Residential Zones if the area
is identified through the Foothills Policy or has high environmental significance as detailed in Map 7.

2.2.2 Allow the reduction of minimum subdivision to 2,000sqm in precincts outside the Foothills Policy to
contribute to the identified demand for rural residential lots as detailed in Map 7.

2.2.3 Revise the Development Plan for the Pound Road area of Precinct 17 if subdivision of 2,000sqm is
permitted in this area.

8.4 Sustainable Growth

Objective 4: To plan for a sustainable pattern of development which enables more residents to walk or cycle to public transport, public open space, services and jobs.

Strategy 4.1

4.1.1 To facilitate higher density housing within easy walking distance of activity centres, public transport and public open space.

4.1.2 To identify residential areas that meet objectives of the 'Substantial Change Area' to translate to residential growth Zone.

4.1.3 To identify areas within 5 minutes walking catchment of larger activity centres, railway stations and
properties abutting the strategic bus routes for 'Substantial Housing Change'.

4.1.4 To identify areas between 5 to 10 minutes walking catchment for larger activity centres and railway
stations for 'Incremental Housing Change'.

4.15 To identify areas further than 10 minutes walking catchment from activity centres, railway stations
or strategic bus routes for 'Minimal Housing Change'.

4.1.6 To encourage mixed land use in In-Centre areas, which supports sustainable forms of transport,
enhanced economic vitality and perceived security of an area.

4.1.7 To discourage intensive housing in areas remote from public transport and services.

4.1.8 To support housing that is cost-effective in infrastructure provision and encourages public transport

4.1.9 To support innovative housing that is energy efficient.

Actions 4.2

4.2.1 Prepare a Planning Scheme Amendment to implement the Housing strategy which includes maps of
the new residential zones, and a new housing policy.

4.2.2 Apply the Residential Growth Zone, General Residential Zone and Neighbourhood Residential Zone
to the substantial change, incremental change and minimal change areas respectively as detailed in
Map 6.

4.2.3 Revise open space contribution requirements through a planning Scheme Amendment for areas
identified as incremental change and substantial change.

4.2.4 Advocate to the State Government and Public Transport Victoria to achieve high frequency services
on key public transport routes to respond to diverse housing being achieved along identified
strategic transit corridors.

8.5 Quality of Design and Amenity

Objective 5: To create a well-designed urban environment that responds to objectives of environmental sustainability, universal design of housing, and protection and enhancement of amenity and neighbourhood character.

Strategy 5.1

5.1.1 To facilitate high quality housing and good urban design outcomes.

5.1.2 To encourage the provision of well designed, adaptable and accessible housing.

Actions 5.2

5.2.1 Identify key design objectives and guidelines for the minimal change area, the incremental change
area and substantial change area.

5.2.2 Create a Design Guideline to support future residential development and provide guidance to areas
with sensitive interfaces.

5.2.3 Compile best practice examples for a range of dwelling types to help assess good design and built
form of residential developments.

8.6 Neighbourhood Character

Objective 6: To maintain and enhance areas with existing neighbourhood character, enhanced landscapes, views and vistas and encourage retention of a sense of place.

Strategy 6.1

6.1.1 To recognise and maintain areas with existing neighbourhood character, enhanced landscapes,
views and vistas.

6.1.2 To apply the Neighbourhood Residential Zones to areas identified with special neighbourhood,
heritage or landscape character.

6.1.3 To apply the Neighbourhood Residential Zone to areas identified for landscape or environmental

Actions 6.2

6.2.1 Apply the Neighbourhood Residential Zone to areas with existing neighbourhood character,
heritage, environmental and landscape values identified in Map 6.

6.2.2 Pursue a staged programme for assessing and protecting areas with neighbourhood character, for
example: Harkaway Village, Narre Warren Village, the Coastal Villages, Tooradin, Pearcedale,
Berwick Township and Narre Warren North Township areas.

6.2.3 Apply the Neighbourhood Residential zone to the areas with identified neighbourhood character if
justified as a result of further studies.

Implementation and resources

The following table summarises the implementation plan that will be carried out over the next few years to implement the Strategy.

A Planning Scheme Amendment will be prepared to implement the Strategy and would apply the new Residential Zones identified in the Strategy.

Table 6 – Implementation Program



For further detail on each action, refer to Chapter 7.






Set up symposium with developers to improve housing diversity in Casey





Annual report on the state of local housing market




Prepare new measurable targets to be incorporated into Precinct Structure Plans






Maintain minimum subdivision of 4,000sqm in LDRZ area detailed in Map 7




Reduction of minimum subdivision of 2,000sqm in LDRZ area detailed in Map 7




Revise the Development Plan for the Pound Road area






Monitor State Government initiatives for affordable housing







Prepare Planning Scheme Amendment to implement the Housing Strategy





Apply the new Residential Zones as detailed in Map 6




Revise open space contribution requirements through a Planning Scheme Amendment




Advocate to State Government and PTV for high frequency transport routes along strategic transit corridors






Prepare design objectives and guidelines for minimal, incremental and substantial change areas




Prepare a Design Guideline to guide future development and provide guidance to areas with sensitive interfaces




Prepare best practice examples for a range of dwelling types






Apply the Neighbourhood Residential Zone to areas with existing neighbourhood character as identified in Map 6




Staged programme for assessing and protecting areas with neighbourhood character




Apply the Neighbourhood Residential Zone to areas identified through further studies




Key Responsibilities


Casey City Council


State Government - Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning


Housing & development industry


Specialist planning/property consultant

Key to Priorities


Immediate - Year 1



Medium-Term - Years 2-5


Long Term

Subject to Funding - Years 5-10


Administrative updates

It is recognised that, from time to time, circumstances may change leading to the need for minor administrative changes to this document. Where an update does not materially alter this document, such a change may be made administratively. Examples include a change to the name of a Council department, a change to the name of a Federal or State Government department, and a minor update to legislation which does not have a material impact. However, any change or update which materially alters this document must be by resolution of Council.





12 December 2015

Adopted by Council


9 September 2016

Revised by Council


The next review of this document is scheduled for completion by 30 June 2021.

Council policy documents change from time to time and it is recommended that you consult the electronic reference copy at www.casey.vic.gov.au/policiesstrategies to ensure that you have the current version. Alternatively you may contact Customer Service on 9705 5200.