Urban Futures Strategy

Survey closing on 29 December 2023, 11:59 PM

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About the Project

The Urban Futures Strategy will guide urban growth in the Surf Coast Shire to meet the housing needs of future populations. The strategy will ensure that residential development occurs in appropriate locations, that significant landscapes and the natural environment are protected, and that development aligns with community aspirations.

A key driver for the project is the release of the Surf Coast Statement of Planning Policy (DAL), which impacts settlement planning for the municipality.   

The Strategy will address the following questions:

  1. What level of population growth should be accommodated in the Surf Coast Shire?
  2. What are the options for accommodating this growth, e.g. new subdivisions, higher densities, other?
  3. Which locations are suitable for additional growth?

We have prepared the following documents to inform discussions with the community:

A video overview of the Strategic Bushfire Assessment (SBA) is provided.

You can also visit the FAQ section below for a detailed written summary of the three documents.

How to get involved

We want to hear from our community at this early stage to inform development of a draft Strategy.

Phase 1 community engagement: Monday 30 October to Friday 29 December 2023.

  • Ask questions in person at a drop-in information session (Torquay, Aireys Inlet or Winchelsea)
  • Complete the Online survey

For all other enquiries, contact the Strategic Planning Team directly at info@surfcoast.vic.gov.au or alternatively call 5261 0600.

Find out more about the Planning Scheme Review...

The Planning Scheme Review and the Urban Futures Strategy are inter-related projects. To find out more, view the FAQ section below or click here to visit the Planning Scheme Review project page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the strategy required?

Surf Coast Shire has been among the fastest growing regional areas in Victoria with most of the growth in population and housing being concentrated in Torquay-Jan Juc, with Winchelsea also being identified for urban growth.

The growth of the other coastal townships has been and will remain constrained by extreme bushfire risks and growing recognition of the importance of conserving the region’s iconic landscape, environment and cultural values.

Looking forward there are, increasingly tight limits to the ongoing growth of all the Shire’s coastal townships including Torquay/Jan Juc, which is subject to a protected settlement boundary through the Surf Coast Statement of Planning Policy (DAL).

Given this current growth context, the Urban Futures Strategy is required to identify opportunities to meet future housing needs. 

What background work has been prepared?

To inform our discussions with the community background work has been prepared, including a Background Context Report, a Strategic Bushfire Assessment and District Profiles. An overview of each of these is provided below along with links to the documents.    

Background Context Report

The Background Context Report contains information to inform community discussions that will contribute to development of the Urban Futures Strategy. The report provides:

  • A summary of the environmental values, risks and challenges that will constrain options available for growth;
  • The identification of State government policies and requirements that inform local planning policy;
  • Past and forecast population and housing growth;
  • A town-by-town summary of recent residential development, current planning provisions, and constraints and opportunities on future urban growth including places suitable for additional ‘greenfield’ urban growth.

Strategic Bushfire Assessment (SBA) 

The more heavily vegetated coastal and Otway Ranges portions of the Surf Coast Shire are subject to extreme bushfire risk with the potential for catastrophic threats to both lives and property. It severely limits options for future urban growth within the Shire.

State planning policy sets out clear requirements and priorities for addressing bushfire risk, by directing that the protection of human life is to be given priority over all other planning considerations.

To ensure that bushfire risk is properly considered as an input to the Urban Futures Strategy, the Shire engaged a specialist bushfire planning consultant (Kevin Hazell Bushfire Planning) to prepare a municipal wide assessment of bushfire risks.

The Strategic Bushfire Assessment classifies land within Surf Coast into one of four landscape types with differing levels of bushfire risk, with landscape type 1 being at the lower end risk and landscape type 4 a higher landscape risk.

Landscape Type Map Image(JPG, 453KB)

District Profiles

A profile for each of the 8 districts within the municipality has been prepared to inform development of the Urban Futures Strategy. The profiles were developed to assist with understanding the unique opportunities and constraints of different areas across the municipality.

District profiles include the following information:

  • Recent population and housing statistics
  • Key land use activities
  • Community infrastructure, utilities and services
  • Environmental hazards
  • Environmental assets
  • Agricultural quality (where applicable)
  • Observations on future housing growth potential.

District Profile Map Image(PNG, 177KB)  

How does the Urban Futures Strategy relate to the Surf Coast Statement of Planning Policy (DAL)?

The Surf Coast Statement of Planning Policy and the Urban Futures Strategy are separate and distinct projects.

The Urban Futures Strategy will need to be consistent with and respond to the Surf Coast Statement of Planning Policy (DAL), which identifies the environmental, heritage and landscape values of the DAL area and sets out measures to protect the declared area from inappropriate development.

The declared Surf Coast Distinctive Area and Landscape encompasses much of the coast and immediate hinterland in the north of Surf Coast Shire. It includes and establishes protected settlement boundaries for Torquay-Jan Juc, Bellbrae, Breamlea, Connewarre and Mount Duneed. The impact of this policy is the limiting of outward growth of Torquay-Jan Juc and in turn the capacity for growth. This policy position provides a key input into the opportunities for growth that will be defined through the Urban Futures Strategy.

Please visit the Engage Victoria website to find out more about the DAL:


How does the Planning Scheme Review relate to the Urban Futures Strategy?

The Planning Scheme Review consultation report and the Urban Futures Strategy Background Context Report have been released together to the community as they are inter-related projects.

The Planning Scheme Review includes recommendations on further strategic work and includes the Urban Futures Strategy as a key priority.  

The Urban Futures Strategy will guide urban growth in the Surf Coast Shire to meet the housing needs of future populations. The Strategy will identify where growth will be directed to, and where it will be avoided in the future. 

Click here to find out more about the Planning Scheme Review.

Next steps for the strategy?

The draft Urban Futures Strategy will be prepared in the coming months utilising the above inputs from the work that has been completed. Phase 2 of the Community Engagement is planned for early/mid 2024 and the community will have an opportunity to provide feedback on future growth options.