Better Apartments: Internal Amenity, One For All And All For One?
What is an appropriate level of internal amenity for apartments? Jo Harrison, Associate - Planning discusses the Victorian Government's proposition for apartment standards on leading industry website Urban Melbourne
Internal amenity is delicate, multifaceted and, most of all, subjective.
The uncertainly and often changing goal posts as to what is an ‘appropriate level of internal amenity’ have long created frustration within the development community. Perhaps as a response to this or, despite all of this, the recent proposition by the new State Government for apartment standards has prompted a lot of new debate and opinion on all things ‘internal amenity’.
Craig Yelland’s article demonstrates there is some heavy opposition to a new apartment code by well-respected and highly capable architects that continue to deliver a highly desirable product across the market. There are also whispers of support, particularly from decision makers who want a transparent process and some defined ‘standards’ for applications to be assessed against.
As a former local government planner and appeals advocate, I have sat on both sides of the fence. There is no doubt that internal amenity has been high on the agenda for local and state government planners and VCAT over the past few years. The uncertainty and inconsistencies between the different decision makers often forces applications into VCAT, creating unnecessary time delays and costs onto developers.
Perhaps this is the latest Government’s answer to the questions the decision makers have been asking for some time. What IS an appropriate level of internal amenity? Do smaller apartments automatically equate to having lesser amenity? The release of the better apartments discussion paper is at least a start to addressing the ambiguity.