Whitehorse City Council

Forest Ridge Development Plan


The 9 hectare former ATV-0 Television Studios at 104-168 Hawthorn Road, Forest Hill is identified as a Strategic Redevelopment Site in the Whitehorse Planning Scheme and is zoned Residential Growth Zone Schedule 2. The site is identified for substantial change which supports increased residential densities and housing choice by allowing for a diversity of dwellings to suit a range of household types.

The site contains the television studios, which were constructed in 1963 on an original 20 acre site of a former apple orchard. The broadcast signal was changed to Channel Ten in 1978 and from 1980 became known as Network 10. After 30 years of operating in Forest Hill, ATV-0 vacated the studio complex in 1992 and moved to premises in South Yarra.

The Forest Hill complex has continued to be used for the production of particular Network Ten programs, including Neighbours, which has been produced and filmed at the studios (currently leased by Fremantle Media) and the nearby Pin Oak Court, Vermont South.  Land around the studio buildings is being redeveloped in stages for the Forest Ridge estate.

Forest Ridge Draft Development Plan icons

Planning Scheme Amendment C110 & C157

Amendment C110 implemented recommendations from the Tally Ho Major Activity Centre Urban Design Framework 2007 and the Tally Ho Urban Design and Landscape Guidelines 2013. The Amendment was approved on 22 October 2015 and applied different overlays to the Forest Ridge site and the Tally Ho Activity Centre further to the south, located around the Burwood Highway / Springvale Road intersection.  A Design and Development Overlay (DDO) applies to the Tally Ho Activity Centre and a Development Plan Overlay (DPO) applies to the Forest Ridge estate. The DPO was applied to help manage the development of the site, including its interface with the surrounding residential area.

Amendment C157 (Part Two) implemented the recommendations of the Whitehorse Heritage Review 2012. The amendment applied a heritage overlay to the former ATV-0 site and was gazetted with changes by the Minister for Planning on 1 June 2017. The changes included a reduction to the extent of the Heritage Overlay to cover the three main buildings, the administrative block, studio block, scenery store and the transmission tower.

Development Plan

A Development Plan is required under the DPO to progress development of the site. The Development Plan is proposed in two stages. Stage1 covering the majority of the site; and Stage 2 relating to the Heritage Building in the centre of the site.

The purpose of the Development Plan is:

  • To identify areas which require the form and conditions of future use and development to be shown on a development plan before a permit can be granted to use or develop the land.
  • To exempt an application from notice and review if it is generally in accordance with a development plan.

A Development Plan can be particularly useful for large redevelopment sites. It provides an overall concept for future development of a site to guide preparation and assessment of future planning permit applications for various stages and is often a suitable tool to convey the intended development outcomes for a whole site. 


Community consultation on the Development Plan occurred from 17 – 30 July 2017. The Development Plan was displayed by:

  • Publishing a copy of the Development Plan on Council’s website;
  • Making a copy of the Development Plan available for inspection, at Council’s service centres and the four municipal libraries;
  • Publishing advertisements in the Whitehorse Leader; and
  • Sending letters and an information flyer to owners and occupiers in the surrounding area.

As a result of the consultation process a total of 101 submissions were received. During assessment of the community submissions on the Development Plan, the landowner (Bazem Pty Ltd) lodged an appeal with VCAT to make a decision on the Development Plan. Council considered a report on submissions to the Development Plan at its meeting on 18 September 2017 where it was resolved to “not support” the Development Plan for a number of reasons, which formed the basis of Council’s position going into the VCAT proceedings.

VCAT Order and Development Plan Approval

VCAT directed Council to attend a Compulsory Conference on 19 October 2017 for Council and the applicant to discuss concerns with the Development Plan. The matter did not settle at the Compulsory Conference but significant progress was made and Council and the proponent continued discussions after the Compulsory Conference until the first day of the VCAT Hearing on 1 November 2017. By this time significant progress had been achieved for Council to be satisfied that the Development Plan in its amended form met the requirements of the Whitehorse Planning Scheme and would achieve an acceptable outcome.

VCAT handed down its decision on 13 November 2017.  The matters in Council’s decision of 18 September 2017 were largely overturned by the Tribunal, with the agreement of the parties, and Council was ordered to approve the Development Plan with amendments as outlined in thepdf icon VCAT Order (210.95kB). In summary, the VCAT order included the following key changes to the Development Plan:

  • An increase in the public park area by 1029m2
  • A reduction in the amount of 6 storey built form
  • Amendments to street wall heights and building setbacks

Council has checked the revisions made by Bazem Pty Ltd to the Development Plan in accordance with the VCAT Order and has approved the Development Plan, January 2018 which can be viewed below.  As the Development Plan is now finalised, planning permit applications can be considered to develop the site in accordance with the approved Development Plan. 

Forest Ridge Development Plan Documents


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