Find out how the Birrarung-Bolin Framework Plan will protect and reinvigorate the Bulleen precinct of the Yarra River at Bulleen and Heidelberg.
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Birrarung-Bolin is the Woiwurrung language translation of ‘Yarra River – Bulleen’. Of key significance to the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People, the precinct lies in the heart of Melbourne’s north-east, is known for its lush parklands and contains some of the last significant remnants of the network of billabongs and riparian woodlands, featuring centuries-old River Red Gums, that were once a common feature of the river throughout our city.
The Birrarung-Bolin Framework Plan supports the growth and renewal of the precinct, which is home to the Yarra River, significant parklands and billabongs, and the iconic Heide Museum of Modern Art. The precinct will be home to a major interchange with future North East Link tunnels at Manningham Road.
The plan provides for expanded and improved public parklands, the future expansion of Heide, a renewed employment precinct on Manningham Road, new river crossings and improved walking and cycling connections, and the upgrading of Templestowe Road.
The plan also provides for limited residential redevelopment of the former Yarra Valley Country Club site, subject to a separate development plan that complies with strict requirements to protect the Yarra River – Birrarung and its floodplain environment. View the Framework Plan below.
The Birrarung-Bolin Framework Plan responds to the recommendations of the Yarra River – Bulleen Precinct Advisory Committee, which provided advice to the Minister for Planning on the future of the precinct, including the Framework Plan and draft planning scheme amendment C125mann for the Yarra Valley Country Club site.
The committee’s hearings concluded in 2021 and its report provided to the Minister. The government broadly accepts the committee’s recommendations, including on the proposed form of draft amendment C125mann. A copy of the committee’s report can be found below.
The plan aligns with the broader Burndap Birrarung, burndap umarkoo (Yarra Strategic Plan), providing a more detailed and localised framework for future land uses and connections in this reach of the river, while aligning with the 50-year Community Vision for the whole of the Yarra River river established under the Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Act 2017.
Bulleen – Banyule Flats Cultural Values Study
Findings and recommendations of the Bulleen – Banyule Flats Cultural Values Study, undertaken by the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, have informed the Birrarung-Bolin Framework Plan.
The Minister for Planning, the Hon Sonya Kilkenny MP, has approved the government’s Birrarung-Bolin Framework Plan to protect and reinvigorate the Bulleen precinct of the Yarra River (at Bulleen and Heidelberg), following recommendations received from the Yarra River – Bulleen Precinct Advisory Committee in 2021.
The plan supports the growth and renewal of the precinct, which is home to the Yarra River, significant parklands and billabongs, and the iconic Heide Museum of Modern Art. The precinct will be home to a major interchange with future North East Link tunnels at Manningham Road.
Birrarung-Bolin is the Woiwurrung language translation of “Yarra River – Bulleen”. Of key significance to the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People, the precinct lies in the heart of Melbourne’s north-east, is known for its lush parklands and contains some of the last significant remnants of the network of billabongs and riparian woodlands, featuring centuries-old River Red Gums, that were once a common feature of the river throughout our city.
The framework plan is an overarching strategic plan that establishes a vision and future spatial structure for the precinct. With clear strategies aimed at coordinating future land uses and connections in the precinct, the plan indicates where and how development should occur and balances the need for change with the protection of the Yarra River – Birrarung’s landscape and character. The framework plan aims to provide certainty to local communities, landowners and developers.
The plan outlines a range of changes in the precinct over the coming decade, including:
the future expansion of Heide
a renewed employment precinct on Manningham Road, with the opportunity for other cultural uses
expanded and improved public parklands
three new river crossings and improved walking and cycling connections
the upgrading of Templestowe Road
new residential development in defined locations.
The plan identifies areas of publicly- and privately owned land where the Yarra Valley Parklands are to be expanded over time. This includes:
41-49 Greenaway Street (the former Bulleen Drive-in site): Subject to the North East Link Tunnels Urban Design and Landscape Plan, this will become a new cultural landscape precinct.
9-15 Templestowe Road (the former Yarra Valley Country Club site): The plan proposes 18.2 hectares of the site is gifted to Parks Victoria – a much larger proportion of the site than is currently affected by the Public Acquisition Overlay
27-33 and 37-59 Templestowe Road: The former Bulleen Golf Driving Range is already being transformed into new soccer facilities, as part of the Victorian Government’s investment in new and upgraded sports facilities to support clubs who need to move temporarily or permanently to allow for the construction of North East Link. See: Soccer facilities on Templestowe Road Bulleen
165 Templestowe Road: (public land currently under lease)
199-209 and 211-219 Templestowe Road: These private properties, already subject to the Public Acquisition Overlay, will provide the opportunity to
The framework plan provides support for the master planning and future expansion of the Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen and outlines complementary arrangements for future access and connectivity. This includes improvements to the pedestrian and cycling network, a new river crossing close to Heide at Banksia Park and the duplication of Templestowe Road.
The framework plan provides support for the redevelopment of the Yarra Valley Country Club site for both future public open space and future residential development. The Yarra Valley Country Club closed in 2022.
To protect the precious landscape values of the river and the integrity of the Yarra floodplain, the plan allows for the integration of approximately 18.2 hectares of the site into the Yarra Valley Parklands. On the balance of land (approximately 4.2 hectares), the plan allows for limited residential redevelopment fronting Templestowe Road and interfacing with new parkland areas.
The plan limits the scale of residential development on the country club site, providing for a General Residential Zoning, the same as neighbouring housing areas. Redevelopment the golf course cannot commence until a development plan that complies with the new requirements has been approved by the responsible authority.
In 2016, the Yarra River Protection Ministerial Advisory Committee identified several opportunities for immediate action to protect the area along the Yarra River. The area has special importance to Traditional Owners and Melbourne’s cultural history.
The precinct is home to extensive parklands and distinctive natural and cultural places. It contains the last significant remnants of the network of billabongs and riparian woodlands, featuring centuries-old River Red Gums, that were once a common feature of the river throughout our city. It has inspired generations of artists associated with the Heidelberg School and modernist art movements.
The precinct also contains important Crown parklands that are part of the Greater Yarra Urban Parklands – declared under the Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Act 2017 – identifying them as part of an urban natural entity of state significant parklands stretching from Melbourne’s urban growth boundary to the heart of the city.
This part of the Yarra River is also subject to transitioning land uses brought about by development and infrastructure pressures. It is critical, therefore, that changes in land use are managed carefully and deliver the best environmental, cultural and community outcomes. Making the right decisions to protect and enhance these values will set an important precedent for the long-term protection and enjoyment of the river into the future.
Burndap Birrarung, burndap umarkoo
The Yarra Strategic Plan – Burndap Birrarung, burndap umarkoo – was released by the Victorian Government in 2022. It provides a high-level regional framework for the entire Yarra River corridor from the Yarra Ranges to Port Phillip.
The framework plan carefully aligns with Burndap Birrarung, burndap umarkoo, providing a more detailed and localised framework for future land uses and connections.
It also aligns with the community’s vision for the suburban reach of the Yarra River, first established under legislation in 2018.
The Victorian Government is delivering the North East Link Program, filling in the missing link between the M80 Ring Road and the Eastern Freeway. The North East Link will leave a lasting legacy on the Birrarung-Bolin precinct – also providing once-in-a-generation opportunities to rebuild connections and improve degraded landscapes.
The framework plan has been developed with close consideration of the design of the North East Link – and in particular, the future Manningham Road interchange.
To ensure holistic consideration of the precinct and consistent with environmental performance requirements, ongoing and future refinements to the design of the North East Link must have regard to this Framework Plan, its objectives and strategies.
The design of the North East Link tunnels was approved by the Minister for Planning in 2023.
In the spirit of the Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung murron) Act 2017, the Victorian Government has worked closely with Traditional Owners of Country, the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people, in the finalisation of the Birrarung-Bolin Framework Plan.
The project has also progressed under the guidance of the Birrarung Council – the independent body responsible for the management of the waterway and its lands and acting as a voice for the Yarra River – Birrarung.
The framework plan has also been developed to bring to life a range of recommendations made in the Bulleen-Banyule Flats Cultural Values Study, ‘Towards cultural and environmental renewal of the Birrarung’, undertaken by the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung in 2020-21. The study documents the tangible and intangible values associated with the precinct, including values related to beliefs, customs, historic figures, important places, landscape features and archaeological findings.
The framework plan has been informed by community consultation in 2019 and 2020, which included a range of face-to-face activities, community workshops and targeted stakeholder workshops. Following this, the project was referred to an independent advisory committee process.
The former Minister for Planning appointed the committee to provide strategic and statutory planning advice on a draft of the framework plan and a proponent-led draft planning scheme amendment for land at 9-15 Templestowe Road, Bulleen (Yarra Valley Country Club).
The committee was guided by a Terms of Reference issued by the Minister. The committee’s recommendations have informed the final plan.
The committee made recommendations on a draft of the government’s plan and on a proponent-led draft planning scheme amendment associated with the Yarra Valley Country Club, known as draft Planning Scheme Amendment C125mann. The committee was supportive of the government’s draft Framework and provided qualified support for the partial redevelopment of the country club site for residential uses.
The Victorian Government supports all of the committee’s recommendations, with the exception of Recommendation 6 regarding plans for a new, signalised intersection on Bridge Street, Bulleen (which is not consistent with the design of the North East Link). Further information is detailed in the Minister’s Response available on this webpage.