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The City of Greater Geelong has published its interim Final Urban Design Framework (UDF) for Pakington Street and Gordon Avenue for public feedback. This feedback follows previous consultation in early 2020 and is the final step prior to the UDF being finalised for adoption by Council.
Why is this interesting?
The central section of Pakington Street is a local icon and one of the Geelong’s favourite and most successful high streets. The Pakington Street and Gordon Avenue UDF seeks to promote the renewal and growth of the precinct, with Gordon Avenue and the northern end of Pakington Street recognized as key areas for growth. The proposed UDF is the strongest signal of Geelong’s approach to taller buildings and development in activity centres and its urban design principles.
What is proposed?
The UDF identifies three precincts: Pakington North, Heritage Core and Gordon Avenue. The UDF seeks a minimal change outcome within the Heritage Core, with growth focused in Pakington North and Gordon Avenue.
For North Pakington, land use changes include implementing the Commercial 1 Zone in order to promote a wider range of activities, whilst new planning controls relating to height and site coverage are also proposed. Notably, the plan provides for heights ranging between 4 – 10 storeys, with the heights being based on residential interfaces, the heritage context of the local area and/or opportunities to deliver development at larger former industrial and commercial sites.
Gordon Avenue presents an opportunity to create a corridor between Geelong’s CBD and Geelong West. The proposed document acknowledges the potential increase in density and activity by increasing the extent of Commercial 1 Zone to the west, introducing the Residential Growth Zone and Mixed-Use Zone fronting Latrobe Terrace, with sites capable of accommodating heights of up to 10 storeys opposite Geelong Station. The UDF is being brought forward at the same time as the Central Geelong Framework with an approach in this Framework to gradually increase heights towards the CBD.
Changes from the March 2020 Draft Framework
Following community consultation, a number of changes have been made to the final draft. These include:
- A general reduction/rationalization of building heights across both the Pakington North and Gordon Avenue Precincts, responding to community feedback on building heights. In some instances, reductions in heights are proposed in areas away from sensitive interfaces with residential and heritage areas. This includes sites around Church Street.
- The inclusion of mandatory controls for solar access. Whilst solar access responds to consultation feedback on opposition to overshadowing from tall buildings, its application appears strict and in places, unnecessary. For example, proposed development on the northern side of Gordon Avenue is subject to a mandatory requirement that it must not overshadow sites directly south, which are in the same precinct and where growth is promoted.
- A reduction in the maximum building height on the Geelong Rail Siding site from 12 storeys to 10 storeys, and reduction of the site’s footprint to accommodate open space.
- The introduction of new public open space areas and parks across both the Pakington North and Gordon Avenue Precincts.
- Further clarity on social housing contributions.
- The inclusion of existing laneways in urban renewal projects.
- A recommendation to prepare a night-time economy strategy for the Heritage Core Precinct.
Street design principles are addressed within the UDF, however assessment on the transport network and car parking across the UDF is yet to be completed, with the Traffic Network Assessment and Parking Plan currently underway.
Consultation is now open until Friday 17thSeptember 2021. If you would like to make a submission or are interested exploring opportunities in Geelong, Ratio consultants Lee Shaw and Henry Johnstone are happy to assist.
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