Planning changes to transform Weston Group Centre

Ian Bushnell 20 August 2018

Cooleman Court at the Weston Group Centre. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

The Weston Group Centre is set to be transformed in coming years with the approval of a variation to the Territory Plan that paves the way for increased building heights, apartments, development on its two major car parks, and a new site for community use.

Variation 329, tabled last week in the Legislative Assembly, will implement the recommendations of the Master Plan for the group centre and guide its development.

This followed the review of the recommendations from the Standing Committee on Planning and Urban Renewal’s inquiry, which supported the approval of the variation with only minor amendments.

One of them was limiting building heights to two storeys on Section 75 at the corner of Brierly Street and Parkinson Street, and also identifying the current open space on that site as suitable for a future community facility ‘limited to public health, welfare or information services’. A ‘disruptive’ facility such as a community hall remains prohibited.

Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman said that the Government had worked with the community about the future of open space in the precinct.

“Over the last two years, we have worked with the community during the draft variation process to understand some of the concerns about the future development of open space, particularly on the corner of Brierly Street and Parkinson Street,” he said.

“The draft variation was amended in response to these concerns by reducing the maximum permitted building height from four to two storeys on the site that will be rezoned for community use.”

The variation allows for building heights on other commercial and community sections of the precinct, including the car parks, of up to six storeys or 22 metres, as long as sufficient solar access is maintained.

It allows for mixed uses in the commercial sections, such as ground floor commercial with residential above, and more multi-level residential in other areas as long as reasonable solar access is maintained.

The maximum height of building is the lesser of 12m and 3 storeys, except for the following areas described in figure 2: a) area A: the lesser of 15m and 4 storeys b) area B: the lesser of 19m and 5 storeys c) area C: the lesser of 22m and 6 storeys d) area D: the lesser of RL588 and four storeys e) area E: the lesser of RL594 and six storeys.

Any development on the car parks will need to maintain the existing number of car parking spaces, provide parking required by the Parking and Vehicular Access General Code, and make a substantial contribution to the long-term public parking supply at the group centre.

Mr Gentleman said the variation also allowed for more engaging exteriors and building facades, as well as improved pedestrian facilities.

“The variation provides direction and certainty for the community and developers on how the centre is likely to develop over the next 10 to 20 years. It also provides an opportunity for new community facilities to serve the needs of local residents and other users of the centre,” he said.

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