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Woden planning changes step closer

By Ian Bushnell - 28 July 2017 7

Woden Master Plan

Changes to the Territory Plan that will pave the way for more residential development along public transport routes and community facilities in and around Woden Town Centre have gone to the Standing Committee on Planning and Urban Renewal.

Deputy Director-General, Sustainability and the Built Environment Brett Phillips said the Draft Variation 344 would have interim effect for applications lodged after Wednesday 26 July, allowing a development application to be approved if it is consistent with the variation before the variation is formally approved.

DV344 was released for public consultation in early March this year, and was later extended to the beginning of June 2017. A roundtable discussion was held in May involving 50 interested parties representatives including private individuals, community and professional groups, developers, building owners and architects.

“The draft variation consultation had highlighted what is important to the local community to help us deliver better planning outcomes like high quality public spaces and built environments that people enjoy using,” Mr Phillips said.

“With the announcement that stage two of light rail will be coming to Woden, it is particularly important that we get planning outcomes and consultation right to fully utilise the renewal opportunities that will open up.”

A total of 28 written submissions were received during the public consultation process, including 11 from businesses within the centre, 10  from individuals, four from community organisations and two from professional groups.

The process has involved discussions on residential and commercial opportunities, public and community space, active and public transport, community services and renewal of older buildings in Woden.

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7 Responses to
Woden planning changes step closer
Woden Valley Communi 7:30 pm 30 Jul 17

Damien, if you were to have a look at Figure 2 of the Woden draft precinct code you would note that it allows for 28 storey buildings on the northern, western, and eastern perimeter of the Woden Town Square. ACT Government shadow diagrams show 16 storeys will overshadow the square. There are zero metres between the buildings and the square. The zoning allows for the existing buildings on the perimeter of the Square, Borrowdale House (the old Post Office) and Bank House (was the Commonwealth Bank), to be demolished and replaced with 28 storey buildings, even if reduced to 16, they will overshadow the Square.
I fail to understand what Chandler Street has to do with the situation we are talking about. Chandler Street is not on the perimeter of the Belco skate park, it is a block away on the west side. Please use examples that are comparing similar situations. We are talking about 28 storey buildings on (not a block away) the northern perimeter of the Woden Town Square.
The vision in the Woden Master Plan states: “The town square is the central focal point for social and community activity that will connect people to a network of safe and active streets and public parks”. Are you telling me that within all the tall buildings that are included in the draft precinct code that we are not entitled to one central spot that is sunny in winter?

Damien Haas 12:38 pm 30 Jul 17

Woden Valley Community Council said :

Damien, why zone for 28 storey buildings if they cannot be built? The vision in our Master Plan states “The town square is the central focal point for social and community activity” but the precinct code says 3 hours of sun is enough. If this is ok for Woden, then I suppose you are happy for Garema Place to have 3 hours of sun in winter, and Margaret Timpson Park and the Belconnen Arts Centre to be overshadowed for most of the day?

I’d encourage you to develop a greater understanding of how planning regulations work in practice.

To provide a relevant example that may aid your understanding – A DA was lodged for a multistorey residential tower on Chandler Street. It overshadowed the Belco Skate Park on Emu Bank. As a result the plans were changed, and several storeys removed so that the overshadowing would not occur. The building then went up.

This is of course an issue that better pre DA Consultation would resolve.

People with an interest in planning and construction guidelines should be aware that EPSD is engaged in a pre-DA Consultation process seeking community and industry feedback right now. More info at this link: https://www.yoursay.act.gov.au/pre-da-consultation-guidelines

The Woden Town Centre is in dire need of urban renewal. It suffers from a giant retail complex sprawling over it, making meaningful change quite a challenge. The sea of carparks and poor focus on walking and cycling is something that the new master plan aims to address.

Better public transport options provided by light rail and more frequent local bus services will spark transit oriented development in and around the Woden town Centre. This will over time bring greater residential density, and more street activity with people walking around the town centre all day, not just during business hours. Greater foot traffic brings business at street level, not just in controlled retail environments.

gazket 9:43 pm 29 Jul 17

shadowing can easily be overcome by having bigger blocks and buildings with larger bases that narrow towards the top. its not rocket science.

gazket 9:39 pm 29 Jul 17

what is a high quality public space ? The Australian public is so varied now I’m interested in the answer .

Woden Valley Communi 8:13 pm 29 Jul 17

Damien, why zone for 28 storey buildings if they cannot be built? The vision in our Master Plan states “The town square is the central focal point for social and community activity” but the precinct code says 3 hours of sun is enough. If this is ok for Woden, then I suppose you are happy for Garema Place to have 3 hours of sun in winter, and Margaret Timpson Park and the Belconnen Arts Centre to be overshadowed for most of the day?

Damien Haas 12:15 pm 29 Jul 17

Woden Valley Community Council said :

28 storey buildings can overshadow the Town Square with 3 hours of sun a day considered to be reasonable. Is this reasonable, or will we be forced to object to developments that remove our sun causing ongoing delays and frustration, all caused from poor planning.

I am not sure that you understand how the planning regulations work. The building heights for this area do not mean that overshadowing is allowed. If a DA was lodged and the development proposed impacted the town square outside the overshadowing formula, it would not be approved.

Just because it says ‘x’ storey height is permitted doesn’t mean that a building of ‘x’ height CAN be built.

Woden Valley Communi 1:08 am 29 Jul 17

Thanks for this article Ian, it all sounds fantastic … sadly I am not sure that it is.
The plan should provide confidence to both the community and the private sector about the future development of the Town Centre, however, unfortunately the plan is unimaginative and does not appear to have the interests of the community at heart.
28 storey buildings can overshadow the Town Square with 3 hours of sun a day considered to be reasonable. Is this reasonable, or will we be forced to object to developments that remove our sun causing ongoing delays and frustration, all caused from poor planning.
The east west link from the library through to the bus interchange and connecting bike paths to the Centre are not defined. Connectivity is important so why isn’t it addressed in the plan?
There is a loss of open green space with Athllon Drive being converted to high density residential and Arabanoo Park changing to Community Facility land. Community facilities are not identified so Arabanoo Park may become housing. Why are we still deprived of the economic benefits of a CIT and a community centre?
The plan does not identify an entertainment precinct or a ‘nice’ place for the community to meet and socialise. The plan is a missed opportunity to integrate with the planning for light rail to facilitate great outcomes for the community, it appears any outcome will do for Woden.

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