COMMUNITY BRIEF – Proposed planning changes to the Mawson Group Centre and Athllon Drive
(Draft Variation 345 to the Territory Plan containing new Mawson Precinct Code)
This brief is to provide the community with a summary of the main changes contained in the draft Territory Plan variation, and with the concerns the Woden Valley Community Council (WVCC) has with the implications for the community of the proposed changes.
The purpose of the draft Territory Plan variation (the Variation) is to provide guidance on the desired future built form and character of the Mawson Group Centre as it develops over the next 10 to 20 years. The Variation gives effect to the Mawson Master Plan, which was approved by the Assembly during 2016.
Summary of proposed changes
NB DV345 is a complex document. This summary is provided as a community service by WVCC. We have done our best to represent the changes as accurately as possible.
The overall intent of the changes is to provide for high-density residential/commercial development along the eastern side of Athllon Drive (except for an area of designated urban open space south of the intersection with Melrose Drive); and to allow increased building heights (up to 4 storeys) adjacent to the core area of the group Centre.
Specifically, the Variation (see Attachment A) provides for the following changes
– (1) Rezoning of land east of Athllon Drive from Parramatta Street to Melrose Drive from RZ2 to RZ5 (this means effectively from low-density residential to high-density residential). This land is currently open parkland. The precinct code allows buildings of 6 storeys facing Athllon Drive and 3 storeys facing the residential side.
– (2) Rezoning of ‘triangular’ piece of land on the northern side of the intersection of Mawson Drive and Athllon Drive from public open space to RZ5. The precinct code allows a building of 6 storeys facing Athllon Drive and 4 storeys facing the residential side to the east (ie up the hill)
– (3) Zoning of land currently occupied by the Park and Ride facility to CZ2 (the effect of this change is to allow for business/commercial/residential development up to 6 and 8 storeys on the site)
– (4) The current 711 petrol station site is to be rezoned to CZ2, which means that, should the site be sold, a service station will no longer be allowed on this site.
– (5) Rezoning of current carpark in the area in front of the ‘clubs’ (eg the Austrian-Australian club) from CZ2 to CZ1. This means this piece of land is to be incorporated in the commercial ‘core’ of the Group Centre. The site has been identified as suitable for a second supermarket.
– (6) Continuation of provision for ‘merit-track’ development of a municipal depot at the intersection of Mawson Drive and Heard St (this area is currently the ‘welcome to mawson’ area and part of the carpark)
– (7) Rezoning to CZ3 of land to the south of the ‘Woolies’ carpark. This area is currently zoned as urban open space and used as a carpark. The rezoning provides for a more diverse range of commercial uses.
When consulted (by the Environment and Planning Directorate) about the future of the Group Centre, the community clearly stated that it wanted improvements to the urban amenity and public realm of the Group Centre, plus a moderate degree of re-development. Most people are in favour of low-rise mixed-use development in the Group Centre.
Unfortunately, the rezoning provides only for an intensification of development in and around the Centre, and along Athllon Drive. Public realm improvements are not prioritised. Good ideas in the Master Plan (such as extending Mawson Place to connect with Athllon Drive) are classed as ‘infrastructure’, and rely on the TCCS budget to give effect to them. There is no mechanism (other than citizen lobbying) for this improvement actually to occur.
Planning for Mawson needs to incorporate more of the community’s views and values than is currently the case.
Convenient parking is important to the community, and a vital part of the operation of the Group Centre. The Variation provides for elimination of virtually all the current ground-level carparks in and around the Group Centre (potentially including the park and ride), with replacement places to be provided within new developments (ie above, below or within a commercial building). WVCC believes that existing ground-level carparks should be specifically identified in the Precinct Plan and retained as such, in keeping with the Group centre ethos.
Up to 6 storey ‘marker’ building on site of former Serbian Club
Such a building would shadow public areas in the commercial core in winter. Current height limits should be retained for this site.
The buildings on the western side if the public square may be 4 storeys with the ground floor being is 3.6m. Reasonable solar access is considered to be as little as 2 hours between noon and 2pm. The WVCC has concerns about shading the town square.
Pedestrian and cycle access
The Master Plan acknowledged problems with pedestrian access to the group centre. Unfortunately, the only new walkway provided (from Athllon Drive to Mawson Place) potentially runs between two six-storey commercial/office blocks. It is hard to see how this could be classed as a satisfactory (or safe) public walkway. No thought has been given to cycle access.
Both the master plan and precinct plan for Athllon drive developments should prioritise attractive, safe and accessible pedestrian and cycle access.
Merit track Industrial depot site at the intersection of Mawson Drive and Heard Street
This should be deleted from the Precinct Code.
What happens now?
It is important that all who use the Group Centre make their views known to the government. You can do this by sending a submission by the closing date (21 April) in the following ways:
(a) email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or
(b) mail to Territory Plan Section, EPSDD, GPO Box 158, Canberra, ACT 2601; or
(c) hand delivery to Access Canberra, EPSDD Shopfront, Ground Floor South, Dame Pattie Menzies House, 16 Challis Street, Dickson.
You can respond to this document by leaving a reply (see below).
If you wish to contact your local member (for Murrumbidgee), their names and details are below:
Jeremy Hanson (Lib) email@example.com
Julia Jones (Lib) firstname.lastname@example.org
Caroline le Couteur (Greens) email@example.com
Chis Steel (Labor) firstname.lastname@example.org
Bec Cody (Labor) email@example.com