The centre is based on a building hierarchy with 12 storeys around the centre, increasing to 24 storeys in the centre. The building hierarchy is designed to help visitors readily identify the major shopping and employment areas, and establish a clear built form and character for the centre.
Marker buildings also help people identify that they have entered the centre and are intended to assist them to orient themselves as they move though the centre.
This has resulted in a building hierarchy of 12 to 24 storeys throughout the centre with the precinct code allowing for a further four storeys where a development is within the building hierarchy and close to public transport. There is no requirement for a community benefit for the additional four storeys.
While the WVCC welcomes development we want it to be done well. The primary concerns of the WVCC include:
- Zoning for a building hierarchy from 12 to 24 storeys (plus an additional four storeys) instead of a built form that provides mixed building heights and solar access to residents and public spaces.
- Some marker buildings over shadow residents and are not required for the community to orient themselves as they move though the centre (we know where we are). Tall buildings should be strategically placed so the impact of their bulk and scale and overshadowing is minimal.
- The perimeter of the Town Square is zoned for 28 storey buildings which will have a significant overshadowing impact on the Town Square. The minimum allowable solar access is 3 hours on one quarter of the square in the winter solstice. The lack of sun is not conducive to activity in the square.
We note that Woden is the only town centre with zoning for a building hierarchy. Other town centres are zoned for mixed building heights.
Throughout the master planning process there were mixed views about building heights for new development in the town centre. A number of submissions for stage 2 of the consultation opposed any increase in building heights in the town centre. Some submissions argued that new buildings should be no taller than 12 storeys while a few were opposed to any new high-rise developments in the town centre. Respondents who were opposed to the recommended building heights were mostly concerned about wind shearing, overshadowing and design quality.
Many commercial stakeholders were concerned that the recommended building heights were too low, particularly on a number of sites with heights to 12 storeys in the draft master plan. Many suggested this would make redeveloping the sites economically unviable, leading to further decline in the centre.