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Wollongong City Council

Council seeks community input on framework for City Centre

Tuesday 25 February 2020

Wollongong City Council is calling for community input on a design framework that will strengthen the core of the City Centre, prioritise job creation and encourage a variety of housing types.

Council voted unanimously last night to exhibit an Urban Design Framework to guide future planning policy direction for the City Centre, consolidating Wollongong’s position as a regional capital.

The framework is part of a comprehensive City Centre Planning Review, carried out to understand how current planning policy aligns with A City for People, the Council-endorsed vision for the City Centre.

The public exhibition provides an opportunity to test key principles in the framework with the Wollongong community before finalising draft planning controls for Council’s consideration.

The framework has been prepared in partnership with Architectus and Andrew Burns Architecture, and is supported by economic analysis and forecasting prepared by SGS Economics and Planning. Community input is also being sought on the economic analysis.

Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said: “We are proud of our City Centre and it plays an important role in shaping the region.

“We are seeing an unprecedented level of investment in the city right now and we have a responsibility to shape that investment, in line with the City Centre vision.

“City planning is complex – we need to make policy decisions now that position the City Centre for the right investment to attract employment and living opportunities in the long term.

“This is very much a shared journey with the people of Wollongong. We want to hear from all stakeholders, from diverse groups. I encourage everyone to get involved. We must work together to get the best results for the City Centre.”

The Urban Design Framework has these key principles:

  • Prioritise jobs by safeguarding land for commercial development
  • Encourage a variety of housing types in the right locations to support city life
  • Clearly guide development to respond to place
  • Elevate the importance of a well-designed City Centre
  • Strengthen connections to make it easier to move around
  • Deliver a high amenity public domain.

These principles in the framework aim to address current barriers to good planning, identified by the planning review, including:

  • Current land use controls could result in a city filled with residential development, compromising long-term employment growth
  • The retail core is spread out too far, which results in empty shopfronts and creates inactive streets
  • General development controls don’t respond to the character and historic qualities of places in the city
  • The planning controls do not provide clear guidance for development to deliver the intended built outcomes for the city
  • Developments favour maximising building development controls over design quality, producing a less attractive city
  • Key public spaces are at risk of overshadowing by surrounding buildings.

Consultation on the Urban Design Framework and economic analysis will inform new Planning Policy (Local Environmental Plan and Development Control Plan) which will go back to Council later this year.

The community will have opportunity to provide detailed comments on proposed policy changes during this process.

Community feedback is also being sought for the first stage of the Access and Movement for People project, which will identify a future transport network for pedestrians, cyclists, public transport and motor vehicles that aligns with the Urban Design Framework and the vision of A City for People.

Consultation on both is open from today until Wednesday 8 April 2020.

To comment, visit our.wollongong.nsw.gov.au

Council staff will be at the Friday Markets in the mall on 6 March between 10am and 2pm, and hard copies of the documents are available in all libraries.