Page 937 - Week 03 - Thursday, 7 April 2022

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Variation 364 provides guidance on the built form and character of the town centre and promotes high-quality design outcomes as the centre continues to develop and grow. The variation sets out building heights and the need to provide priority active frontages to pedestrian thoroughfares. Furthermore, and in line with the community wishes, the variation facilitates more employment areas at the eastern end of the town centre. Vacant blocks on Flemington Road will be required to have commercial and employment uses, with two blocks being reserved for commercial development. To achieve this, the variation will be supported by a more detailed level of precinct planning for this land.

The draft variation was released for public comment from 30 September 2019 until 18 November 2019. A total of nine written submissions were received. I referred the draft variation to the Standing Committee on Planning, Transport and City Services under section 73 of the Planning and Development Act. I thank the committee for its consideration of this variation and for its report released on 21 September that included eight recommendations. I tabled the government’s response to the committee’s recommendations in the Legislative Assembly on 8 February 2022. Three of the eight recommendations were agreed, and the remaining recommendations were agreed in principle.

The commercial market assessment to be undertaken by the Suburban Land Agency and the more detailed precinct planning along Flemington Road will focus on the development of commercial and employment uses. Winyu House already offers an employment hub in the town centre and is available for ACT government employees to meet and work. This type of development could be established by federal departments and for private offices, and would support shopping, services, restaurants and entertainment at the town centre. These measures, in combination with uses such as community facilities and residential development, will enhance existing development at the town centre, to create a lively and active mix-use town centre.

In accordance with the government’s response to the standing committee’s recommendations, I directed the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate to make a number of changes to the Territory Plan. First, I directed the removal of criterion 43 and rule 44, consistent with recommendation 2 of the committee, in order to reserve priority commercial space. Secondly, I directed two actions in recognition of the committee’s recommendation 5. One action was to amend the building height in precinct 2B to allow up to two additional storeys where additional height does not have an adverse effect on adjacent development.

The other action was to adjust the height, in metres, for buildings in precinct 2B. This was to encourage commercial development and potentially a building that is entirely commercial, noting that commercial development typically has higher floor-to-ceiling heights than residential development. More specifically, the maximum height of buildings has been increased from 26 metres to 30 metres for a seven-storey development; from 42 to 50 metres for a 12-storey development; and from 48 to 58 metres for a 14-storey development in precinct 2B. These areas, where these variation height limits apply, have not changed.

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