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Ten-storey buildings along light rail corridor

Buildings of up to 10 storeys will be permitted along the light rail corridor, according to the ACT Government’s plans for the Gungahlin Town Centre.

Minister Suzanne Orr, representing the Minister for Planning and Land Management, announced on Monday 30 September that the government is seeking community feedback on the draft variation to the Territory Plan, which includes a planning framework to implement the recommendations of the 2018 Gungahlin Planning Refresh.

Minister Orr said the refresh gives a coherent plan for growth that balances the opportunities for different types of development over coming years.

“Buildings of up to 10 storeys will be permitted along the light rail corridor, stepping down to six and three storeys on the town centre fringe. A minimum building height of four storeys will be permitted along Flemington Road and three storeys along the northern side of The Valley Avenue.”

“We know people want to see more community facilities in the town centre, so the draft variation allows for community facilities close to public transport stations and to be housed within mixed-use developments.

“The eastern part of the town centre will become even livelier, with changes that encourage mixed-use development and night-time activities for residents.”

President of the Gungahlin Community Council, Peter Elford, welcomed the announcement but said they remained concerned about the details.

Speaking to ABC Radio Canberra’s Drive program on Monday 30 September, Mr Elford said “one of the key points is it is all very well to talk about the buildings’ size but what sort of buildings are they going to be?”.

“One of the things we’ve had some concerns about is we are losing zones in the town centre that were zoned for office space and we still remain extremely hopeful at some stage we will get a large-scale, whether government agency or some other, employer setting up in Gungahlin,” he said.

Mr Elford noted that in 2011 there was 200,000sqm of commercial space reserved, but now there is 100,000sqm and of that 65,000 is reserved for a big office. He is concerned other developments will encroach on the land available for office space and the opportunity will be lost.

Another issue, according to Mr Elford, is once a planning document is in place, “how do we get that enforced”.

A ‘meet the planners’ session will be held on Saturday 12 October for the community to discuss the Territory Plan changes. Public comments are invited until 18 November.

You can view the plans and have your say at: yoursay.act.gov.au/gungahlin-town-centre-planning-refresh

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