ACT News

Woden master plan promises business and residential growth

The government plan for higher density and higher rise development for Woden's town centre has been backed by business and community groups as a kickstarter for the region's economy.

The newly released master plan for the town centre laid out increased opportunities for large-scale residential and office buildings, as well as better cycle and pedestrian networks to improve access and grow the night-time economy.

Woden Group spokesman Shane Quinn: wants 2000 new jobs in the town centre over the next 18 months.
Woden Group spokesman Shane Quinn: wants 2000 new jobs in the town centre over the next 18 months. Photo: Melissa Adams

Woden Valley Community Council president Martin Miller said he backed the building height increases.

"It will considerably increase height, particularly around the outer edges, and the northern precinct will be up to 12 storeys; previously it was six storeys," he said.

"We said in our submission we'd like to align those heights along the transport corridor of Callam Street and Athllon Drive, which I think they have done."

"Probably the area we're most disappointed with is they haven't noted a site for a new multi-purpose sports facility, as suggested in [a] 2012 study."

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Aiming to create a "more unified and continuous skyline", the plan allowed for buildings up to 24 storeys in addition to Lovett Tower in the town centre core, and developments above 24 storeys "could" be considered where the key marker building did not dominate the skyline. Buildings up to 16 storeys could be constructed in the Westfield-dominated retail core precinct.

Current wind and heat issues discouraging use of public spaces around buildings would be targeted.

Mixed-use residential development of up to 12 storeys would be backed along the eastern edge of Melrose Drive, including north of Launceston Street.

Medium-density housing would be promoted south of Hindmarsh Drive, ranging from up to six storeys east of Athllon Drive, five storeys on Townshend Street – aimed at encouraging a "similar vibrancy as Braddon" – and four storeys on the western edge of Athllon Drive.

The Woden Group spokesman Shane Quinn said he was excited to see the new master plan, which addressed the issues of access to the centre and lack of street-facing activities the last plan in 2004 did not.

"They have acknowledged the depressed night-time economy, and I think there's some great opportunities to create some density and allow businesses to flourish and invite people into the centre."

"If we can implement what is proposed here I honestly think Woden will have one of the greatest platforms in Canberra to launch from."

The eight Woden town centre precincts would be connected with a clear pedestrian and cycle network, including a designated hospital link east of Westfield.

Mr Miller said precinct code changes giving effect to parts of the plan would be expected in early 2016.