A new master plan proposed for Watson would address the disconnect between the north and south sides of the suburb, residents say.
'Old Watson', which lies to the south of an easement running from Antill Street to Stirling Avenue, is characterised by standalone houses on large blocks with extensive tree cover.
But to the north of the easement, or in 'new Watson', much of the development - done from about 2001 onwards - is ad hoc, high-density, and doesn't fit in with the character of the suburb, residents say.
"What we call old Watson was designed with good blocks and extensive tree cover. It was well planned with cul de sacs so there was virtually no through traffic and everyone was reasonably close to the shopping centre," chair of the Watson community association's planning sub-committee, Geoffrey Murray-Prior said.
"When they started to open up the north side of Watson, there were a couple of streets with single-storey houses but there were also a number of developments with two and three-storeys, and one with four.
"It was a case of things being designed by individual developers so not a lot of thought went into it."
The proposed master plan, which has so far been put to several local members and the environment and planning directorate, seeks to minimise the divide with reduced building heights and increased amenity.
The lack of playgrounds, open green spaces and car parking on the suburb's north side was an "oversight" and future developments should be smaller and fit in with the character of the area.
Building heights fronting Northbourne Avenue in Watson should stay at 8.5 metres and extra shopping centres would be needed.
Sections 74 and 76, which are on either sides of Zelling Street off the Federal Highway and provide a habitat for wildlife, would be re-zoned as residential, it was announced in July 2018. But a traffic management plan was yet to be released.
"Based on the estimated number of residences in the area that are coming with new developments both planned and in progress, there will be roughly 3500 more people coming to Watson over the next few years," Mr Murray-Prior said.
"Certainly [we need] the widening of roads, which means the demolition of trees that line the roads [and new trees in their place]."
The master plan also proposes that Canberra Technology Park, which was the old Watson High School, be refurbished as a new school or other education facility.
"The majority of high school students in Watson go to Lyneham [high school], which is officially over capacity now so there's a crying need for more school space," Mr Murray-Prior said.
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