Kingston on the up as Govt unveils master plan for ‘village’ revamp

A new master plan for the Kingston shops features a ”Melbourne-style” laneway with shops and cafes and a pedestrian-friendly ”shared zone” between Green Square and the proposed Supabarn site off Eyre Street.

The ACT Government has unveiled a new plan that will expand the Kingston shopping centre and lift height restrictions, allowing four- and five-storey buildings in parts of Kingston and Highgate Lane.

It also outlines a mixed development site combining small retail shops, offices, a large supermarket and apartments to be built on the current open car park on Eyre Street.
ACT Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell said the plan would allow expanded development of Kingston without removing its ”village” feel.

”The master plan is an opportunity to guide future development … which maintains and protects the fantastic character of the Kingston centre and keeps those attributes whilst allowing property owners to move forward with development,” he said.

The master plan allows the redevelopment of Highgate Lane, a service lane that runs behind the florist on Jardine Street through to Kennedy Street and Eyre Street.

Under the master plan, Highgate Lane could be turned into a Melbourne-style alley lined with shops and cafes and fronted by buildings up to five storeys high. The lane will remain open to traffic but delivery vans and trucks will be ”discouraged” from entering during peak hours.

The Government will allow five-storey buildings fronting the inner south and west sides of the lane. According to the plan ”any development which is higher than five storeys will be set back” from the main streets.

Four-storey buildings will also be permitted at the main shopping block on the south side of Kennedy Street, at the Blockbuster DVD store site on Giles Street and at the new supermarket site on Eyre Street. But height restrictions on buildings which front Green Square will remain in place to allow consistency.

Mr Corbell rejected suggestions the master plan allowed for too much development and rebuilding in Kingston. ”The document deliberately seeks to constrain height to a very modest level because one of the values of the existing centre is the relatively low scale of the centre,” he said.

”So the height element … involves a set back from the facade of the existing shopfronts and that will ensure there is no overshadowing of valuable public spaces such as Green Square.”

The Government will also investigate a ”shared zone” on Jardine Street between Green Square and the proposed supermarket site on Eyre Street. The site, situated behind a petrol service station, has been promised to Supabarn under the Government’s supermarket policy.

Under the master plan the supermarket will be built alongside a mix of retail, residential and office space and will be linked to Green Square via a ”shared zone”, where pedestrians and cars mingle. Mr Corbell said the Government would prepare a precinct code, varying the territory plan to specify building heights and land use.
It would then prepare to release the new sites for development.

By Natasha Rudra, Canberra Times, 2 July 2011

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