On Tuesday evening, the City of Greater Geelong resolved to adopt the South Geelong Urban Design Framework (UDF).
The UDF will provide a framework to guide land use and development within this accessible precinct with a focus on increasing infill development around key transport nodes. Importantly, the UDF will contribute to the City’s need to plan for ongoing growth and commitment to achieving its lofty infill housing objectives.
Notable aspects of the UDF include:
- Support for the rezoning of land along Moorabool Street from commercial to mixed-use to allow for residential use and development.
- Support for the rezoning of key development sites around South Geelong Station, including the former Barwon Water depot on Carr Street, to include development of up to 6 storeys. (Note: the 6-storey building height reflects a reduction from the original 10-storey proposition.)
- Provisions to enable the freeing up of land at the South Geelong station (south-side) for future development, whilst accommodating commuter car parking.
- Setting expectations for streetscape and public realm improvements.
Overall, the UDF reflects a step in the right direction by the City, which seeks to facilitate increased development within this transit-oriented location. However, the potential to explore greater built-form outcomes on key strategic sites appears to have been curtailed at this juncture in the planning process. In addition, movement access and parking strategies largely follow a “business as usual” approach rather than seeking to leverage location and the soon-to-commence investment in South Geelong Station as part of the South Geelong to Waurn Ponds line duplication by Regional Rail Victoria.
It is important that key strategic documents such as UDFs provide flexible frameworks that allow for responsive planning and design outcomes, and importantly, enable the market to respond accordingly. In transit-oriented locations like South Geelong, UDFs should be planning for Geelong’s future generations; generations that will embrace sustainability and the ability to live locally in vibrant and cohesive communities. Well-connected, higher-density inner city suburbs should provide housing choice and affordability, adequate supply, and promote sustainable urban development.
The implementation of the UDF, and associated planning policy and controls, within the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme will be critical to the ultimate success of the precinct. Moreover, the controls applied to key strategic sites to guide built-form outcomes again will be pivotal to ensure that these transit-oriented sites are afforded a flexible framework to explore feasible development outcomes.
With the impending 2026 Commonwealth Games, we consider that there remain opportunities for key strategic sites within this precinct to play a role in providing accommodation for the event itself and in the long term, provide options for affordable housing outcomes.
The City will now commence the preparation of a formal planning scheme amendment process to implement the UDF within the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme. We look forward to closely following the next steps.
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