Community members are invited to have their say on a draft plan designed to transform the dated Gorge Road shopping precinct into a more attractive retail destination.
Following an extensive public consultation process earlier this year, the City of Whittlesea has released a draft concept plan outlining a range of exciting ideas.
The draft plan aims to make the overall shopping experience more convenient and enjoyable, while also improving safety for drivers and pedestrians at the popular strip.
A key component of the draft plan is to change on-street parking on Gorge Road from angled to parallel, which will eliminate illegal right-hand turns into parking bays and allow more outdoor space for traders to utilise.
While this change would reduce the number of car parks on Gorge Road from 22 to 10, the shortfall would be offset by increasing spaces at the rear of the shops.
By consolidating the Reid Street car park with the existing informal gravel and kindergarten car parks at the rear of the shops, the precinct’s overall number of public car spaces would increase from 72 to 84.
The draft concept plan also suggests measures to improve the visual appeal of the precinct, including lining the streetscape with canopy trees in garden beds and new street furniture.
It is also proposed to widen the pedestrian footpath at the front of the shops to generally activate the area, allow footpath trading and give shoppers a place to relax or socialise.
The redevelopment would be rolled-out to minimise disruption to shoppers and traders.
City of Whittlesea Chair Administrator Lydia Wilson said in formulating the draft plan Council had listened to the feedback of both the community and the precinct’s business owners.
She said it was clear that traffic, car parking and safety were major concerns for the community, while traders wished to see the streetscape improved to make it more appealing to customers.
“This precinct is a vital social and economic hub and it is important that we maximise the safety and convenience of shopping here,” she said.
“The changes proposed in the draft concept plan aim to create a vibrant shopping precinct that meets the needs of traders as well as their customers.”
Feedback on the draft plan can be submitted at engage.whittlesea.vic.gov.au/gorgeroad until December 18.
Council’s project team will hold in-person community consultation sessions at the shops on 29 November from 8am to 10.30am, 3 December from 9am to 11am and 16 December from 4pm to 7pm.