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Something of a test-case
Russell Degnan

The Age reports today that the mutant concrete jungle that is Chadstone Shopping Centre wants to expand again amindst many resident complaints. In theory, a substantial retail development should, under Melbourne 2030, have to be contained within an activity centre, which of course this is. (Do you think the government considered what a boon it is to certain private developers to grant retail expansion to a limited number of large shopping districts?)

However, it also requires a few other things of activity centres, in particular:
- Broaden the mix of uses appropriate to the type of centre and the needs of the population served.
- Improve access by walking, cycling and public transport to services and facilities for local and regional populations.

The current plan: to widen Middle Rd. to allow easier access to vehicular traffic, and to expand the retail space (possibly at the expense of existing low-density housing), meets neither of those two criteria.

Taking one point at a time. Firstly, the expansion of retail space should also have to include high-density housing, office-space and businesses that open in the evening, such as restaurants. The latter is a major issue for potential residents as Chadstone is as dead as the CBD was in the 1970s after the shops close.

Secondly, the expansion of Middle Rd. to eight lanes will be about as friendly to walkers, cyclists and the local residents who'll be doing the walking and cycling as directing the Monash Freeway over the top of their house would be. Which is pretty much what is being proposed. It should be rejected outright.

There are parts of Melbourne 2030 that are quite easy to implement (technically, if not politically). The gradual improvement of activity centres is one of them. Make the rules, and stick with them, come hell or high-water. That none of the articles on this issue mention the strategic planning document that should be referred to is worrying.

Planning 11th December, 2003 18:07:04   [#] 

Comments

Two solutions to make Chadstone a 24/7 precinct
First of all Chadstone needs to be accessible to a proper public transport service (rather than just buses)

Chadstone needs its own railway station.

How would that work? The solution would be simple, albeit a bit expensive. In the long term though it would have numerous benefits.

Extend the Alamein line from its current terminus and let the line run above ground until Malvern Valley Public Golf course. Then run it underground from the golf course to Chadstone Shopping Centre with a station underneath and then on to Oakleigh Station.

You could then run the Alamein line as a shuttle service from Camberwell to Oakleigh. With a bit of effort connections could also be made with the Glen Waverley line and Holmesglen TAFE as well.

Chadstone also needs something other than retail shops. It needs apartments, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs to encourage 24/7 usage. Combined with a heavy underground railway line and station, this would allow Chadstone to become a proper activity centre.
Raymond  9th January, 2005 19:41:08  


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