Slow progress on Saleyards Precinct Plan

January 7, 2022 BY

An aerial concept illustration of the redeveloped Saleyards Precinct. Photo: CITY OF GREATER GEELONG

THE City of Greater Geelong’s ambitious plan to turn the former saleyards in North Geelong into a major residential development is making slow progress, with the next stage up to 18 months away.

Six months ago, the city adopted the Saleyards Precinct Plan, which is considering the future use of the saleyards and neighbouring Gateways Support Service site and sets out the background and design principles for the area.

According to the plan, the city proposes to build a mixed-use high density residential precinct that will house between 1,000 and 1,300 residents with a centrally-located park, a community node, and open space to the north and south.

The precinct’s study area – bordered by Victoria Street, Weddell and Thompson Roads – also includes the Sphinx Hotel and associated landholdings as well as the industrial zoned land to the north, and the plan states “consideration has been given to the adjoining uses in the development of the plan” .

The council adopted the Saleyards Precinct Plan at their June 2021 meeting and also resolved to request Planning Minister Richard Wynne authorise the preparation of a planning scheme amendment to introduce policy and development controls into the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme consistent with the principles of the Saleyards Precinct Plan and draft local policy.

“We are working with the state government to complete the planning scheme amendment and anticipate it will be completed in the next 12 to 18 months,” the city’s acting chief executive officer Guy Wilson-Browne said last week.

The plan’s design principles will guide the precinct’s planning and sustainable design and will support the case for public infrastructure investment and upgrades, such as:

  • Retaining historical material from the saleyards wherever possible and reusing or interpreting them
  • Creating green links that provide habitat for local species
  • Enhancing and prioritising pedestrian and cycle connections to North Geelong train station
  • Providing social and affordable housing
  • Create an attractive plaza space with weather protection, seating, bicycle parking and landscaping, and
  • Energy-efficient building design.

The city consulted with the community during 2019 and 2020 through workshops, online forums, written submissions and individual interviews.

There was overall general support for the design principles, including the mix of housing types and provision of affordable and social housing, the focus on sustainability and celebration of the site’s history.

Changes to the Saleyards Precinct Plan based on feedback included providing more detail on the implementation process, and using the concept plan as an appendix that informed the precinct plan rather than being considered the final design.

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