Why does Helensburgh need a Town Centre Plan?

    The Helensburgh Town Centre Plan will be a guide for business, residents, governments and community groups and will provide strategic direction for future development, infrastructure investment, community programs and planning policy.

    Through Council’s Land Use Planning team, Wollongong Council has programmed a number of planning studies and master plans for town centres across the Wollongong Local Government Area.  Priorities are set through an Annual Planning cycle.  Since 2013, Council has completed town centre plans for Warrawong, Unanderra, Figtree, Corrimal, Dapto and a Wollongong City Centre Revitalisation Plan (named Wollongong, A City for People).

    How does the Helensburgh Town Centre Plan affect me?

    The Helensburgh Town Centre Plan is a plan for everyone who lives, works or visits Helensburgh Town Centre.  It proposes a variety of revitalisation initiatives, but not all of these can be delivered by Council. Businesses, government agencies and community groups have an important stake in making the town centre an interesting, fun, healthy and safe place to be and the Plan provides guidance and strategies for anyone planning development or delivering programs and services in Helensburgh.  The Plan can be used to advocate for changes, seek funding sources, change perceptions and inspire enthusiasm for new ideas. We are seeking your feedback to make sure that the Vision for Helensburgh Town Centre and accompanying strategies are what you want to see for Helensburgh in the future.  We can all work together to achieve this in many different ways.

    How will the draft Plan be developed?

    The draft Helensburgh Town Centre Plan will be developed with input from urban design analysis, traffic and transport assessment, field work and observations and input from the community.

    The draft Plan puts people first in the planning process and is broadly based on the Gehl Methodology.  Developed by renowned international architect and urban designer Jan Gehl, the Gehl Methodology is an evidence based approach, involving collecting data about the quality of the streets and public places and counting and observing people in public places. 

    By understanding how people use spaces we can offer solutions to improve the quality of these spaces and attract more people to the town centre.  Gehl has achieved success in cities such as Melbourne, Adelaide, New York and Copenhagen and Wollongong City Council has partnered with Gehl Architects on the ‘Wollongong, A City for People’ city centre revitalisation strategy.

    Are planning controls changing?

    The Plan will identify if any planning controls are required to change to meet the Vision.  Any proposed amendments will be clearly documented in a draft Plan for the community input

    Is safety and security a consideration in the draft Plan?

    A town centre that is safe and welcoming to all is important to everyone and is an important consideration in the draft Helensburgh Town Centre Plan.  There are many factors which come together to influence how safe or unsafe we feel in a space and we all have a role to play in contributing to safe places.  Even places which are relatively safe in terms of actual incidents of crime can be perceived as unsafe because they are empty, dark or unfamiliar.

    A busy town centre with well-designed and well-maintained spaces and strong social connections brings people and energy to the street. The draft Plan focuses on bringing in extra options and activities to the town centre, bring more people outside and creating a bus, vibrant atmosphere that in turn encourages even more people to visit.  This will increase surveillance in public places which will make spaces feel safer.  The draft Plan also encourages infrastructure improvements that will help people feel safer, including introducing lighting to key spaces, providing opportunities for people to meet in public places and improving traffic safety and safety for people walking and cycling.

    What have we done to date?

    We have conducted a survey of residents and held a visioning workshop with community members. A refining workshop was also held to further review community ideas and strategies to shape the draft Plan.  

    We are now planning for a public exhibition of the draft Plan and will be holding drop in information sessions for residents to talk with staff. If people cannot attend a session, feedback can be given online, by email, phone or mail. 

    What happens after the public exhibition period ends?

    All the feedback we receive from the survey, Vision Workshop and public exhibition will be read and used to make refinements to the draft Plan, before it is reported to Council for endorsement.