Strategy and amendment adopted to meet future retail demand

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Council’s adopted the City of Greater Geelong Retail Strategy 2020-2036, which supports retail expansion to keep up with demand and the region’s growing population.

The region currently has enough retail centres to service the community. However, the strategy identifies an extra 418,000m2 of retail floor space will be needed by 2036 to support the future growth of the City. The majority of this growth will be in areas such as the Geelong CBD, the Bellarine, Armstrong Creek and the new Northern and Western Geelong growth areas.

The strategy supports expanding or redeveloping existing centres over developing new centres. The document also identifies the need to prepare master plans for several retail centres, including Belmont, Separation Street and Shannon Avenue.

Last night, council also adopted Amendment C393GGEE and submitted it to the Minister for Planning requesting approval.

The amendment implements the key elements of the strategy into the planning scheme but doesn’t rezone or apply overlay controls to land. It introduces new objectives and strategies, an updated retail hierarchy and an application of floor space caps to sub-regional centres and centres in growth locations.

In late 2019 and early 2020, an Independent Panel reviewed 14 written submissions regarding the amendment from a range of retail and land developer businesses with interests in Greater Geelong.

The panel confirmed the importance of Geelong’s activity centre hierarchy policy and was supportive of the use of floor space caps for sub-regional and growth area centres.

The panel recommended the amendment be adopted with some minor policy changes. One of the changes council has accepted is an 11,000 square metre floor space cap for the new Kingston Neighbourhood Activity Centre in Ocean Grove.

Council didn’t accept the panel’s recommendation to extend the proposed boundary of the Kingston Neighbourhood Activity Centre to include both the Commercial 1 and 2 zoned land. This is due to concerns that a larger centre would be inconsistent with the role and function of a Neighbourhood Activity Centre and would strongly compete with the Ocean Grove Town Centre and the Leopold Sub-Regional Activity Centre. A larger centre could possibly redirect investment away from those centres.

The updated strategy replaces the City of Greater Geelong Retail Strategy 2016-2036 after changes were made following the panel hearing process.

Councillor Stephanie Asher - Mayor 

This new strategy and amendment will ensure the community has convenient access to retail services as the population grows.

Retail trade is Greater Geelong’s second largest employment sector, employing 13,663 people, so it’s vital future plans support this significant industry.

Councillor Trent Sullivan - Chair, Planning portfolio

Retail centres are the heartbeat of our region and how we structure them is extremely important. The adoption of this strategy and amendment will support these centres to thrive and offer new and interesting experiences for locals and visitors to these areas.

We thank the Independent Panel for its consideration of the amendment and to those who made submissions.

Page last updated: Wednesday, 26 August 2020