Town en­try points – putting out the “wel­come mat”

Mansfield Courier - - NEWS - BY KATHY RICHARD­SON - Se­nior Strate­gic Plan­ner

PLAN­NING Scheme Amend­ment C37 for Mans­field Shire Coun­cil is cur­rently with the Min­is­ter for Plan­ning.

It i s an­tic­i­pated t hat t he changes from this amend­ment will be in­cluded into the Mans­field Plan­ning Scheme within the com­ing months.

A key doc­u­ment of t his amend­ment is the Mans­field Town­ship Struc­ture Plan 2015.

Struc­ture plans are a plan­ning tool to iden­tify key is­sues and strate­gies to be ad­dressed in the for­ward plan­ning of towns and cities.

They usu­ally i nclude an Ur­ban De­sign Frame­work that sets out spe­cific ob­jec­tives to be achieved that seek to im­prove the func­tion and im­age of a town or city.

The Mans­field Town­ship Struc­ture Plan 2015 in­cludes an Ur­ban De­sign Frame­work.

One of the key is­sues dis­cussed is the treat­ment of the pri­mary ap­proaches into town.

Th­ese are listed as Ma­roon­dah High­way (west), Mt Buller Road (east), Mid­land High­way (north) and Mans­field Whit­field Road (north).

It goes on to state that ‘the ap­proaches cur­rently lack co­or­di­na­tion from a land­scape per­spec­tive and would ben­e­fit from a co­or­di­nated ap­proach and streetscap­e treat­ment’.

Town en­tries and ap­proaches are es­sen­tial to the im­age of a town.

First im­pres­sions of a town are im­por­tant as they an­nounce ‘this is who we are as a com­mu­nity, how much we value where we live and how unique our town is’.

Es­sen­tially it is ‘putting out the wel­come mat’ and can po­ten­tially de­fine the ex­pe­ri­ence of a town and whether a vis­i­tor stops or con­tin­ues on through.

Of rel­e­vance to this is our re­gional tourism in­dus­try that ac­counts for ap­prox­i­mately 52 per cent of re­tail trade in Mans­field Shire and around $322 mil­lion gen­er­ated by vis­i­tor stays in the shire.

We have a healthy t our- ism base that could be fur­ther boosted through ur­ban de­sign ini­tia­tives such as im­prov­ing the ap­proaches and town im­age.

The fu­ture treat­ment of the town en­try/ap­proaches is a pro­ject to be un­der­taken by the town plan­ning area at coun­cil over the com­ing months.

Pre­lim­i­nary work has be­gun on the as­sess­ment of what is cur­rently in place and dis­cus­sions on im­prove­ments.

The con­clu­sion at this early stage is that more can be done to in­vig­o­rate the en­try points and j our­ney i nto Mans­field town­ship.

There are plan­ning mea­sures that can as­sist to en­cour­age more at­trac­tive and ap­pro­pri­ate de­vel­op­ment on pri­vate land hold­ings along town en­tries.

This may be im­ple­mented through con­trols over sig­nage, land­scap­ing, park­ing, build­ing de­sign and many other el­e­ments.

While it can still en­cour­age i ndus­trial/ com­mer­cial uses, they should re­spond to the im­por­tance of their lo­ca­tion to the im­age of a town.

Other mea­sures that can ad­dress the treat­ment of the town ap­proaches are im­prove­ments along the edges of the road­ways.

This can take the form of land­scap­ing, sig­nage, pub­lic art, light­ing, road/traf­fic treat­ments, gate­way ar­chi­tec­ture and so on.

So next time you drive in to Mans­field take the time to think about what is there at the mo­ment, how it makes you feel, and how we as a com­mu­nity can im­prove th­ese spa­ces.

Look out for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion around this pro­ject in 2017 and come and get in­volved.

BEAU­TI­FY­ING TOWN EN­TRIES: Uner the Plan­ning Scheme Amend­ment C37 en­tries to the town­ship of Mans­field will be con­sid­ered for beau­ti­fi­ca­tion to at­tract and wel­come visi­tors.

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