Town entry points – putting out the “welcome mat”
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.