Woden Town Centre Master Plan

The Woden Town Centre Master Plan was endorsed by the ACT Government in October 2015


Woden town centre is a major community and commercial hub for the Woden Valley and wider Canberra region. It will be a place that attracts people to live, work, socialise and enjoy throughout the day and evenings. The town square is the central focal point for social and community activity that will connect people to a network of safe and active streets and public parks.

The master plan recommends how to build on the important, iconic qualities of the centre as it enters a new phase of development. It sets out how the centre could further develop as a vibrant, sustainable centre that continues to serve the Woden Valley and wider Canberra community.

The master plan reflects key ACT Government policies: ACT Planning Strategy, Transport for Canberra, ACT Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan, ACT Water Policy and the Healthy Weight Initiative.

The main principles of this plan are:

  1. Further diversify land uses to encourage more economic activity and residential development.
  2. Improve the layout of streets, blocks and public spaces to make them easier to use.
  3. Develop a strong community by allowing more residences, bringing the community hub further into the centre and improving the open spaces.
  4. Improve access to and within the centre for pedestrians and cyclists.
  5. Encourage buildings that help the streets and open spaces be more friendly, safe and welcoming.

Artist’s impression of the Woden town centre

Artist’s impression of the Woden town centre

Recreation and living precinct:

  • Mixed-use residential development up to 12 storeys meets increasing demand for apartment living and stimulate the day and night-time economies.
  • New recreational uses add to the current recreational facilities.
  • Phillip Oval remains an important part of the precinct.

Mixed-use, office and accommodation precinct:

  • Government and commercial offices dominate.
  • Includes residential development, community facilities, educational facilities and other employment opportunities.
  • Key high-rise ‘marker buildings’ help people identify the centre and orient themselves.
  • Building heights up to 24 storeys in the core transition down to a maximum of 12 storeys at the edge.
  • Callam Street carpark reserved for future office and larger employment opportunities.
  • New pocket parks are introduced to contribute to a high quality public domain.

Retail core precinct:

  • Continues to be a major retail hub for the district.
  • Mixed uses introduced, particularly where they face onto the streets, bus station and town square, for example cafes.
  • Building heights up to 16 storeys.
  • Town square improvements reduce wind impacts and the heat island effect and encourage community events.

Phillip service trades precinct:

  • Continues to provide important services and trades.
  • Medium-density housing along Townshend Street and fronting the pocket parks in Colbee and Dundas courts bring more activity after hours.
  • Changes along Townsend Street encourage a similar vibrancy as Braddon.
  • Building heights up to five storeys in the middle transition down to a maximum of four storeys along Athllon Drive and two storeys along Melrose Drive.
  • New development faces on to Athllon Drive.

This spatial framework shows the recommended vision for the Woden town centre. It shows how the different precincts can encourage development, business and people to the centre.

This spatial framework shows the recommended vision for the Woden town centre. It shows how the different precincts can encourage development, business and people to the centre.

Athllon Drive precinct:

  • An attractive place to live, close to shops, services and public transport, including future rapid transit.
  • Medium and high density residential development supported by areas of open space and recreational uses.
  • Building heights transition to low rise development near Swinger Hill and Mawson.
  • Improvements to Yarralumla Creek, potentially include a wetland, improve water quality, provide recreation and mitigate against flooding

Transport network

  • A safer pedestrian and cycle network into the centre and along main routes provides easy access to and around the centre.
  • A reserved corridor for rapid transit reaches right into the town centre, suitable for light rail.
  • The improved bus interchange makes public transport more convenient, safe and attractive.
  • Parking is managed to ensure the centre is accessible by car.

Community, recreation and parkland precinct:

  • An important open space, recreation and community area.
  • Better connections from the centre and surrounding suburbs encourage more people to the precinct.
  • Open spaces and recreation facilities encourage residents to live an active and healthy lifestyle.
  • The Woden Cemetery, with its heritage value and function, remains as an important part of the precinct.
  • Moving community facilities and services to an easily accessible part of the town centre helps them be more accessible and re-activates the Woden Town Park.

Town centre living precinct:

  • Medium and high-density residential development meets demand for different types of residences close to shops, services and public transport.
  • Building heights up to six storeys, with a high-rise marker building to balance Sky Plaza.
  • Some smaller-scale commercial uses close to Callam Street encourage daytime activity through the week.
  • The hospital link will provide an improved pedestrian and cycle connection between the town centre and The Canberra Hospital.

What the community said

Consistent messages from the community on the draft master plan included:

  • general support for the proposals
  • the need to improve pedestrian and cycle connections
  • the need to enhance and maintain public spaces
  • concerns about declining employment opportunities
  • a desire for sports and recreational facilities to be kept and improved.

The following recommendations from this plan help address those messages.

More residences and development

Town centre living has many benefits for individuals, the centre economy and the Territory, including:

  • meeting demand from people of different ages and types of families—from young singles seeking apartment living close to activities to retirees downsizing from their family home—for an apartment or town house near shops, cafes, entertainment, services and rapid public transport
  • meeting the ACT Government’s priority for urban renewal to balance development of new suburbs
  • increased demand for more retail and commercial businesses and services, more restaurants and cafes, more sport and recreation facilities
  • a more vibrant night-time economy from people eating out and seeking entertainment
  • improved safety because more people are around during the day and night.

Mixed-uses encourage people to use the centre day and night, improving pedestrian safety and supporting the centre’s economy and liveability.

Improved layout

The master plan recommends how to make it easier and more pleasant to visit and use the town centre, for example:

  • parking will be consolidated, with opportunities for parking structures
  • higher density and high rise development will be in the retail core and office and accommodation precincts, stepping down at the edges of the centre
  • ‘marker buildings’ within the centre help visitors find their way to and around the centre
  • improving the layout of the blocks, buildings, streets and open spaces will allow people to move around and find their way more easily and safely
  • new rules for building design will aim to improve the streetscape and make the centre more pleasant
  • new developments will be environmentally sustainable
  • more open spaces that are easy and safe to reach will encourage people to be active and social and organisations to hold more community events
  • a safe pedestrian and cycle network into the centre and along main routes will provide easy access and encourage an active lifestyle.

What’s next

A change to the Phillip Precinct Code in the Territory Plan will pave the way for many of the recommendations in the master plan. These changes will include further community consultation.

Upgrades to parks, pedestrian and cycle paths will require ACT Government funding, which will be dependent on further investigations, future budget bids and private sector contributions.

Several Territory-owned sites are already nominated for land release and will happen over time.

Opportunities to develop and redevelop existing sites for offices, residences and other uses will need to be taken up by private industry.

For more information

Email Woden@act.gov.au

Call 13 22 81 (and ask for EPD Strategic Planning)