Where is the Ballarat Station Southside Precinct?

    Located in the heart of the Ballarat CBD, the Ballarat Station Southside Precinct is bound by the Ballarat rail line to the north, Peel Street North to the east, Mair Street to the South and Lydiard Street North to the west.

    How is the VPA planning for this precinct and who is involved?

    Ballarat is growing at a strong rate. The Minister for Planning has directed the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) to prepare a master plan for the precinct as part of the VPA Fast Track program, in partnership with Ballarat Council, VicTrack and state government agencies. The VPA and its project partners will prepare a master plan that supports future growth in Ballarat and aligns with local planning policy.

    What is a master plan and how is it proposed to be implemented?

    A master plan is a long-term plan that provides a vision and framework for how an area can grow and develop. These plans provide certainty for community members and developers about what change is expected in an area and can respond to matters including but not limited to land use and development, transport and parking, building and urban design, heritage, character, employment and open spaces.

    Inputs from this phase of community consultation will be used to inform a draft master plan and draft planning scheme amendment. The planning scheme amendment will propose changes to the Ballarat Planning Scheme, to make the master plan enforceable through planning permits in the future. 

    What is the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA)?

    The Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) is a State Government statutory authority that reports to the Victorian Minister for Planning and acts as the state’s strategic planner.

    The VPA’s main task is to make sure Melbourne and Victoria’s regions remain great places to work and live. This requires vision and long-term planning, to ensure Victorians have equitable access to employment, public transport, attractive public space and affordable housing for our growing population.

    What is Ballarat Council’s role in the planning process?

    The VPA is working in partnership with Ballarat Council to prepare the master plan. Once the master plan is finalised and in the planning scheme, Council will take over the project and be responsible for putting the plan into action.

    What is VicTrack’s role in the planning process?

    VicTrack are a government organisation that own Victoria’s rail transport land, assets and infrastructure.

    VicTrack are a major landholder within the precinct with their land holding including the Ballarat Station complex and Ballarat Rail Line. The VPA and Council are working in partnership with VicTrack to prepare the master plan. 

    Why is this work happening?

    As Victoria's third largest city, the City of Ballarat is preparing a broader renewal program within the CBD to support continued growth, prosperity and attract new investment to the city.

    The City of Ballarat’s strategic planning policies are highly supportive of growth and development of the Ballarat CBD which includes the southern precinct of the station. However, currently the Ballarat Planning Scheme provides little direction to guide renewal of the south side of the station, resulting in a lack of certainty for the community as to how the precinct could develop into the future. 

    City of Ballarat aspires for the Ballarat Station Southside Precinct to develop into a regionally significant commercial, civic and tourism destination.

    We are undertaking long-term planning for this precinct to maximise the opportunities that come with these changes around the precinct and to fully realise the potential of this place as a thriving mixed-use precinct and as a destination for Ballarat.

    What does it mean for this project to be “fast tracked”?

    The Ballarat Station Southside Master Plan has been identified as a project on the VPA’s Fast Track Program. 

    You can read more about the VPA’s Fast Track Program here.

    The project will use the VPA Projects Standing Advisory Committee to consider unresolved matters and provide advice to the Minister and the VPA prior to the VPA finalising the amendment for the Minister for Planning’s consideration.

    What changes can I expect to see?

    Once finalised, the Ballarat Station Southside Precinct Master Plan will act as guidelines for government agencies, council or private developers to follow as they redevelop their land over time. 

    Some examples of what changes the master plan could result in include improved paths and access to the station for the community (including improved access between the north and the south sides, and access through to Mair Street); improved public space including the station forecourt and improved landscaping throughout the area, and making the precinct more attractive to visitors and new business. 

    Once the planning scheme amendment process is complete, developers and/or landowners within the precinct can apply to council for a planning permit to develop in line with the master plan.

    Future development is likely to occur gradually, and existing business activities are likely to continue to operate as they currently do for some time.

    How does this project relate to other projects within the area?

    There is a lot of change happening around the precinct, with a range of active projects being led by other government agencies and Council. These include the redevelopment of the northern station precinct, construction of a new local bus interchange, the construction of Ballarat GovHub, the reopening of the Lydiard Street North Railway Crossing, upgrades to Mair Street and planning for the future of the Ballarat CBD through ongoing implementation of the Bakery Hill Urban Renewal Plan and Creative City Masterplan.

    The Ballarat Station Southside master planning project will not look to redo any work that is currently committed or underway as part of these active projects and plans. Instead, it will seek to ensure that planning for the Ballarat Station Southside Precinct connects with and recognises the important opportunities that these active projects and plans bring.

    How will heritage be considered through the master plan?

    The precinct includes a number of important heritage sites of both state and local heritage significance, including the Ballarat Station Complex. Heritage within the precinct is protected under state and local heritage laws. The master plan will not look to propose change to the celebrated heritage façade of the station.

    Who owns the land?

    VicTrack own a large portion of land within the precinct associated with the Ballarat Station and Ballarat Rail Line. The remainder of the precinct properties fronting Lydiard Street North and Mair Street are privately owned.

    I own or occupy a property within the Ballarat Station Southside Precinct, what does this mean for me?

    As a member of the community, you are entitled to have your say on the proposed changes to the Ballarat Station Southside Precinct - even if you don’t own land within the site and even if the plan may not directly impact you.

    The master plan will not impact your ability to continue to operate your business within the precinct as you currently do. 

    What about the feedback that I previously provided to Council?

    The VPA are working closely with Council to ensure that previous feedback provided as part of other projects within the Ballarat CBD are considered and will inform the preparation of the master plan.

    What community consultation is planned?

    The VPA will undertake two phases of engagement to seek the views of the community and stakeholders in preparing the Ballarat Station Southside Master Plan and draft Planning Scheme Amendment (PSA).

    Phase 1 of consultation in January and February 2021 will involve key stakeholders and the broader Ballarat community and seek to understand current challenges and future aspirations people have for the site. The feedback collected from Phase 1 engagement will inform preparation of the draft master plan.

    In Phase 2 of consultation, the VPA will come back to the community with a draft master plan and planning scheme amendment to seek further community and stakeholder input. The feedback collected from Phase 2 engagement will inform preparation of the final Ballarat Station Southside Precinct Master Plan.

    How can I get involved?

    You can have your say from 18 January - 22 February 2021 by visiting https://engage.vic.gov.au/ballarat-station-south and completing the online survey, dropping a pin on the interactive map, or meeting VPA and Council staff at one of our community pop-ups.

    What are the next steps?

    The VPA and Ballarat City Council are seeking to understand the community’s future aspirations and vision for the Ballarat Station Southside precinct.

    Feedback heard during the first phase of consultation will be incorporated into a draft master plan. The draft master plan and associated draft planning scheme amendment will be made available for public comment later in 2021.

    Following the second round of final public consultation, the VPA and Ballarat City Council will work to resolve any feedback provided by the community, If matters cannot be resolved, the master plan and draft planning scheme amendment will be heard by a Standing Advisory Committee (SAC).

    For more information the SAC, please see https://vpa.vic.gov.au/fast-track-projects/.