Bridge Mall Precinct - Design Development

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

Welcome to the "Bridge Mall Precinct - Design Development" information page, where you can view information about the Bridge Mall redevelopment, and keep up to date with the progress of the project.

To keep up to date with this project, subscribe using the button on the right.

Project chronology

Current lifecycle phase - Design Development

Hassell, the design team, have been working on the form and function of the Bridge Mall Precinct. However, a physical change to the streetscape is not the final product. Ultimately the space needs to reflect and respond to how the community will use the space

Welcome to the "Bridge Mall Precinct - Design Development" information page, where you can view information about the Bridge Mall redevelopment, and keep up to date with the progress of the project.

To keep up to date with this project, subscribe using the button on the right.

Project chronology

Current lifecycle phase - Design Development

Hassell, the design team, have been working on the form and function of the Bridge Mall Precinct. However, a physical change to the streetscape is not the final product. Ultimately the space needs to reflect and respond to how the community will use the space. By utilising the principles of the City of Ballarat Creative City Strategy and Masterplan the designers along with the community will create a space that truly reflects the needs of Ballarat and the current and future users of Bridge Mall.

There are a number of steps in the co-design program, which is being facilitated by FreeState a wholly owned subsidiary of Hassell. The first is co-creation interviews with identified individuals and groups from across Ballarat. These are small and intimate discussions with targeted people and groups (retailers, visionaries, historians and creatives) who are passionate about the space today and those who want to see it honoured into the future. Amongst a wealth of other things it will examine how technology might be integrated into the public space, and what great design will look like.

Secondly, there will be co-creation workshops alongside the architects that will explore proposed ideas, and looping in with experts who can help translate wish lists into reality. This might include how the design can integrate with the landscape or how we might include important artefacts or celebrate moments in time. Included in these intensive workshops are digital creatives, heritage storytellers, retailers and traders, urban designers, First Nations peoples, civic space making specialists to name a few.

To tie everything together the third and final phase will be a series of 'sense checks' with implementation reviewers, these are people within our community who represent wider groups of diverse interests. The 'sense checks' will consider issues like accessibility for those who are very young or very old, infirm or disabled. These checks will consider transport and movement, climate change and issues around sustainability. It will look at the changing face of retail and prepare us for a better tomorrow.


March 2021 – Precinct Plan adopted by Council

Hassell were engaged to prepare two precinct plans for the Bridge Mall Rejuvenation Project showing options for east bound one-way traffic and west bound one-way traffic. The Precinct for the purpose of this project, includes the area bounded by Little Bridge to Curtis Street and Grenville to Humffray Street. The Precinct Plans focus on the function, movement of vehicles, pedestrian linkages, green space accrual, precinct amenity and treed boulevards. The main difference between the two Precinct plans are the treatment of the two key entry points at Humffray Street and Grenville Street. The recommendations for Little Bridge Street and Curtis Street are identical for both the Precinct options. The Precinct plans reflect an overall design intent and do not provide specific details on streetscape treatments. The preferred Precinct plan (traffic direction) will be developed into greater detail as part of the Design Development phase. Further detail can be accessed via the 24 March 2021 Council Agenda.

Please click here to view the two precinct plans. A fly through of the eastbound option can be accessed here.

At the 24 March Council Meeting the following were adopted:

  • Key components of the Precinct plan
  • Preferred Precinct plan - Eastbound one-way traffic
  • Project schedule as covered in the agenda


August 2020 – Community Consultation on design thinking

In July 2020 Hassell briefed Council around their analyses, design thinking and key findings in relation to traffic direction and flow. From this work they recommended that:

  • The introduction of traffic into the Mall should be one-way flow (not two-way) in order to provide adequate space for pedestrians, cyclists, play space,, activation and event spaces and to minimise the impact of vehicle movement through the space on the amenity and function of the precinct.
  • The direction of traffic flow should be east bound (towards Melbourne) on the basis that for every $4 spent in the precinct $3 is spent by locals and only $1 is spent by visitors. This gave rise to the notion "that if Locals Love it, Visitors will Love it Too".

Armed with the above recommendations it was important to test community views on the structure of the precinct, including specifically testing views on two-way traffic, one way (east bound or west bound options). The material presented during this consultation can be found by clicking here. Submissions were wide ranging but reinforced the extensive feedback received during the almost 2 year period of preparation of the Bakery Hill and Bridge Mall Urban Renewal Plan - that the space needs to be designed to be a pedestrian focused, inviting, safe and activated space.

Specifically, the feedback regarding the various street options put forward was:

a) Two way traffic - very little support, largely because it would require the removal of the trees, outdoor dining spaces and the playground, which are three of the most valued aspects of the current area, and considered major drawcards for existing users of the area. The overwhelming support was for a more pedestrian focused space rather than re-introduction of another vehicle dominated space.

b) One way traffic - had overwhelming support from those who participated, but there was a range of perspectives on direction. A range of questions were posed by submitters regarding how the different directions would actually function and operate and differing perspectives provided on how each direction supported different outcomes.

From the community feedback and Councils desire for further clarity on the function, operations and cost implications of the two variants (eastbound or westbound) a request was made that two precinct plans be prepared and presented to Council. The precinct plans will be developed as general concepts for single lane vehicles in either direction and include detailed engineering, planning, design and other technical analysis, to identify preferred layouts that best achieve the overall objectives of the project.

A detailed precinct plan was not required for a two-way option as its form and layout are sufficiently understood. The two-way option would be a road design project without the wider design opportunities and implications of designing new areas for pedestrians, playgrounds, trees and green spaces.


April 2020 – Design Firm Appointed via Design Competition

Following on from the Bakery Hill Urban Renewal Plan a streetscape design upgrade for the Bridge Street Mall was initiated.

In November 2019 design firms were requested to express their interest in participating in a design competition for the Bridge Mall Redevelopment Project. From the field of applicants, that expressed interest, three were selected to participate. Ultimately international design practice Hassell were chosen to undertake design development and construction documentation for the Bridge Mall. The design team will also include PLOT Landscape Architect Cardno TGM.

Hassell has a strong track record in delivering award-winning urban design and landscape architecture projects across Australia and around the world including Darling Harbour Transformation in Sydney, the New Museum for Western Australia in Perth in joint venture with OMA, and Resilient South City as part of the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenges in San Francisco, California.

Hassell Principal, Mark Haycock said his firm was excited to be awarded the role of supporting Council and the community to create a new, thriving, connected and distinctive meeting place for Ballarat.

“We will be building on the extensive work already undertaken by Council to endorse the plan, the result being a beautiful place for locals that is alive, fresh and welcoming, and a true reflection of Ballarat,” Mr Haycock said.


Project Background

At the 15 May 2019 Council meeting $15 million was allocated for the rejuvenation of the Bridge Mall and at the October 30, 2019 meeting the Bakery Hill Urban Renewal Plan (the Plan) was formally adopted. (To find out more about the development of the Plan click on the "Related Projects" link). In summary the Bakery Hill Urban Renewal Plan 2019 outlined the vision and interventions in order to ensure that the precinct of Bakery Hill. including the Bridge Mall continues to play an important commercial and community role in the CBD. The Plan adopted three key themes:

  • A thriving economy, supporting and engaged and resilient community
  • A community connected to people, place and local destinations
  • A place with a distinctive identity and story to tell

The genesis of the Bakery Hill Urban Renewal Plan was that Bakery Hill has - and is - experiencing a steady decline in retail and commercial activity, measured through a significant increase in vacant shops. There is poor connection east to west and north to south and physical challenges in accessing the Mall. There is an observed underutilisation of the Bridge Street Mall (the commercial core of Bakery Hill) by community and visitors. Poor natural surveillance allows for antisocial behaviour which is increasingly evident, spreading across the precinct to include Curtis St and Little Bridge St.

Share your memories of Bridge Mall and the precinct

The Bridge Mall precinct has a long history - previously a thoroughfare, currently a closed mall, and now in the process of returning to being a place with a distinctive identity and story to tell.  And you, as members of the community, are part of that story.  Tell us your memories of the Bridge Mall precinct - were you  "hanging laps" around the area in the 80's? Were you employed at one of the shops in the precinct?  Did you shop for your wedding gown or suit in one of the stores?  Did you meet Santa in the Mall?  Or do you remember when the clock on Norwich Plaza worked?  Tell us - you can also attach photos, videos, newspaper articles or other items to your story.  

We would love to share your story and attachments to the broader community, as a way of preserving the memories of the Bridge Mall precinct.  All stories are viewed by our site moderators and you will receive notification when your story will be published here.  

If you have any questions, contact Kizanne Davies via email kizannedavies@ballarat.vic.gov.au 

Thank you for sharing your story with us.  

loader image
Didn't receive confirmation?
Seems like you are already registered, please provide the password. Forgot your password? Create a new one now.
Cancel
  • There are no stories to display. Why don't you share one?
Page last updated: 18 October 2021, 11:25