Unley Council wants to transform its centre into thriving pedestrian-friendly precinct

August 2014


The council has adopted its vision for a new retail and residential precinct in the loosely defined area bounded by Mornington Rd, Unley Oval and Mary and Thomas streets.

In the next two months, council staff will write to Planning Minister John Rau asking for parts of the precinct to be rezoned to allow for high-density housing.

But the public part of the project is unfunded and the council is yet to determine how much it will cost.

The plan includes more developments which have ground floor shops with apartments on top to address population growth set out in the State Government’s 30-year plan.

Cr Anthony Lapidge, who has been on the council since 1998, was proud of the vision, saying it was the best plan he had seen.

“This is the most exciting plan since I have been on this council,” Cr Lapidge said.

“There’s huge potential in Unley and (a revival) has been supported over the years but now we have the visionary guidelines to take us to the next step.”

Under the plan, three-lane Oxford Tce would be reduced to one lane and be transformed into a pedestrian friendly boulevard linking Unley Oval with Unley Shopping Centre.

The council has not decided which way traffic will flow in the new one-way Oxford Tce.

A large public space surrounding a section of Unley Rd — boxed in by Unley Shopping Centre, St Augustine of Canterbury Church, Unley Town Hall and Soldiers Memorial Garden — would be created.

The garden, on the corner of Unley Rd and Thomas St, would be rejuvenated by planting new trees under the plan.

The plan — by consultants Taylor Cullity Lethlean — also supported a return of trams to Unley Rd and dropping speeds along the arterial road to 50km/h.

In a report, Unley urban design manager Keith Davis said a State Government vision for trams to return to Unley Rd was a long-term vision that was unlikely to happen any time soon.

“The reduction of reliance on cars and the corresponding parking requirements is a key theme for the future development of the precinct,” Mr Davis said in his report.

“The creation of a transport hub for public transport and the potential role of a future tram is encouraged.”

The plan has previously been supported by the Unley Road Association, while the RAA backed the proposal to drop speed limits to 50km/h on Unley Rd.

The State Government gave the council $100,000 to investigate the merits of a new precinct. The council would not say how much, if any, it contributed to the masterplan.

Unley Council has set aside $80,000 to further its plan for the precinct in 2014/15.

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