Ballarat Station Southside Precinct Master Plan

Ballarat Station Southside Precinct Master Plan

We’re creating the Ballarat Station Southside Precinct Master Plan to guide the redevelopment of the station’s southern precinct into a new destination for Ballarat.

Located in the heart of the CBD, Ballarat Station is a major transport gateway and a ‘destination station’ for both residents and visitors.

The master plan and associated planning scheme amendment will provide certainty for the community about potential future development and will give developers the confidence to continue to invest in the Ballarat CBD.

The master plan aims to:

  • Protect and celebrate the rich heritage of the station precinct
  • Guide the development of government land to the south of the beloved Ballarat Station
  • Support the precinct as it becomes a commercial, civic and tourism destination
  • Improve connectivity, accessibility and deliver a vibrant community space for residents and visitors to enjoy
  • Attract investment, jobs and new commercial opportunities into the city.

This will not only support the transformation of the precinct into a new destination for Ballarat, it will also attract investment, jobs and new commercial opportunities into the city as we recover from the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The project is being undertaken in partnership with the Ballarat City Council and VicTrack.

Planning for Ballarat’s future CBD

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 program builds upon strategic work already completed by the city since the adoption of the Ballarat CBD Strategy in 2010. The strategy identifies opportunities for the Ballarat Station Southside precinct, including urban renewal, better connections and potentially allowing for higher intensity and mixed use developments within the area. The City of Ballarat is preparing a draft Urban Design Framework (UDF) which articulates the vision and objectives for the CBD area, including the Station Southside precinct. The UDB will provide principles to guide the future design of new buildings, open space, movement and community infrastructure.

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

VPA Fast Track Program

The Ballarat Station Southside Precinct 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 Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) prior to VPA finalising the amendment for the Minister for Planning’s consideration.

Background information

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.

Precinct boundary of the Ballarat Station

Boundary of the Ballarat Station Southside Precinct

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.

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.

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.

The Victorian Planning Authority (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.

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 Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) and Council are working in partnership with VicTrack to prepare the master plan.

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.

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.

Project information

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Community feedback

The Victorian Planning Authority (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.

The Victorian Planning Authority (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 involved key stakeholders and the broader Ballarat community and sought 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.

Consultation was open from 18 January – 22 February 2021. Keep an eye out for our summary report so you can read what people told us.

Next steps

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 Victorian Planning Authority (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 on the SAC, refer to https://vpa.vic.gov.au/fast-track-projects/.

Supporting Documentation

Ballarat Station Southside Precinct Master Plan - Postcard - January 2021
Ballarat Station Southside Precinct Master Plan - Postcard - January 2021 PDF  Version
Ballarat Station Southside Precinct Master Plan - Poster - January 2021
Ballarat Station Southside Precinct Master Plan - Poster - January 2021 PDF  Version
Ballarat Station Southside Precinct Master Plan - Phase 1 Community Engagement Report - June 2021
Ballarat Station Southside Precinct Master Plan - Phase 1 Community Engagement Report - June 2021 PDF  Version