Jacksons Hill site

Jacksons Hill master plan

Jacksons Hill is an integral part of the Sunbury community. The 32 hectare site holds significance to its traditional Aboriginal owners and its impressive redbrick buildings have historically been used as for a variety of purposes, including a mental health facility and more recently, a university.

In 2016, the Minister for Planning directed the VPA to work with Hume City Council to consult with key stakeholders and community members to prepare a master plan for the site.

The VPA has been developing this plan over the past 18 months, incorporating feedback from the community and key stakeholders wherever possible. Once complete, the master plan will provide a guiding vision for Jacksons Hill and will propose for the site to have distinct precincts with their own character and uses.

You can view the draft master plan which was consulted on in December 2017, and the Phase 1 community engagement report below:

Jacksons Hill draft master plan (November 2017)

Phase 1 community engagement report (June 2017)

Background Information

Jacksons Hill is a historical site in Sunbury, Victoria. The 32 hectare site holds significance to its traditional Aboriginal owners and its impressive redbrick buildings have historically been used as a mental health facility, and university. It currently hosts a variety of uses, including schools, residential properties, and community spaces such as a performing arts theatre and a radio station.

A master plan is a land-use plan that, when enforced through planning scheme amendments, reserves land for certain uses and includes guidelines for development. It includes direction on traffic movements, allocation of spaces, and provision of open space and key facilities.

The site is over 32 hectares in area.

Some of the buildings and landscaped areas of the site are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. The VPA will work with Heritage Victoria to ensure that the master plan respects the heritage values of the site.

A master plan will provide certainty and clarity to outline future development on the site.

Jacksons Hill is a 32-hectare site in Sunbury that includes many striking red brick and bluestone heritage buildings and picturesque landscaped gardens.

Victoria University has been in possession of the site since 1997 and ran it as a university campus. However, in 2009 Victorian University closed the campus, because student enrolments did not reach a level that would make the campus financially viable.

Victoria University is now divesting of the site, which will once again be opened up to the public. The site will be redeveloped for community, education and residential uses in accordance with the master plan once finalised.

Project Information

Once finalised, the master plan may be approved by the Minister for Planning and become a reference document under the Hume Planning Scheme. Specific planning controls for the site are likely to then be prepared and included in the Hume Planning Scheme.

The Jacksons Hill master planning process has identified a number of different uses the site could host in the future. These land uses include open space, education, housing and accommodation, spaces for the community to meet and create, food and beverage facilities and co-working spaces.

The plan proposes that buildings not exceed the heights of the heritage buildings that are already on the site.

Up to 200 dwellings are proposed for the site, which may include townhouses, low-scale apartments and traditional detached homes.

This draft master plan encourages existing buildings registered under the Victorian Heritage Register to be protected and adaptively reused, where possible. CHC architects produced the Jacksons Hill Adaptive Reuse Study (published on the VPA website), which presents strategies for how buildings on site can be adapted for new uses. A small number of non-heritage listed buildings on the site may be considered for removal, however any removal would still require Heritage Victoria approval.

Changes to the broader road network are beyond the scope of the Jacksons Hill master planning process. However, the draft master plan proposes improvements to the local road network within and connecting to the site.

The draft master plan proposes that Circular Drive be widened to accommodate two-way traffic, including the capacity for buses. The provision of bus services will subject to assessment of public transport needs by Public Transport Victoria in line with its network planning.

The planning for Jacksons Hill will encourage detached houses, townhouses and low-scale apartments to be developed in certain areas of the site. Some existing heritage buildings may be adapted for apartments.

During the initial consultation, many Sunbury residents expressed concerns that the site was rather isolated, and as a result they felt unsafe in the area. By having people living there, a sense of community will establish and safety will improve.

In order to attract private sector residential development at Jacksons Hill, it is important that the site has commercial potential. By allowing a small component of housing to be built at the site, developers will help contribute to the cost of new public open space, landscaping, roads and cycle paths.

Community Engagement

As part of the planning process, the VPA ran two phases of community engagement.

The VPA hosted a community ideas workshop at the Sunbury Bowls Club in February 2017, which was attended by 180 people. In total, 121 participants actively took part in the interactive map and a further 985 participants accessed the website to learn about the project and share their ideas on an interactive map.

In addition to the public consultation, the VPA also provided individual briefings on the project to 14 Sunbury community groups and eight stakeholder groups, such as Victoria University and Heritage Victoria.

The second phase of community engagement began in November 2017 when the VPA released a draft master plan to seek community input for two months. During this time, the VPA hosted two community information sessions, an interactive online map and targeted community meetings seeking feedback on the plan.

The Phase 1 community engagement report can be found here.

When creating this plan, the VPA aimed to balance suggestions by stakeholder groups and Sunbury community members. Stakeholders included Hume City Council, Victoria University, the Department of Education and Training, the Victorian School Building Authority and Heritage Victoria – to name a few.

This is a complex site and the VPA appreciates that Sunbury residents have a keen interest in the site’s future. While it was not feasible to incorporate all suggestions into the draft master plan, we are confident this plan will result in many positive outcomes, which address many key themes raised during the initial consultation.

Next Steps

There is no set timeline for development to commence at Jacksons Hill. Once finalised, the master plan may be approved by the Minister for Planning and become a reference document under the Hume Planning Scheme. Specific planning controls for the site are likely to then be prepared and included in the Hume Planning Scheme.

The VPA and Hume City Council will be sure to keep stakeholders and the community informed with any updates.

A master plan is a land-use plan that, when enforced through planning scheme amendments, reserves land for certain uses (ie: retail) and includes guidelines for development.

Applications for specific buildings – such as exhibition centres, community halls, cafes and hotels – are separate to the master plan.

However, the VPA has been facilitating discussions with various government departments, such as the Department of Education and Training and Hume City Council, about opportunities to invest in the site.

In February 2015, Hume City Council endorsed a vision for the Sunbury Community, Arts and Cultural Precinct for an area to the east of Boilerhouse Road at Jacksons Hill. The VPA appreciates that a lot of valuable work has been already done by Council, stakeholders and community members to develop this vision. The master planning process for Jacksons Hill will incorporate this work completed to date.

Supporting Documentation

Jacksons Hill - Adaptive Re-use Study (CHC) - PART 1 - December 2017
PDF  Version
Jacksons Hill - Adaptive Re-use Study (CHC) - PART 2 - December 2017
PDF  Version
Jacksons Hill - Adaptive Re-use Study (CHC) - PART 3 - December 2017
PDF  Version
Jacksons Hill - Adaptive Re-use Study (CHC) - PART 4 - December 2017
PDF  Version
Jacksons Hill Community Brochure - November 2017
PDF  Version
Community Ideas Workshop - Jacksons Hill master plan presentation (VPA) - February 2017
PDF  Version
Community Ideas Workshop - Jacksons Hill Heritage presentation (CHC) - February 2017
PDF  Version
Jacksons Hill Master Planning (Victoria University) - February 2017
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Jacksons Hill draft master plan - community information session presentation (VPA) - December 2017
PDF  Version
Jacksons Hill draft master plan - November 2017
PDF  Version
Jacksons Hill Master Plan - Phase 1 community engagement report
PDF  Version DOCX  Version
Jacksons Hill Master Plan - Phase 1 Engagement Snapshot
PDF  Version