Jacksons Hill Master Plan

Jacksons Hill draft master plan

The VPA has created a draft master plan for the former Victoria University campus at Jacksons Hill, Sunbury.

The draft master plan has been developed throughout 2017 and is based on extensive community and stakeholder consultation. The Phase 1 community engagement report and snapshot are available to view.

The draft master plan includes:

  • A guiding vision and series of place visions
  • 5 principles
  • 6 key moves
  • directions and strategies
  • catalyst projects for the site
  • key actions

You can download the draft master plan here.

Interactive feedback map

The VPA used an interactive map to gather information during Phase 1 community engagement in February and March 2017, and again in Phase 2 consultation.

The consultation map is now closed, but you can view the pins previously dropped on the map here.

Feedback on the draft master plan

Feedback on the draft master plan is now closed. The VPA is working through responses and will publish and engagement report in the coming months.

Background Information

Victoria University is the current owner of the site.

We have received a number of questions about Victoria University’s decision to close the Sunbury Campus. The VPA asked Victoria University to explain its decision to close the campus and to outline their plans for delivering education into the future.

You can read Victoria University’s response here.

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.

Victoria University is the current owner of Jacksons Hill, which it has been in possession of since 1997 and operated as a university campus. However, in 2009 VU closed the campus, because student enrolments did not reach a level that would make the campus financially viable.

Victoria University would now like to divest of this site. In order for Victoria University to sell the site, some of the land needs to be rezoned and the university requires the Victorian Government’s permission. Without a plan, this striking heritage complex risks falling into disrepair.

Project Information

This is a draft land-use plan, which includes proposals for new uses and development guidelines. The plan aims to balance the suggestions of numerous stakeholders and community members and considers ecological and geographic constraints and heritage features of the site.

Community members are now invited to provide feedback on the draft plan, which the VPA will consider at is prepares the final plan to be submitted to the Minister for Planning.

This plan does not include proposed statutory Amendments to the Hume Planning Scheme. If the Minister for Planning chooses to adopt the final master plan for Jacksons Hill, he might then direct the VPA or DELWP to prepare statutory Amendments to implement the plan.

The draft master plan proposes that the site should have nine distinct areas, which encourage different uses. These areas are:

  • Learn and Play – a place with plentiful open space, recreational facilities and education centres
  • The Landing – a residential precinct
  • The Gateway – a residential precinct
  • Culture and learning precinct – a place for educational buildings, exhibition centres, halls and recreational facilities
  • Jacksons Retreat – a residential precinct
  • Village Heart – a place for educational buildings, exhibition centres, offices, places of worship, nurseries and research centres
  • Main Street – a place for food and drink premises, medical centres, offices and research facilities
  • The Hub – a place with a mix of uses, including function centres, medical offices, educational facilities, hotels and housing
  • The Loft – a place with food and drink premises, function centres, market gardens, residential hotels and taverns.

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

The draft master plan proposes allowing up to 200 dwellings at the site, which may include townhouses, low-scale apartments and traditional detached homes.

Community Engagement

On 28 February 2017, the VPA hosted a community ideas workshop about the site, which was attended by 180 people. This event also launched a month-long online interactive ideas map, which allowed users to submit their ‘likes’, ‘issues’, ‘ideas’ and ‘stories’. From March to April 2017, written submissions were also accepted by the VPA project team.

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 read what others were saying.

In addition to the overarching 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.

Feedback during the consultation period generally aligned with the following themes. This is how the VPA addressed community proposals for the area.

  1. Heritage values: This plan proposes that existing buildings are protected and adaptively reused. The plan proposes that developers create an interpretation strategy that includes both Aboriginal and post-contact heritage.
  2. Access and movement: The plan proposes to widen circular drive to enable two-way traffic, connect The Heights to Boilerhouse Road and provide pedestrian and bike paths throughout.
  3. Open space and landscape: This draft plan proposes that a ‘Village Green’ of open space is developed at the centre of the site and a network of green paths and attractive landscaping is incorporated throughout the site. Existing trees must be retained and considered in the design of the open space.
  4. Mix of uses: One of the key proposals for this site is a ‘culture and learning precinct’ – a place for educational buildings, exhibition centres, halls and recreational facilities.
  5. Maintenance and security: By allowing for residential development, the site will have passive surveillance and security will be greatly improved.

You can read the details of Phase 1 community consultation 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.

Process

The draft master plan encourages some land to be designated for commercial uses. However, it is up to developers to undertake detailed market analysis of proposals for the site.

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.

Read more about heritage management on page 53 of the draft master plan.

This draft master plan identifies potentially suitable land uses for different areas of the site. The draft master plan’s directions and strategies also provide guidance on how uses not encouraged in the draft master plan may be considered. Following approval by the Minister for Planning, amendments may be made to the Hume Planning Scheme to implement the master plan.

Traffic & Parking

Currently, The Heights is a cul-de-sac, forcing cars to turn back and exit the same way they came in. By connecting this road to Boilerhouse Road, the plan aims to establish a through road that facilitates the flow of traffic.

Circular Drive will remain as the primary street to accommodate most of the traffic. The proposed road connecting The Heights to Boilerhouse Road will be designed to support slow-speed traffic only.

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

The draft master plan requires that school access to existing car parking on the site is retained. Developers of the site will be required to prepare parking and transport plans with planning applications.

Access to the site

The draft master plan does not propose that new roads be built to create access the western portion of the site, however it does propose new walking paths from Norman Avenue and York Place.

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 draft master plan proposes that the main entry points to the site are the intersections of Circular Drive with Outlook Drive and The Avenue. An additional entry has also been proposed at the connection from The Heights to Boilerhouse Road. Multiple additional pedestrian entries have been proposed at suitable locations across the site.

 Read more about entry points to the site on page 14 of the draft master plan.

Housing

The draft master plan encourages detached houses, townhouses and low-scale apartments to be developed in certain areas of Jacksons Hill. Some existing heritage buildings may be adapted for apartments.

 Read more about guidelines for built form on page 51 of the draft master plan.

Developers of the precinct will determine stages of development.

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 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.

Education

The draft master plan identifies Circular Drive as the primary street within Jacksons Hill. This street is expected to be the main access point for the proposed secondary school.

Widening of Circular Drive to allow for 2-way traffic will ensure that the existing road network around the proposed secondary school site can support school-related vehicle movements. The existing road network in the vicinity of Jackson’s Hill was able to accommodate vehicular movements associated with its former use as a university campus.

The VPA put this question to the Department of Education and Training and was provided the following response:

The Department of Education and Training is not in a position to provide advice on when a particular proposed government school will be acquired and/or when schools are likely to be built prior to Budget announcements that indicate the Victorian Government’s approval to proceed with the acquisition/construction.

In planning for this and other new schools across Victoria, DET will draw on up-to-date information on school enrolments and the capacity of existing schools. This supplements the demographic modelling and analysis each year to identify areas of greatest need for new schools.

The Department also seeks input from planning authorities, local councils and in some cases landowners and developers, to ensure that the findings from DET’s demographic modelling are consistent with what is being experienced on the ground, and that identified sites are ready for development as a school. All this occurs before a site is included in a business case for consideration by the Victorian Government as part of the annual State budget process for land acquisition, design and finally construction.

The VPA put this question to Victoria University and was provided the following response:

The university will continue to support a number of community groups at the site via previous financial and/or land transfer commitments to local government and education providers.

However, VU will not provide any future vocational educational provision directly within the vacant Jacksons Hill site, as the university is committed to disposing of this land. The proceeds from the disposal of the former Sunbury campus will be reinvested in tertiary education at the Sunshine campus. This approach aligns with Victoria University’s commitment to the Reshaping the West Education Strategy. The deployment of these resources at the Sunshine campus will ensure that the university’s assets are maximised to provide an optimal experience at locations where student prefer to study, in line with legislative requirements.

Timing

There is no set timeline for the development of Jacksons Hill. After this stage of community and stakeholder consultation, the VPA will review all feedback and develop the final master plan, which will be submitted to the Minister for Planning for consideration and approval. If the plan is approved, planning scheme amendments will then need to be prepared to implement the master plan. The future use and development of land within the master plan area would be subject to these planning controls.

Future Changes

The VPA acknowledges that some people in the community requested that the master plan for Jacksons Hill not allow for residential housing.

While we acknowledge this feedback, the VPA believes that having housing at the site will offer many positive benefits, such as creating a vibrant, bustling area for people.

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, residents will provide passive surveillance and create a warm, neighbourly environment.

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

This will mean that the majority of the space in the site can be reserved for uses the community members envisioned, including an arts area, food and drink premises, function centres and market gardens.

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.

There is no set timeline for the development of Jacksons Hill. After this stage of community consultation, the VPA will review all feedback and create the final master plan, to be submitted to the Minister for Planning.

If the Minister approves this plan, planning scheme amendments to enforce the plan would need to be created before development can occur.

If the final master plan is approved by the Minister for Planning and subsequently implemented through a planning scheme amendment, the planning controls will be binding on any current or future owner of the site. The only way to change the planning controls will be through a new planning scheme amendment and associated consultation. Any request for an amendment requires approval from the Minister in order to proceed through an authorisation process.

The uses proposed in the draft plan are unlikely to generate more traffic than when the site operated as a university. The draft plan proposes to widen parts of Circular Drive to accommodate two-way traffic. A new link is proposed to connect The Heights to Boilerhouse Road.

How will the community and local businesses be affected?

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
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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
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Jacksons Hill Master Plan - Phase 1 community engagement report
PDF  Version DOCX  Version
Jacksons Hill Master Plan - Phase 1 Engagement Snapshot
PDF  Version