One of the strongest messages from the community has been around protecting the unique character of the market, so Council commissioned specialist consultants to complete the Preston Market Quarter Identity Study
. This technical report identified the tangible, and intangible elements that are required to maintain the unique identity and character of Preston Market.
The Preston Market Precinct Engagement Report
summarises the most recent phase of community engagement, which marked the completion of an extensive four phase community engagement process. The engagement has been valuable for understanding insights from community groups, residents and businesses.
The State Government’s Victorian Planning Authority is currently preparing new planning controls for the precinct. They have advised that both the Identity Study and community engagement report will be considered, alongside a raft of other studies and reports.
This work has also directly informed Darebin Council’s decision on 19 August where it called for the State Government and developer to make sure the planning controls that are in development, as well as any management arrangements achieve the local community’s expectations around how the market precinct should evolve into the future, while staying true to its multicultural and working class roots.
Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said that the community engagement involved almost 2000 participants and included interviews, pop ups, deliberative urban design workshops, online engagement and meetings with key groups such as traders and local community groups.
“This was all about putting people at the heart of the planning process and ensuring that we were able to involve our community in a meaningful way, in the future of Preston Market. The engagement program was, in its depth and scope, the largest effort of its type in the Council’s history of planning projects. While there are a range of views, strong themes emerged from the engagement,” Cr Rennie said.
She said the local community loves Preston Market and has high expectations that Darebin will work to safeguard the market’s identity as welcoming, inclusive and affordable into the future.
“We all love the market and want the new community around it to be diverse, sustainable, connected and welcoming,” Cr Rennie said.
The findings of the Preston Market Quarter Identity Study
indicate that the market’s community appeal and unique character is significantly dependent on the diverse multicultural traders, the wide range of affordable goods, the neighbourhood of covered streets, intersections, stalls, sheds and small shops, and the wide walkways that act as public space.
The Preston Market Precinct Engagement Report
found that for a number of issues there was a high level of consensus among members of the community around the future direction of the precinct. These were:
Maintaining the character of the market
Creating new green, open spaces
Making the precinct pedestrian-centred
Embedding principles of sustainability across the site
The engagement also highlighted where community members have a variety of views, including building heights. The most consistent concern was in relation to overshadowing that may be caused by buildings.
In line with these findings, and the findings of previous phases of engagement, Council has endorsed key objectives around planning for the future of the site and it will now ask the state government and developer to incorporate these into planning controls, design and management plans. These are:
That the market retains its unique feel of covered streets, intersections, sheds, stalls and small shops that create a place of welcome, exchange and diversity.
The vibrant mix of traders, particularly those from diverse backgrounds, are supported before, during and after redevelopment to keep the market accessible, affordable
The surrounding precinct is developed to feature strong sustainability principles, showcase excellence in design and improve the look, feel and safety of the area.
The value that is created through the redevelopment is shared with the wider community through the creation of community spaces, affordable housing, social programs
and facilities and employment opportunities.
Over the coming weeks before the State Government’s Victorian Planning Authority releases their Draft Framework Plan expected in September, Council will seek support from the State Government and developer to achieve the best possible outcome for businesses, traders, workers, residents, and members of the community who rely on Preston Market.
To find out more about the Preston Market Precinct, please visit www.yoursaydarebin.com.au/PrestonMarket
22 August 2019