About the Master Plan

Community engagement is now closed

Comments from the community, industry, and other key stakeholders received during Stage 4 of community engagement are now being used to shape the final master plan and revised draft Curtin Precinct Code.

To be kept informed about Curtin Group Centre Master Plan email Curtin@act.gov.au

Master plan study area

Curtin is about 3 kilometres north of the Woden town centre and 8 kilometres south-west of Canberra's city centre. The suburbs of Lyons and Phillip are to the south of the centre, and Hughes and Deakin to the east. The centre is the closest group centre for residents in Yarralumla, although the two suburbs are separated by Cotter Road, a busy arterial road.

The study area is bounded by the open space corridor to the west, Carruthers Street to the south, Theodore Street to the east and community facilities and land zoned medium-density residential along Carruthers Street to the north.

The master plan's study area includes the central commercial area (ie retail core), land zoned for commercial and community use, medium density residential zones, and urban open spaces. While the master plan focuses on the group centre, it also considers how to improve the connections between the adjacent residential areas and the Carruthers Street and Yarra Glen intersection to the east of the centre.

The Curtin Group Centre master plan

The ACT Government is finalising the master plan for the Curtin Group Centre. The master plan draws on the centre's existing strengths and outlines a vision, planning principles and strategies to guide growth and development in the centre. It identifies what is important about the centre and how its environmental, social and economic sustainability can be enhanced. The master plan is being finalised with input from the community and stakeholders, including traders and lessees, and ACT Government Directorates.

Community engagement is an important part of the master plan process. People who live or work in or near the centre, or who use the area, have valuable knowledge to contribute to the planning process. Community involvement is essential in helping develop a successful and achievable master plan.


Revisions to the draft master plan

Concept Curtin Precinct Map and Code

A 'Concept Curtin Precinct Map and Code' has been prepared and is provided to show how the proposed changes to the existing Curtin Precinct Code (within the Territory Plan) would look as recommended by the revised Curtin Group Centre Draft Master Plan. As a concept document, it indicates how the existing 'Rules' and 'Criteria' within the code would change to reflect the changes to draft master plan.

The Territory Plan is the key ACT statutory planning document that provides the policy framework for the administration of land use and planning. It specifies what can and cannot happen on each block of land. Potential changes and inclusions in the Territory Plan take the form of a revised precinct code for Curtin.

Note that this document is a concept only and is provided for information only. Therefore it does not form part of the Territory Plan, nor does it constitute a draft variation to the Territory Plan at this stage.

Spatial Framework

The Spatial Framework Plan sets out how the broad structure of the centre could be arranged in the long term, illustrating how land use, public domain and connections could work together.

Previous Spatial Framework

The Spatial Framework identified potential development sites, main pedestrian and cycle routes, entry markers, parking areas and an improved entry to Curtin.

Revised Spatial Framework

The revised Spatial Framework Plan retains most of the key features from the draft master plan, such as the main pedestrian and cycle routes, entry markers and an improved entry to Curtin.

The key changes include a new development area in the southern and western areas of the retail core and amended locations for surface parking areas.

Draft Master Plan Spatial Framework Proposed Master Plan Spatial Framework

Pedestrian and Cycle Connections

The pedestrian and cycle connections are proposed to be improved around the retail core area and to the wider network. Improved connections are identified between the group centre, suburban areas, future rapid public transport on Yarra Glen and to the Woden town centre.

Previous Pedestrian and Cycle Routes

The draft master plan identified where the gaps in the cycle network in and around the centre are and how they could connect to the immediate pedestrian and cycle networks. A main east-west route is identified from the west to the east and through the centre, connection the suburbs to the centre and to the potential future rapid public transport stop on Yarra Glen.

Revised Pedestrian and Cycle Routes

The revised pedestrian and cycle route plan has been refined and expanded. The revised routes consider the broader existing shared path network towards Woden town centre and east to Hughes and Deakin. The revised routes identify a new role for Strangways Street as a more pedestrian and cycle focused street.

Previous Pedestrian and Cycle Routes Revised Pedestrian and Cycle Routes

Building Height

Building height is only one consideration of how buildings are designed and contribute to a place. In the Curtin group centre it is important that new buildings respond to their local context and reflect the local character, including the future desired character.

Previous Building Height

The draft master plan proposed two storeys in the central core area and up to six storeys for the Statesman Hotel site. Four storeys was proposed at the western edge of the central courtyard and a mix of four and six storey development was proposed at the periphery of the centre.

Revised Building Height

The design principles in the existing draft master plan have been revised to provide clear guidance for building design and height in the retail core area, particularly with the introduction of new planning controls around the central courtyard.

The revised building height diagram indicates a single storey building height limit to the edges of the existing central courtyard and includes a new provision for a 'solar fence' to protect the central courtyard from excessive overshadowing, and bulk and scale of new buildings. Outside of the single storey building height limit, the remainder of the retail core area is proposed up to nine metres (two storeys), with the ability for new buildings to be considered up to a maximum 18 metres (up to five storeys) where they meet a set of criteria. This will provide an upper building height limit that doesn't currently exist for the centre within the existing Territory Plan.

The proposed criteria is:

Buildings may be considered above two storeys and to a maximum of 18 metres (up to five storeys), where they achieve the following:

  1. Achieve a 'human scale' to the central courtyard by maintaining a single ground floor storey at the edges of the existing central courtyard and a minimum building setback of 3 metres above the ground floor level
  2. Maintain sunlight to the central courtyard by ensuring that buildings do not overshadow the central courtyard beyond the shadow cast by a notional 5 metre high wall (also known as a solar fence) measured from the ground level at the boundary adjoining the central courtyard.
  3. Buildings do not overshadow living spaces of adjacent dwellings
  4. Buildings are designed to reflect the local character of the group centre
  5. The development contributes to the mix of uses and/or housing diversity of Curtin.

A visual impact assessment is also proposed for new developments above two storeys in the retail core area. A visual impact assessment will provide analysis of views from key locations and potential impacts of a proposed development on to public spaces.

Building height controls in the southern end of the retail core area are proposed to align with the existing east-west water easement. This will allow redevelopment of the Statesman Hotel to be designed in a way that better responds to the existing physical constraints in the centre and will support the other objectives, such as active travel routes.

Previous Building Height Revised Building Height

Examples of the possible mix of uses and heights in the retail core area

Examples of the possible mix of uses and heights in the retail core area


The draft master plan included a range of strategies for car parking in the centre to improve safety and efficiency of spaces. A diagram was not included in the draft master plan.

Revised Parking and Traffic Circulation

The new parking diagram is combined with traffic circulation and proposes that parking in the southern portion of the centre will be provided in basement parking in the future, as part of redevelopment of the Statesman Hotel site.

Retention of existing surface parking is shown on the diagram at the eastern and western edges of the centre. These parking areas are proposed to be reorganised to provide additional car parking spaces.

New driveway access is not permitted from Carruthers and Theodore Streets. Short stay parking is proposed close to the shops with long term parking proposed at the edges of the centre.

On-street parking is proposed to be retained at the edges of the retail core area and on Martin Street.

Revised Parking and Traffic Circulation

Land Use Zones

The Land use zone diagrams indicate the draft master plan land use zoning and the revised land use zone diagram, which proposes two land use zone changes.

Previous Land Use Zones

Carruthers Street (Block 7 Section 63 Curtin, north of the service station) was proposed to be rezoned in the draft master plan. The existing block is currently split with two land use zones that allow for a range of uses, including residential development. It is proposed that the land use zone for this block is changed to PRZ1: Urban Open Space to confirm its existing role as an important pedestrian route and as part of the wider open space network.

Revised Land Use Zones

The revised Land Use Zone diagram retains the proposed changes to the Carruthers Street block (Block 7 Section 63 Curtin) to Urban Open Space.

The other proposed zone change is for the commercial land use zone to align with the water easement to better reflect the physical constraints in the centre for development. The proposed land use changes in the retail core area will also ensure that larger retail uses are focussed in the northern portion of the retail core area and closer to the existing central courtyard.

Previous Land Use Zones Revised Land Use Zones

Shadow Analysis

Courtyard Shadow Analysis

The images below represent a 3D model analysis of the existing central courtyard to assess the potential overshadowing impact cast by future developable sites. The images include the existing scenario and a future scenario assuming that future developable buildings are designed to the maximum allowable building heights as described in the revisions tab.

The overshadowing impact on the central courtyard is shown at the winter solstice (21 June) as this is when the sun is lowest in the sky and represents the 'worst case scenario' for solar access during the year. It is also the time of year that sunlight in the existing central courtyard is most desirable.

The future developable buildings shown in the 3D model are conceptual only and do not represent individual development proposals. Overshadowing is shown in blue to make it easy to identify the extent of the shadow cast.

Several assumptions have been made in preparation of the 3D model analysis. These include:

  • The existing post office building has been retained as the site is considered too small for redevelopment as a standalone building above the existing single storey. This is mainly due to the limited ability to provide basement parking for any additional uses on this site.
  • The building that contains the existing Red Brick Café has been retained as the site is also considered to be too small to accommodate basement parking. The building is also isolated from easy access for additional vehicles and servicing.

Shadow analysis at 9am (winter solstice)

Curtin central courtyard shadow analysis Curtin central courtyard shadow analysis

Shadow analysis at 10:30am (winter solstice)

Curtin central courtyard shadow analysis Curtin central courtyard shadow analysis

Shadow analysis at 12:00pm (winter solstice)

Curtin central courtyard shadow analysis Curtin central courtyard shadow analysis

Shadow analysis at 1:30pm (winter solstice)

Curtin central courtyard shadow analysis Curtin central courtyard shadow analysis

Shadow analysis at 3:00pm (winter solstice)

Curtin central courtyard shadow analysis Curtin central courtyard shadow analysis

Previous Engagement

Previous Community Engagement

Stage 1 community engagement

The first stage of community engagement for the Curtin Group Centre Master Plan introduced the master planning project, gained feedback on what needs to be addressed in the centre and outlined the process and timeframes.

Stage 2 community engagement

The second stage of community engagement which sought comment on the Curtin Group Centre Draft Master Plan concluded in February 2016. A large number of comments, survey response and emailed submissions were received during this period, providing valuable feedback about the draft master plan and the community's aspirations for the centre.

Approximately 160 people attended the 'Meet the Planners' sessions and we received 17 written submissions and 80 feedback forms about the key proposals in the draft master plan.

Key messages from the community included:

  • retain the village character in the centre, in particular the low-scale building heights around the central courtyard. There was a general view that tall buildings are out of character in the retail core area.
  • that parking availability is considered to be central to the centre's convenience and function
  • strong support for improvements to walking and cycling connections, and
  • strong support for improvements to open spaces, including the western open space.

Stage 3 community panels

The ACT Government established a community panel to discuss the development and redevelopment opportunities for the centre, particularly in relation to new development and redevelopment opportunities in the centre.

Three community panel meetings were held to discuss the development and redevelopment opportunities for the group centre. This process was designed to bring the developers and community together to look for shared outcomes. The panel format facilitated discussion on the future of the group centre with representation from the community, lessees, owners, young people, developers and government.

The panel meetings were framed around the master plan process, development proposals, infrastructure, things that make the area special to the community and business in the group centre.

At the third and final community panel meeting, revised master plan diagrams were presented by the ACT Government for consideration and discussion by panel members. The community panel generally supported the revisions, however building heights adjacent to the existing central courtyard remained contested.

In summary, the outcomes from the community panel included:

  • agreement to the Vision, Character Statement, Planning Principles and high level Strategies as outlined in the draft master plan;
  • design details of individual development proposals should be resolved through development approval processes;
  • support for the revised spatial framework, active travel, land use zones, parking and traffic diagrams;
  • mature trees in and around the retail core area should be retained as they contribute to the centre's character;
  • the next stage of community engagement to ensure that communication is clear about what is proposed to change from the draft master plan and include the reasons for that change;
  • finalisation of the master plan and the subsequent Territory Plan variation are to be undertaken as quickly as possible to ensure the centre can continue to operate; and
  • allowable building heights in the retail core area of the centre remained contested by panel members, particularly for the buildings surrounding the existing central courtyard.

A summary of each community panel meeting, including the panel outcomes report is listed below:

Community Panel #1 - Tuesday 25 July 2017

Community Panel #2 - Wednesday 16 August 2017

Community Panel #3 - Wednesday 8 November 2017