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Council adopts streetscape plan for Castlemaine

Castlemaine Streetscape Plan - Artists impression of a plaza on Mostyn Street.

Council has adopted a streetscape plan and design standards to improve the town centre in Castlemaine.

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Mount Alexander Shire Council has adopted a streetscape plan and design standards for Castlemaine to guide the development of a more attractive and functional commercial centre while working with the historical features of the picturesque 19th century town.

The high-level plan and design standards will guide Council and the community in the strategic management, maintenance and improvement of the streets and public spaces in the central district of this historically and socially significant town.

“The streetscape plan will guide a number of improvements including safer street crossings, more street trees and enhancements to public spaces,” said Cr Christine Henderson, Mayor of Mount Alexander Shire.

“The design standards provide detail for streetscape elements such as street furniture, paving materials and crossovers. They also aim to respect the historic features of the town and improve amenity and access across the town centre,” she said.

The design principles were shaped by early feedback from community members on what they loved about the town as well as opportunities for improvement.

Council worked with a team of landscape architects, urban designers and town planners to develop the plans and designs based on the guiding principles and feedback received from several rounds of consultation.

The final plan and design standards have been developed in response to feedback and input provided by the community, Councillors and a Community Reference Group.

“The plans were revised along the way based on community aspirations for a greener, more creative and accessible town centre, and to minimise concerns about a loss of parking spaces and changes to traffic management.”

They were also revised to improve accessibility for people of all ages and abilities, based on an independent review of accessibility.

The high-level plan includes short term recommendations Council can implement straight away, such as the placement of new seats and bike hoops. It also includes larger projects that can be planned and budgeted over a number of years such as boulevard street tree planting on Barker and Forest Streets.

Further consultation will be undertaken regarding the detailed designs for major projects before any works commence. For example consultation with local businesses has begun as part of the early stage of work to redesign Frederick Street.

“The streets in the town centre are the pulse of Castlemaine,” said Cr Christine Henderson, Mayor of Mount Alexander Shire.

“They are where people do their shopping, go about their daily routines and meet up with friends. They are also an important access point to local businesses, our cultural precinct and the visitor information centre,” she said.

“We look forward to seeing his plan being rolled out over time, to bring out the best in Castlemaine and the features that define the historic town as a creative and sustainable centre.”

Castlemaine Streetscape Plan – at a glance

The Castlemaine Streetscape Plan and Design Standards aim to create a more attractive and functional town centre while preserving the historical features of the 19th century town.

The high level plan provides strategic direction to improving pedestrian connections, safety and access, street tree planting and public spaces around the town.

The plan aims to leverage off features like the easily walkable town grid, wide streets and verandahs, magnificent street trees and historic features like deep stone channels to strengthen the character and amenity of the precinct.

It also aims to improve the tree canopy, grandeur and access along the main streets and pedestrian routes, update tired street furniture, restore heritage features like stone kerbs and channels, and maintain a consistent approach to garden edging and kerb treatments.

The design standards provide details for streetscape elements such as plantings, street furniture, paving materials, crossovers and bins. They are guided by fixtures that have long been part of the Castlemaine streetscape like cast iron lamp posts and bench seats.

Guiding principles

The plan was developed based on the following principles:

  • Reference the history of Castlemaine
  • Green Castlemaine
  • Improve pedestrian and bicycle connectivity
  • Apply universal design principles
  • Expand the public realm
  • Keep it quirky
  • Have fun with temporary streetscape elements.

The streetscape plan focuses on five main areas:

  • Heritage management– upgrade streetscape and restore kerbs and stone channels with materials that don’t detract from the building facades and heritage architecture
  • Pedestrian and bicycle connectivity and safety – improve key crossing areas and pedestrian flow
  • Landscape – protecting street trees and providing more shade
  • Street furniture – upgrading streetscape furnishings to create a consistent palette
  • Placemaking and orientation – identify locations suitable for improvements and expansion of the public realm.

Streetscape framework

The framework defines the types of streets to help identify where improvements can be made.

  • Town Centre Streets – support pedestrians and retail activity.
  • Boulevard Streets – Create two grand boulevards with good pedestrian access
  • Neighbourhood Streets – Maintain the country town character in residential streets
  • Frederick Street and Mechanics Lane – Create a shared thoroughfare that prioritises pedestrian and bike movements, and provides a temporary space for events.

Key projects

Frederick Street and Mechanics Street
Create a shared street on Frederick and Mechanics Lane that allows access for vehicles while prioritising the safety of pedestrians and cyclists along the thoroughfare, with the potential to temporarily close the street for community events.

Mostyn Street Plaza
Create a shared plaza on Mostyn Street to slow traffic, allow access for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists and create a special feature in the town centre with street trees and historic lighting to highlight the historic Market Building.

Barker Street
Recognise Barker Street as a retail street with significant pedestrian activity. Investigate possibilities to change traffic conditions to expand tree planted medians and provide adequate refuges for pedestrians and cyclists in the middle of the road, in order to create a tree-lined boulevard.

Street trees
Maintain and protect mature trees and fill gaps in the tree canopy to provide more shade and reduce emphasis on parking to enhance the streetscape.

Walking and cycling
Increase walking and cycling in the town centre by creating pedestrian thoroughfares, and relocating cycling routes in wider, quieter streets to provide safer passage through town.

Image: The plan includes a vision for a greener town centre.

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