"> Joseph Road Precinct – UPco

Joseph Road Precinct, Footscray

Client: Adelaide Banner Pty Ltd, Hamton Property Group
Project type: Urban renewal
Stakeholders: City of Maribyrnong, Department of Planning and Community Development, VicRoads, Department of Transport, Priority Development Panel, local and wider community

Image courtesy of City of Maribyrnong

The project
Just five kilometres west of the CBD sits Footscray: a suburb with rich industrial history. Originally home to a booming quarry industry, Footscray evolved into a suburb with over 200 factories.

Fast forward to 2002, and Footscray was identified by the Victorian Government as a future Principal Activity Centre – that is, a place that would provide a suburban focal point for services, employment, housing and more. With this in mind, the City of Maribyrnong set out to transform the once-industrial Joseph Road Precinct into a vibrant mixed-use area that would deliver the type of amenity residents would be seeking.

UPco was engaged to provide strategic and statutory planning advice for Joseph Road Precinct, which would in turn become the basis of a Structure Plan and Urban Design Framework. The project was led by the award-winning architect practice, peckvonhartel, in collaboration with Council.

The challenge

Sprawled across 17 hectares of land between the Maribyrnong River and the railway line, the Joseph Road Precinct was vast – and its reinvention would be no small undertaking, requiring a raft of technical input, and a detailed understanding of the site and its history.

As part of a large project team, UPco worked on a range of complex issues at a State, local and client level. Overall considerations ranged from built form and land use, to infrastructure and social planning, as well as the economy and the environment. Planning scheme amendments of this scale are usually complex – however, the rezoning and redevelopment of Joseph Road Precinct was necessary for Footscray to break away from its strong industrial history and associated stigma.

To help move matters along, the strategic work by UPco and peckvonhartel was reviewed by the Priority Development Panel (PDP), which is now known as the Priority Projects Standing Advisory Committee. The PDP helped identify ways to speed up the planning process – and importantly, provided their own endorsement.

The outcome

The PDP’s thumbs up helped to ensure that the Minister for Planning applied the Priority Development Zone provisions to the precinct, which would help enormously for any future planning permit applications in the area.

The Joseph Road Framework Plan and the Footscray Structure Plan were finalised in 2015, when Planning Scheme Amendment C125 was approved. Joseph Road Precinct is now a flourishing mixed-use precinct, as envisaged in the early 2000s. There’s a shopping precinct, bars and dining, recreation and lifestyle facilities, and plenty of greenery and open space – all of which now render Footscray a highly liveable inner-city suburb.