GEELONG will need an extra 465,000 square metres of retail floor space within 20 years to support future population growth, according to a new council strategy.
At their meeting last week, the City of Greater Geelong council adopted the City of Greater Geelong Retail Strategy 2016 – 2036, which replaces the 2006 Retail Strategy.
The revised strategy takes into account the significant changes to the region, including population growth and changes in the retail sector.
Greater Geelong has 120 retail centres, enough for the existing population, but will need to grow in line with areas of population growth such as the Geelong CBD, the Bellarine, Lara, Armstrong Creek and the new northern and western Geelong growth areas.
The strategy supports expanding or redeveloping existing centres rather than building new centres.
It also acknowledges there may be areas needing new centres where demand is large enough, as long as there is no impact on existing retail and it provides a net community benefit.
New developments and places that encourage people to spend time or have an experience are encouraged, which will help see new and existing centres thrive as the nature of retailing and shopping patterns continue to change over time.
The strategy also identifies the need to prepare master plans for a number of retail centres across Greater Geelong, including Belmont, Waurn Ponds, Separation Street, Pakington Street and Shannon Avenue. These will help identify growth
opportunities in these areas and look at ways the look and feel of these shopping areas could be further improved.
Retail trade is one of Geelong’s largest employment sectors, employing 10,836 people across the municipality.
“It’s important we manage retail expansion in conjunction with our growing population so that people have reasonable access to essential retail services wherever they live,” Geelong mayor Bruce Harwood said.
“We also need to consider challenges facing the retail sector with the growth of online shopping and the ways we can combat that to attract people to shop locally by providing attractive and unique offerings.”