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Survey will map out the future of your local shopping centre

WHETHER it’s tiny corner stores where you go for bread and milk, or shopping centres, like Helensburgh, Corrimal, Woonona, Bulli or Thirroul, Wollongong City Council wants to get a better idea of how people use these places, what works, and what can be improved into the future.

Council’s director of planning Linda Davis said local shops are important places — where we go to do business, buy groceries, socialise and build community. Ms Davis said Council wants to get a better idea of how people use these places, what works, and what can be improved into the future.

“Council is working on developing long-term plans to improve our local shopping areas and we want to hear from the people who use these spaces regularly,” she said.

This community survey is one important piece of the puzzle that will inform our Retail and Business Centres Study. This study will create a picture of how these areas are performing, if they are meeting the current needs of our community, and how we want to see these places improved in the future.

“By understanding how our local shops, town and village centres work, we’ll be able to make long-term changes to planning controls to ensure that these places meet the future needs of our community.”

Council is calling on community feedback on the Our Wollongong website, where you can share your thoughts on the local shopping areas that matter to you. When you share your feedback, you’ll go in the draw to win one of six $50 VISA gift cards.

The final Retail and Business Centre Study will include recommendations to changes that can be made to the Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and Development Control Plan (DCP).

“We’re still very much in the early stages of this project and our aim for now is to start gathering information about how our community uses these places,” Ms Davis said.

“It’s really important that we hear from the people who use these spaces and our local businesses, and we’ll be organising a number of targeted engagement opportunities early next year.

“For now, I encourage everyone to think about the local shops, town and village centres you visit regularly and share your thoughts on these spaces. This is a big study that will look at a broad target area, so we will benefit from local knowledge and grassroots information from those who have ideas on what they’d like to see into the future.”

For more information or to share feedback, visit the Our Wollongong website. Stage 1 of the Retail and Business Centre Study engagement closes November 17 2021.

Hard copy surveys, FAQs and reply-paid envelopes will be available at all Wollongong City Libraries from today (November 1, 2021).

What’s a LEP and DCP?

Local Environmental Plans (LEPs) guide planning decisions for local government areas. They do this through zoning and development controls, which provide a framework for the way land can be used. LEPs are the main planning tool we use to shape the future of communities and ensure local development is done appropriately.

A Development Control Plan (DCP) is prepared and adopted by Councils and provides detailed planning and design guidelines to support the planning controls in the Local Environmental Plan (LEP). A DCP describes how the land will be used and may relate to a particular place (e.g. Wollongong City Centre) or to a particular topic (e.g. flooding or heritage).


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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.

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