What next for Watsonia Town Square?

Thank you for your feedback on the preferred design for Watsonia Town Square. Stage 3 consultation on the preferred design is now closed.

We are now looking at the data and updating the designs to reflect what you told us. In the meantime, site investigation works will be taking place in the area until November 2022. We expect the impact on the community to be minimal.

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About the project

As part of the North East Link Project, $5.5 million in State Government funding has been allocated to design and construct a Town Square in the heart of the Watsonia Shopping Centre.

In 2014 we worked with the local community and stakeholders to create the Picture Watsonia Vision, which described the community’s aspirations for the centre over the next 35 years and detailed several opportunities including the creation of an active and vibrant town square.

This was further supported by the development of the Watsonia Neighbourhood Concept Plan in 2019, a partnership between Council and the State Government to respond to the impacts and opportunities associated with the North East Link Project.

We know that Watsonia will be significantly impacted over the next few years, but with all the planned changes and this significant investment, we are excited by the opportunity to create an even better place for people to shop and enjoy.

Now that we have secured funding to help achieve the community’s aspirations, it’s time to continue planning for the Watsonia Town Square.

View the analysis report which was developed to detail the stages of the project through to concept designs options for the site.


Engagement stages

Three opportunities were provided for you to get involved.

We have formed a Community Reference Group to guide the project through the design process so far. This group is comprised of key stakeholders, including residents, traders, visitors and community groups.

You can influence the look and function of the Watsonia Town Square by providing feedback on four concept design options. You were also invited to an online information session where the options were presented, and your questions were answered.

The feedback we received during the consultation period was used to generate a preferred design option, inclusive of the features that are most loved by the community.

Have you say on Watsonia Town Square by providing feedback on a preferred design.

The feedback we received during this stage of consultation is being assessed and will be used to finalise the preferred design option, inclusive of the features that are most loved by the community.

Design principles

Guiding principles

The initial stage of consultation with the community reference group has led to the formation of design principles which will guide the development of several concept design options.

  • Traffic and Parking

    Efficient and integrated traffic treatments and parking that reinforces Watsonia's place value.

  • Access

    Ensure pedestrian and cyclist priority, safety and inclusive accessibility and experience for users of all abilities.

  • Economic Growth

    Promote economic growth using unique and innovative designs that encourage increased footfall and patronage of local businesses.

  • Local Identity

    Create a civic and cultural heart that is welcoming and memorable. Highlight and embrace existing sites, strengths and attractions.

  • Amenities

    Provide better and safer amenities that are respected and valued by the community.

  • Flexible Spaces

    Explore opportunities to create additional public spaces and flexible and multi-use areas. Potential integration of monopoles.

  • Community

    Encourage community congregation and activity through further development of Watsonia's local identity and creating innovative spaces.

  • Sustainability

    Enhance and protect surrounding ecology with sustainable practices and greening.

* Images are for illustrative purposes only and are not the property of Banyule Council.

Community Reference Group

Community Reference Group

An Expression of Interest process was carried out to recruit community members for the Watsonia Town Square Community Reference Group (WTSCRG).

Fifteen places have been filled, representing a broad cross section of the community.

Membership categories include:

  • Watsonia Traders Association
  • Watsonia RSL
  • Watsonia business person
  • Yarra Plenty Regional Library Service
  • Watsonia Neighbourhood House
  • Local church
  • Local interest group
  • Local property owner
  • Local resident
  • Local young person (under 25 years of age)

The Community Reference Group will meet 4 – 6 times during the project and meetings will be chaired by Cr. Mark Di Pasquale.


Frequently asked questions

The location for the square will be in the vicinity of the library and Watsonia Road, Morwell Avenue and Ibbotson Street intersection.

Consultation is currently open and is scheduled to close on 12 July 2022. Please follow the project page to receive ongoing updates regarding future stages

GroupGSA is an Australian based company that has extensive experience in urban design and landscape architecture and have delivered a range of similar streetscape and town square projects throughout Australia.

Unfortunately running the transmission lines underground is not feasible. The cables would need to be buried in large diameter conduits which would exceed the easement limits. The conduits would require significant excavation between the new towers in Frensham Reserve and the towers near the Greenwood Drive/ Morwell Avenue intersection. Furthermore the excavation works would cut through the North East Link project along Greensborough Road, Watsonia Train station and impact on multiple underground services around the town square precinct. Even if Council was to proceed with this option, it’s cost prohibitive and the permit application process would take years with approval unlikely.

We are working closely with AusNet Services to ensure that the design options meet their requirements. While general conclusions haven’t established a relationship between magnetic fields and adverse health effects, we will continue to monitor the available guidance. Current guidance can be found on the Arpansa website or the AusNet Services website

Yes, Council has committed funding to design the toilets as part of the design phase of the project. The construction of the toilets will also need to be funded by Council and considered as part of Council’s 2022/23 budget process.

View the concept design.

Council has identified several opportunities to continue to advocate to the State Government to maximise the town square features and activate the area. Council has developed the Investment and Activation Fund proposal in partnership with the Watsonia Traders’ Association (refer to the attachment in the document library). This proposal is one of Council’s advocacy priorities and has been presented to the local member, the Hon Colin Brooks MP at a meeting with the Watsonia Traders’ Association.

Features considered include interactive play elements, an example of which can be found in the Macleod Village Green Playground.

Council holds ownership of the majority of land within the Watsonia Town Square Project footprint. The area adjacent the Watsonia Library and Station currently occupied by carpark and Lattice towers in not owned by Council. Council is currently undertaking negotiations with the property owner regarding the use of the land. If these negotiations are unfavourable, the design may need to be amended to exclude this land.

Check this page regularly to be kept up to date. You can also click on the follow button at the top of the project page to receive update notifications.