What next for Watsonia Town Square?

Building set to begin on Watsonia Town Square

We’ve reached an exciting phase in the development of Watsonia Town Square, with work set to begin in August 2023, following the outcome of the Council Meeting on 17 July 2023.

It was resolved that Council:

  • Award Contract No. 1291-2023 - Construction of Civil Works for Watsonia Town Square to Evergreen Civil.
  • Set a target for the successful tenderer to complete the substantive works by end of June 2024, whilst still ensuring works are staged to minimise disruption between commencement and the busy Christmas Trading period.

Watch a recording of the Council meeting or view the Council minutes and report.

Following extensive community engagement to determine the best design and work plan, we’ve been busy behind the scenes taking feedback and completing detailed designs, procuring contractors and consulting with Watsonia traders, services and residents.

The Town Square will be a fantastic asset for Watsonia, but we understand the building phase will inevitably involve disruptions. Council will continue to work closely with the local community to minimise disturbances and help you plan around unavoidable disruptions to your routine.

As road upgrades and traffic improvements take place, there will be road closures and detours. We are also working with Watsonia Traders Association to minimise the inconvenience of any changes to car parking.

We’ll be keeping you informed through the Banyule Banner, Council social media, posters and pamphlets at Watsonia Library and around town and via letters to local residents. We’ll also be meeting regularly with traders and community groups and you’ll see us out and about in Watsonia and at local community events.

To stay up to date on this project, click the 'follow' button at the top of this page to receive the latest news on the Watsonia Town Square.

Detailed design

View the detailed design for Watsonia Town Square.

Design renders


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.

We have now secured funding to help achieve the community’s aspirations, finalised the design and commenced the process of engaging with contractors to build Watsonia Town Square.


Engagement stages

Three opportunities were provided for you to get involved.

We 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 could 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.

We asked you to have you say on Watsonia Town Square by providing feedback on a preferred design.

The feedback we received during this stage of consultation was assessed and 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 guided 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

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

Fifteen places were 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 met during the development stage of the project and meetings were 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.

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 have worked closely with AusNet Services to ensure that the design meets 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

Public toilets have been designed as part of the design phase of the project. The construction of the toilets will need to be funded by Council and considered as part of Council’s 2023/24 budget process.

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.

Yes, Council owns the land within the Watsonia Town Square Project footprint.

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.

AusNet have been consulted and tree selection has been based on allowable height under the transmission lines.

The bus route following the development of the town square is currently being finalised, the impact of this will be considered in detailed design.

The proposed bus routes and proposed intersection changes have been discussed and agreed with the Department of Transport. Intersection designs have factored in bus turning movements.

A traffic study has considered impacts of traffic on streets in the area. Traffic analysis has been undertaken for the concept design and this has shown a moderate increase in traffic in Grace Street. The design of the intersection of Grace/Morwell will be considered further during detailed design.

The proposed bus routes and proposed intersection changes have been discussed and agreed with the Department of Transport. Intersections have factored in bus turning movements.

Traffic analysis was undertaken for the concept design and this showed a moderate increase in traffic in Grace Street. The design of the bus stops will be finalised in detailed design in conjunction with discussions with the Department of Transport and consideration of traffic impacts.