National Capital Plan amendment paves the way for more housing

The National Capital Plan has been amended to allow mixed-use development at the site of the former Australian Forestry School in Yarralumla.

The amendment will guide future development of the site and allows for residential, aged care, social housing, commercial accommodation, community facilities and ancillary commercial uses.

Up to 300 dwellings will be permitted on the site, including buildings of up to three storeys – with sixty per cent of the site to be retained as open space, and 45 per cent of that set aside for deep root planting. 

Heritage buildings and structures, including the Australian Forestry School, the former Museum, store, tennis courts, and Forestry House will be retained and adaptively reused.

The majority of the new buildings must be located within the footprints of existing or recently demolished buildings, and the environmental performance of new buildings will be critical, requiring high levels of solar access and natural cross ventilation.

New buildings will also need to sit in the landscape according to its topography within the tree line.

Extensive consultation with the community and stakeholders, including the ACT Government, over more than three years informed a range of controls in the final amendment, including maximum building heights, development footprint, landscape character, environmental performance, parking, access and movement.

Parking, access, and movement will need to comply with ACT Government requirements, and development must ensure that the site is prepared for electric vehicle infrastructure.

The oval is not subject to the amendment and will continue to be managed by the ACT Government.

Yarralumla residents will be able to walk through the grounds as the site develops.

The National Capital Authority will continue to have planning responsibility for the site, including approvals for proposed works, new buildings and landscape works such as tree removal and excavations.

Quotes attributable to Federal Minister for Territories, Kristy McBain MP:

“This amendment is great news for the national capital because it opens up more land for housing supply in inner Canberra, encourages new commercial opportunities, and makes for better use of existing infrastructure on the site.

“Reimaging this much-loved part of Canberra will forge a pipeline of work that will support local job opportunities, stimulate the territory’s economy, and ensure the entire community can enjoy this space like never before.”

Quotes attributable to Federal Member for Canberra, Alicia Payne MP:

“I thank the local community for the extensive input into this amendment, which aims to strike a balance between urban density and preserving the natural character of Yarralumla.

“There’s a strong focus on retaining and enhancing the natural character and landscape setting of the area, and in ensuring that community facilities, such as the oval, and heritage buildings, such as the Australian Forestry School and former museum, are safeguarded for future generations.”