Block 1 Section 17 Watson (former Watson Service Station) 2021

Block 1 Section 17 Watson (former Watson Service Station)  2021

The Site

The site is located within Watson and is approximately 1507m² in area. The currently vacant site is located within the Watson Local Centre and was formerly used as a service station. It is bound by Burton Street to the south-west, Windeyer Street to the south-east and Gwynne Street to the north-east.

The Proposal

Guna Landco Pty Ltd, the lessee of Block 1 Section 17 Watson (former service station), are proposing a mixed-use development at Block 1 Section 17 Watson (Corner of Gywnne, Windeyer and Burton Streets).

A Development Application (DA No. 201936086) was approved on 30 April 2020 for the construction of a four storey building comprising three commercial tenancies on the ground floor and 20 residential units.

Due to challenges with accommodating the utility infrastructure onsite, we have come to the conclusion that revision to the design is required and subsequently we are required to lodge a new development application.

The revised proposal includes:

  • Construction of a four storey building consisting of two commercial tenancies on the ground floor level and 30 residential units from level 1 to 3;
  • Basement car parking;
  • Ground floor level communal garden including high-quality landscaping and opportunity for deep-rooted planting;
  • Retention of all street trees;
  • Basement access off Burton Street;
  • Associated site services; and
  • Lease Variation to reflect the design and siting component 

The proposed commercial ground floor will provide additional commercial, hospitality opportunities to the growing suburb of Watson. The Watson Local Centre is the only retail centre between the ACT and Sutton and as such is an invaluable local centre which caters to a broad population. The proposed ground floor commercial spaces endeavour to contribute to Watson local centre as a thriving, people centred community through activation of an unutilised site.

Once completed, the project will provide residential accommodation in a convenient location that is close to public transport, the city centre, employment nodes, community facilities and open spaces. The Proponent sees this development as an opportunity to provide a place to meet the need for intergenerational housing needs as well as meet the changing needs of those looking to purchase a unit or downsize.  

It is noted that the suburb of Watson already has a broad range of housing typologies ranging from multi-unit developments to single dwelling housing. However, the proposed development differs from these existing housing typologies as it is located within the local centre and will be part of a mixed-use development. The units will be part of a relatively small and intimate complex that has a high-quality communal space central to all units. The Proponent is committed to retention of all street trees as these trees are considered to contribute to the established character of the area and will provide amenity to future residents. The ground floor commercial tenancies will provide spaces for outdoor dining and community activity.

All units within this development contain either two or three bedrooms. The two-bedroom units will have a minimum floor area of 83m2. The minimum (and standard) floor space dedicated to two-bedroom units is usually around 70m2. Three-bedroom units will have a minimum floor area of 122m2 which is well in excess of the minimum requirement of 95m2. This demonstrates the commitment by the Proponent to develop units which are well proportioned, functional and high-quality.

Statutory Planning

The subject site is zoned CZ4 – Local Centre, under which the proposed RESIDENTIAL USE, restaurant, SHOP use is permitted.

While the details of the design are still being finalised, the overall design is considered consistent with the relevant Territory Plan Codes. The relevant Codes include the Watson Precinct Code, the Commercial Zones Development Code, Multi Unit Housing Development Code and the general codes where applicable. 

Although the sites are situated within the suburb of Watson, no additional planning provisions in the Watson Precinct Map and Code (effective: 13 December 2019) apply to the sites.

The proposal responds well to the applicable controls of the Commercial Zones Development Code (effective: 21 February 2020) and Multi Unit Housing Development Code (effective: 21 February 2020) due to the quality and design of materials and finishes, in addition to the site and building design that promotes attractive streetscapes and active connections to the adjacent public areas. The height of the building retains appropriate levels of solar access and the ground floor commercial tenants will further activate the Watson Local Centre.

The proposal provides adequate car and bicycle parking in accordance with the relevant general codes and provides accessibility across the site in accordance with the Access and Mobility General Code. The site design allows for activity generators on the street level and provides substantial sightlines to enable a strong response to the Crime Prevention through Environmental Design General Code.

As detailed below the proposal responds well to the objectives of the zone as reproduced below. The CZ4 – Local Centre Zone Objectives are:

  1. Encourage higher density residential development in locations with convenient access to transport corridors, and commercial and employment centres
  2. Create an efficient and sustainable urban environment and provide for a diversity of living, working and recreation opportunities
  3. Maintain and enhance environmental amenity and undertake development using best practice environmentally sustainable development principles
  4. Encourage a standard of urban design that is consistent with selected major avenues, approach routes and other strategically located areas
  5. Encourage activities particularly at street frontage level that contribute to an active public realm
  6. Promote active living and active travel
  7. Provide a high-quality public realm by facilitating active uses on ground floor level that connects with the wider open space, pedestrian and cycle networks to promote active travel and active living.
  8. Provide a mixture of compatible land uses and integrate suitable business, office, residential, retail and other development in accessible locations so as to encourage walking and cycling, and maximise public transport patronage.

The proposed development provides for a mixed development of residential and commercial uses within circa 50m of a well serviced rapid bus route on Windeyer Street with well established cycling and walking routes to encourage active/public transport use. The ground floor commercial tenancies provide services to meet the daily needs of local residents, particularly those with mobility issues. It will further encourage activity on the site and appropriate vegetation, lighting and sightlines will be provided that together with the other items detailed, will result in an attractive, safe, well-lit and connected pedestrian environment with convenient access to public transport.

Architectural Concept Plans

Plans are available for download via the below link. Please note that these plans are a work in progress and may be subject to minor changes throughout the design development stage.

Architectural Concept Plans (PDF)

Project Timeframe

Purdon Planning is aiming to lodge a DA for this proposal by early next year. The timeframe for issue of development approval is unknown at this point. However, Purdon Planning will endeavour to update this webpage with project updates regularly.

Opportunities for Community Input/Feedback

Purdon Planning will be undertaking community consultation on behalf of the Proponent over the next 3 weeks.

We will host a virtual consultation session with members of the project team on 7 December 2021 commencing at 5:30 pm via Zoom.

Please register your interest via email to, a Zoom meeting link to the session will be emailed to you the day prior to the session.

Alternatively, provide feedback to us via or 02 6257 1511.

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