New Town Retail Precinct Upgrade

The City of Hobart is upgrading the New Town retail precinct to create a more vibrant, inviting and accessible place for everyone. 

The concept design has been developed by the City of Hobart in collaboration with the New Town community.

The project is part of the City’s local retail precincts program. Improvements to Sandy Bay, the Waterfront and Salamanca, Lenah Valley, and South Hobart precincts have been completed over the past few years.

Key priorities of the project

  • define and reinvigorate New Town’s heart at the junction of Cross and Valentine streets with a flexible space for events, markets and other community activities
  • provide new raised, level pedestrian crossings at the side street intersections of Roope, Pirie and Pedder streets, where they meet New Town Road
  • install a bus shelter
  • provide public art and a green space 'pocket park'
  • create new pedestrian crossing facilities on New Town Road (near the Salvos, near Cross Street and near Roope Street)
  • create new dining and sitting areas
  • add greening and amenity with new trees, plants and street furniture
  • upgrade footpaths.

Current achievements

Our construction crews completed the first stage of works for the New Town retail precinct upgrade in early 2020.

Progress included:

  • All kerb and gutter renewals between Sunnyside Road and Salvation Army, New Town Road completed
  • Both pedestrian crossings at Pedder Street and Pirie Street intersections are significantly improved with step-free crossings
  • Footpaths in the retail node have been upgraded with new pavers
  • Garden beds, a tree and sculptural seat have been installed at the intersection of New Town Road and Pirie Street
  • Benches and bike racks have been installed in New Town Road.

The new design for the area was guided by the eclectic nature of the precinct. Various elements – such as the texture and colour of pavers, the shape and material chosen for the precinct’s furniture and the plants selected to adorn the streets – all are carefully considered and blend together to create a distinctive look to express the unique character of New Town.

The pavers used to upgrade the footpaths fit together in an asymmetric pattern, creating a quilt-like effect. Varying paver texture and reflectivity creates a pattern that changes depending on time of day and weather conditions, while retaining appropriate slip resistance. 

The style of the new street furniture resembles the design of the furniture in the neighbouring Lenah Valley precinct. Intended to be familiar, but different, it is influenced by the geometry of the new paving. Local Tasmanian celery top pine – the City’s frequent choice for furniture due to its durability and attractiveness – softens the street.

The planting design of the garden beds refers to the historic streetscape and cottage gardens of New Town Road. Colourful kangaroo paws and burgundy coloured dwarf flax contrast with grey succulents, irises, lavender and geraniums. The drought tolerance and low maintenance qualities of the plants will ensure an attractive look in all seasons.

The finishing touch is a tulip tree planted at the Pirie Street intersection. It will grow into an excellent shade tree, boasting a beautiful golden-yellow foliage in autumn.

Future planned upgrades

When will the next stage be built?

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the Council’s financial position and the works were paused for a period due to the need for the Council to reassess capital spending. However, new funding opportunities have been identified for the project, through Government programs and stimulus packages.

Our priority is to progress planning and design and construction is expected to start early in 2022.

What will the next stage involve?

  • Pedestrian crossing facilities on New Town Road
  • Cross Street and Valentine Street intersection

The intersection will be improved to make it easier to cross the road, and also so it can be temporarily converted into a dynamic public space, capable of hosting community events.

  • Pedestrian improvements

Kerb improvements and median island crossings will be provided near the Salvos, and north of Cross Street (near Dispatch Café). These two facilities will make it easier and safer for pedestrians to cross the busy New Town Road. Raised pedestrian thresholds have already been installed at Pirie Street and Pedder Street, and these will also be provided on Roope Street and Cross Street. The improvements will result in New Town Road becoming a safer and more comfortable area for pedestrians, and more accessible for people who rely on mobility devices to get around.

  • A pocket park for New Town

A pocket park will be provided at the front of the Salvation Army on New Town Road, in partnership with the Salvos. A sculptural seat (part of Matt Drysdale’s ‘Hybrids’ collection) will adorn the space and invite people to stop, rest and interact.

The City of Hobart is looking forward to delivering this project that we envisage will have wonderful social benefits for the community of New Town.

Public art

City of Hobart has commissioned an artist to create an engaging and enduring public artwork that reflects the identity of the area, appeals to community members of all ages and remains contemporary and relevant for the long term.

Matt Drysdale, a Tasmanian-born artist from the Office for Collective Design (the OCD), has been chosen through a nationwide selection process for his concept Hybrids. The concept offers a series of sculptural landmarks that offer other functions, including seating, planting and places for posting community notices. Matt developed the Hybrids as a result of analysing of the streetscape and gaining an understanding of the community desire for a bold work that defined the New Town retail strip.

The sculptures are completed and one has been installed (near the Pirie Street intersection). Two other sculptural elements will be delivered to complete the installation – one in the Salvos pocket park and one near Cross Street.

For more information, visit the New Town Public Art project page.

Project background

Main streets are the focal points of our towns, villages and cities. They are the places where we meet friends, share lunch, spend time and shop. A town without a quality main street is missing out on the most fundamental of public spaces, and its residents forgo the social atmosphere of a thrumming communal space. There is a broad appeal to quality main streets, so it makes sense to invest in good ones.” MRCagney, 2015 

In spring 2015, the City of Hobart and a team of consultants undertook a program of community engagement to identify and prioritise streetscape upgrades for retail precincts across Hobart’s local areas. An innovative ‘tactical urbanism’ approach was employed. Pop-up style events were held in local areas, and communities were able to trial a range of temporary traffic interventions and streetscape improvements. Participants designed, organised, tested and proved their bold concepts, and the communities had a lot of fun in the process.

In New Town, the traders group planned an event to test the closure of two street sections in order to create a new village square. 'Twilight on the Green' was a great success with people from the neighbourhood enjoying food, fire and music into the evening.

Twilight on the Green certainly brought the community together for an enjoyable party, however the event was intended to trial a more permanent solution for a traffic-free intersection.  Discussions with traders, locals and the New Town Community Association revealed that there were many different views and some people had real concerns about the impacts of restricting traffic from New Town Road.

To ensure that a project could go ahead with broad community support, the City of Hobart relaunched the community engagement, inviting participation from all stakeholders in a co-design process to determine the scope, priorities and design direction for the upgrade.

Download the project information sheet(PDF, 3MB).

Contact details

If you have any questions about this project, email coh@hobartcity.com.au or contact Sarah Bendeich, Principal Advisor City Place Making, on 03 6238 2551.

Location

New Town Road, New Town 7008  View Map

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