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Share your thoughts on Preston's open space concept designs

As part of the Preston Level Crossing Removal Project, we’re creating new open spaces for the community to enjoy.

These open space designs have resulted from online community engagement activity conducted in April and a series of meetings with the Preston Open Space Advisory Panel (POSAP) between May and November 2020.

Made up of eight community representatives and one representative from Darebin City Council, the panel has met over the past six months to help design the open space. Members have made suggestions, offered insights and provided feedback. Their input, along with feedback from the broader community, has helped the project’s design team create spaces that facilitate social interaction, connect communities and reflect the character of Preston.

At the start of the process, panel members set the goal to develop open spaces that capture Preston’s history, culture and character. As meetings progressed some further themes and objectives emerged:

  • open space that is multi-use
  • the importance of links to the local area
  • creating spaces that are vibrant and welcoming
  • ensuring easy connections to surrounding areas
  • creating places that encourage both active and passive activity for all ages

You can read more about how our community consultation and panel meetings have helped shape the concept designs for open spaces while taking into consideration the constraints of the project area.

We believe that the new open spaces respond to the things the panel and the broader community told us were important to them and will be places the Preston community will love.

Now we want to hear from you about whether you think your views are reflected in the new designs.

Feedback closes at midnight on Sunday 17 January.

POSAP area one – Cramer Street to Bell Street

The largest of the three open spaces, Cramer Street to Bell Street, has both places to sit and relax with barbecue and picnic areas, and places to play with green open spaces and playgrounds.

The open space will feature sporting facilities that link to Preston City Oval, with easy access below the elevated rail line. These open spaces will encourage people to come together and ensure there is always enough activity to make the place feel safe and vibrant.

Preston Open Space Advisory Panel (POSAP) area one includes the open space under the new elevated rail bridge between Bell Street and Cramer Street for the Preston Level Crossing Removal Project.  Within the open space on the west side are trees and vegetation and access for the combined services for power and to operate the trains safely. A shared walking and cycling path connecting all open spaces runs through the middle of the area.  In the south, between Emery and Herbert streets, the open space is filled with native vegetation and boardwalks to allow you to walk through an area with natural drainage basins.  Between Herbert and Bruce streets, the area consists of wide green open space, BBQs and a nature play area.  Sport facilities are located between Bruce and Cramer streets, linking the area to Preston City Oval.

POSAP area two – Miller Street to Showers Street

In response to feedback from the panel at early meetings, this open space was extended from Miller Street to Showers Street, rather than Miller Street to Oakover Road, adding an extra 4000m2 of open space.

We heard it was important to provide things to see and do. The nature play area provides a great opportunity for families to interact. Our planting plan will restore this area to its natural state, which will improve sustainability and biodiversity. The design recognises the history of the local Preston tram depot and also celebrates the area's Aboriginal heritage.

POSAP area three – north of Murray Road

The smallest of the three open spaces, north of Murray Road, is still the equivalent of 13 basketball courts. This area changed the most in response to panel discussions. Initial designs featured a dog park; however, this was removed after feedback from the panel that a dog park would limit the use of the space.

Responding to community feedback, this area has now been reimagined as wide, green open space with seating and planting for locals to kick a footy, have a picnic or laze in the sun. It also includes a nature play area and has multiple links to the Railway Reserve Bike Path, creating new easy connections to the open space.